Tuesday, February 5, 2013
‘Unhappy news’ for already hard-pressed families.
Hundreds of tenants affected by the introduction of the bedroom tax are being visited by members of East Devon District Council’s rental team.
Being phased in as part of the Government’s welfare reforms from April, the tax will affect those of working age in receipt of housing benefit and living in social accommodation that guidelines deem is too big for their needs.
The change means one bedroom is permitted for:
A person who is aged 16 and over.
Two children of the same sex up to age 16.
Two children who are under 10 years of age.
Those deemed to be using one bedroom more than the guidelines dictate will receive a 14 per cent reduction in their housing benefit calculation.
Where there are two or more bedrooms over the requirements, the maximum amount of rent that housing benefit can be based upon will be reduced by 25 per cent.
Cllr David Cox, East Devon District Council’s cabinet member for finance, told the Midweek Herald: “This is one of many changes to the country’s benefits system which councils have no control over. It is unhappy news for a lot of families, many of whom could be affected by several changes to the welfare system at once.
“Although we have no power over the changes themselves, we have been working very hard to keep those who are affected informed, and have been out in our communities offering practical advice.
“We’re also in close contact with other social landlords, making sure that they are in the loop and ready to help ease the change for their affected customers.”
Tenants affected by this change will need to pay at least 14 per cent of their rent themselves, before housing benefit can be worked out on the remainder.
There are currently 7,141 households in East Devon receiving housing benefit.
In total, 527 households will be affected by the bedroom tax.
Of those, 423 will be affected by a 14 per cent penalty and 104 will be affected by a 25 per cent penalty. The average extra rent that will need to be paid is £13.39 per week.
A spokesman for the council said: “We have been proactive in letting our customers know about the changes and have worked closely with housing associations to let them know about the changes so they can support their tenants.”