Bedroom Tax and Northumbrians at Risk
Following Lord Freud's attack on working families on Radio 5 Live stating people did not deserve a spare bedroom to put up family in times of need or for children to stay with their estranged parent, we have today Northumberland's social housing figures and affected numbers of people.
The Welfare Reform Act 2012 which is the prime piece of legislation behind the 'Bedroom Tax' originally intended that from April 2013 housing benefit for working age social rented sector claimants will be restricted for those who are occupying a larger property than their household size and make up would allow.
One bedroom is allowed in the assessment for each person or couple living as part of the household, with the following exceptions:
Child aged 15 or under would be expected to share with one other child of the same gender; and Child age 9 or under would be expected to share with one other child aged 9 or under, regardless of gender.
Reduction in Benefit
It is not the % of housing benefit that is cut it is the % of weekly rent used in the housing benefit calculation. The cut reduces the eligible rent by a percentage rather than reduce it down to a fixed level.
The use of a percentage takes account of different rent levels in different parts of the country, and helps to reflect the additional rent associated with additional numbers of bedrooms.
Percentage reductions are 14% of eligible rent is lost for one spare bedroom and 25% of eligible rent is lost for two or more spare bedrooms.
7818 people of working age living in social housing in Northumberland claim housing benefit
Numbers of claimants with no change to their eligible rent entitlement = 4,338
Numbers of claimants whose eligible rent will be reduced by 14% (they are deemed to have one additional bedroom) = 2,666
Numbers of claimants whose eligible rent will be reduced by 25% (they are deemed to have two or more additional bedrooms) = 814
This restriction applies to social sector claimants which includes Homes for Northumberland tenants and is exacerbated by a low availability of one bedroom properties in social rented sector in Northumberland.
Leader of Northumberland Labour Group Grant Davey said, "This is one of the most heartless attacks on working families the Coalition have designed to date, people who have lived in their homes for many years may find themselves forced out economically" "No one I have met wishes to live their life on benefits but with 10 people chasing every vacancy in the County some have to, but we should support those in need and not kick them when they are down."