Move home to avoid being hit by 'bedroom tax', warns CAB
FAMILIES who stand to lose out when the Government's new 'bedroom tax' comes into force are being advised to consider moving home.
From April, people in receipt of housing benefits who have more bedrooms than are needed at the address will receive a reduced payment.
For those people with a spare bedroom, the housing benefits payment will automatically be reduced by 14% of the rent payable on the property. And those with two or more spare bedrooms will see a reduction of 25%.
This will mean residents will have to make up the shortfall in rent themselves.
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The only people who will not be impacted by the changes are those that live in a one-bed apartment or bedsit, or those of the age to claim pension credits.
South Derbyshire District Council has announced it will shortly be writing to all of those households affected by these new changes, while other local authorities are set to follow suit.
Among the organisations worried about the changes is the South Derbyshire Citizens Advice Bureau.
It says those affected by the imminent changes need to consider their options now.
Its chief executive, Jackie Spencer, said families could be left with no choice but to move house.
She said: "These new changes could plummet those affected into rent arrears through no fault of their own. These changes are significant and people need to start exploring new options now and not leave it until April."
Ms Spencer said families could consider moving to a "appropriately-sized" property, identify savings that could cover any shortfall in their housing benefit or reduce their outgoings.
She said anyone seeking help should contact their local Citizens Advice Bureau.
The Department for Work and Pensions said the reforms would ensure that people on benefits could no longer live in homes that most working families cannot afford – while providing transitional support for those in the most difficult situations.
A spokeswoman said: "Even with our reforms, housing benefit will meet rents of up to £21,000 a year and, apart from the most expensive areas in London, around a third of properties will still be available to rent.
"Our reforms restore fairness to a system that was left to spiral out of control."
To make an appointment with South Derbyshire Citizens Advice Bureau, call 01283 210 109. Opening hours are Monday, Tuesday and Friday, 10am-3pm.
GOVERNMENT NEED TO HELP EASE HOUSING CRISIS
DERWENT Living has called on the Government to collaborate with housing providers to help ease the housing crisis in the East Midlands.
A report from the National Housing Federation found that there is a 50% shortfall in the number of new homes required in the East Midlands, leaving thousands of people on housing waiting lists.
The report also forecasts a 67% rise in private rental prices over the next decade, following a 16% increase in social housing waiting lists since 2002.
Derwent Living chief executive Peter McCormack said: "The housing shortage on both a local and national level is increasing every year.
"More than 116,000 households are on the waiting list in the East Midlands and homelessness has risen by 25% in the last two years.
"People often find themselves priced out of buying and private renting, meaning that turning to affordable housing is their only option.
"The Government and local politicians need to work with providers in our industry before the situation worsens."