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The County You Live, Work And Play

Figures Reveal More Than 10,000 Had Benefits Cuts


01/03/15


Across the county more than 10,000 people have seen their benefits slashed since the so-called bedroom tax was introduced.

The policy means housing benefit being cut if claimants have extra bedrooms.


North Lanarkshire is the second most affected local authority in Scotland with 6026 housing benefit claimants losing on average £9.59 a week as a result. Only Glasgow is worse affected.

South Lanarkshire is the fifth most affected council area in Scotland with 4441 housing benefit claimants losing on average £10.51 a week.

However, both councils say discretionary housing payments have done a lot to offset the affect of the bedroom tax.


“It’s essential that anyone concerned about the impact of the UK Government’s Welfare Reforms contact us at 01698 403170.”


South Lanarkshire say all housing benefit claimants affected are given the discretionary payments to make up their shortfall.

And North Lanarkshire say around 97 per cent of their housing benefit claimants are being given the discretionary payments. They are keen to hear from anyone in the remaining three per cent.


Stephen Llewellyn, operations manager at North Lanarkshire Council said: “North Lanarkshire Council is the largest council landlord in Scotland with over 36,500 homes.

“We’ve already added £1m to the fund for Discretionary Housing Payment to help tenants struggling to meet bedroom tax payments for historic bedroom tax arrears for 2013/14.

“Most tenants affected have contacted us, and through our support we’ve helped thousands and been able to reduce the impact of the bedroom tax for 97 per cent of tenants. We’ll continue to do all we can.

“It’s essential that anyone concerned about the impact of the UK Government’s Welfare Reforms contact us at 01698 403170.”


South Lanarkshire Council say it is no surprise they are the fifth most affected area in Scotland.

Ann Gee, executive director of housing and technical resources at South Lanarkshire Council, said: “South Lanarkshire Council has the fifth largest number of social houses of all Scottish Councils and, as such, it is expected that we would have the fifth highest number of ‘bedroom tax’ cases.”


The figures, released by the government, cover all payments made as of November last year. The bedroom tax – or spare-room subsidy, as the UK government prefers to call it – was introduced in April 2013.


It was intended to ensure people on housing benefit were not in inappropriately large homes. Payments are reduced for claimants deemed to have more bedrooms than they need.

The policy is designed to move people into smaller homes more suited to their requirements, and to free up larger properties.

Critics have warned that there is a shortage of smaller homes – leaving claimants unable to pay their rent, but unable to move.