The County You Live, Work And Play
South Lanarkshire Council Reveal Homes Affected By Welfare Reform
Latest figures reveal that the ‘bedroom tax’ may no longer be a significant issue affecting council house rent arrears in South Lanarkshire.
The under-occupancy reduction, known as the bedroom tax, means that working-age council tenants under-occupying homes by one bedroom will see a 14 per cent reduction in their benefit, while those under-occupying by two or more will lose 25 per cent.
A total of 1103 council homes in South Lanarkshire hit by the bedroom tax owe rent arrears of £472,000 – but only £27,000 of these arrears relates to the bedroom tax shortfall.
A total of 3528 households have been affected by the bedroom tax. 2425 of these are managing to keep their rent up to date and, of the 1103 who are in rent arrears, 962 owe an amount that is greater than the shortfall in their new, lower housing benefit, meaning that there are reasons other than the bedroom tax for them falling behind in payments.
The total amount of rent unpaid by these 962 households is £460,000 – of which £433,000 is not a result of the under-occupancy changes.
Funds from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Scottish Government have allowed the council to make Discretionary Housing Payments to affected tenants, which have all but negated the effect of the bedroom tax.
However concerns have been raised by all councils as the DWP have informed them that they will be reducing the level of assistance from April 2015 onwards.
Anyone finding themselves worried about any aspect of welfare reform can contact the council’s Benefits Are Changing tenant liaison team on 0303 123 1012 or firstname.lastname@example.org.