Monday, 25 November 2013

Kent Greens - Almost 7,000 lose out in Bedroom Tax benefit cuts

6,921 households in Kent have had their housing benefits cut as a result of the Government’s bedroom tax according to figures released by the Department for  Work and Pensions (1).
The figures, which cover the period April until August 2013, are the first to identify how many households have lost housing benefit payments since the introduction of the bedroom tax in April 2013.
In August, the most recent period for which figures are available, 788 people living in Swale lost an average of £900 per year in housing benefit, making it the worst affected district in Kent.
The least badly affected district is Dartford, where 365 people have lost an average of £894 per year in benefits.
In Thanet 610 households have lost on average £770 per year in Housing Benefits.
An estimated £6 million will have been slashed from Kent’s housing benefit payments by the end of the first year of the bedroom tax. The average loss per Kent affected household has been calculated to be a staggering £868 per year.
Thanet Green Party Councillor Ian Driver said: “The bedroom tax is having a major impact on the most vulnerable and low-paid people in Kent. There are simply not enough smaller rented properties to move into, so people already living on a low income are being forced to cut back even further on essentials such as food, heating and clothing. This ill-conceived policy will force thousands of families in Kent into poverty.”
Evidence is now beginning to emerge that many households caught by the bedroom tax are falling into rent arrears. A survey carried out by the National Housing Federation estimates that more than 50% of housing association tenants who are affected by the bedroom tax have fallen behind with rent since the introduction of this policy (2).
The Green Party opposes the Bedroom Tax. It is unfair and targets some of the most vulnerable and deprived people in society. The Party calls upon Kent Councils not to evict anyone falling into rent arrears as a consequence of the bedroom tax. The Green Party, alongside many charities, disabled groups and trade unions is campaigning for the  immediate abolition of the bedroom tax. 


  1. 1. There is no such thing as bedroom tax. 2. KCC only controls authority housing whilst most people on housing benefit are in private rented accommodation. How exactly are KCC supposed to prevent private landlords from evicting for rent arrears. What the Green Party seem to ignore is that we all have to live within our means. We cannot take out mortgages beyond our ability to repay in the same way that people relying on housing benefit cannot rent places at rents well above their benefit level. It is called managing your personal finances.

    Like most things with the Green Party they offer no real solutions. The nation needs to reduce its costs so just where is the money coming from to provide people with bigger homes than they need. It is much the same as their attitude to nuclear power, fossil fuels and fracking. Just where do they think our future energy is to come from yet the same party will scream about vulnerable people not being able to heat their homes.

    Left to the Green Party and we will be back to cave dwelling and candles (until the candles run out). Mind you, with our current population and a limited number of caves, the rents for them are going to be astronomic!

  2. A side issue though William is that there has been a reluctance to replace Social Housing sold off since 1979. Recent reports highlight that there is a significant lack of 1 and 2 bedroom property and that longer term the "Spare Room Subsidy" could lead to plenty of 3 and 4 bedroom properties vacant. If that is to be taken as fact then is it wise to push, as has been the case in London and other areas, former Council tenants into private accommodation as there are vacant 1 and 2 bed properties and expect the tax payer to pay more for the privilege when Council properties could be laying empty costing money to maintain but not paying partly for themselves through rent?

    1. If such actually happens, I would agree with you Rob, but with high immigration in cities like London and many immigrants tending towards bigger families than the indigenous I would suspect there will be increasing demand for three and four bed properties. I seem to be always reading of two or more houses being knocked into one to accommodate some prolific baby producer on benefits. Still comes round to trying to get people back to being their own bread winners and living within their means. The state system should only be there as a back up for the truly incapable or the able on a temporary set back like ill health or redundancy.

      Returning to the gist of my earlier comment, I reiterate that the Green Party, or at least in its Thanet personification, seems great at protest but weak on answers.

  3. Can someone please help me to understand exactly what the "Spare Room Subsidy/Bedroom Tax" is? As I see it, if a person/family is in social housing, and that house has more bedrooms than they need then they will lose benefits and receive according to what they actually need. If they then move to a house of the right size then surely their benefits would be cut anyway? So what is all the fuss about. Are we saying that a three bedroom family living in a four bedroom house were receiving more benefits than an identical family in a three bedroom house?

  4. Basically, Bemused, the aim of the new housing benefit is not to fund more accommodation than the claimant actually needs. In the short term, however, this means that those in larger accommodation than necessary for the size of family will see a reduction in benefit to the rent level of an appropriately sized residence. It will gradually sort out and new applicants will only be able to apply for a benefit to cover their needs from the outset.

    It is the Labour party that has called it a tax when clearly it is no such thing.

  5. Thank you for that answer William, but the difficulty I have is understanding what happens for example to two identical families in different sized accommodation. Prior to the new housing benefit did a family in a larger house receive more housing benefit than the suitably housed family, and does the new scheme now provide them with the same level of benefit. And if that family now moves to the correct size of house will their benefit remain unchanged given that they will be correctly housed? I ask as someone who has never had to claim housing benefit, having lived in my own bought and paid for house for most of my life, and therefore ignorant of the nuts and bolts of the benefits system.

    1. I think there was a limit on the amount paid in housing benefit, but the calculation, rather like council tax benefit was quite complicated. Nonetheless it was the case that some people were renting properties larger than their needs whilst others, due to other factors like break ups or chicks flying the nest, were still occupying bigger places than their now current needs. Like you I have never claimed housing benefit, but there were many cases reported in the press of people on benefits living in housing that would have demanded a very substantial income to buy on mortgage or rent. Think the aim is now to meet need rather than finance living in Belgravia or Mayfair.

      On your moving question, there is in fact now a cap on the maximum benefit payable according to circumstances which may involve people not just in moving to the correct size, but also to cheaper locations. Applied locally that might be your benefit will rent a three bed terrace in Ramsgate but not a three bed detached at North Foreland. Does not seem unreasonable to me.

  6. As there is no such thing as a "bedroom tax", it seems absurd that the greens continue to refer to such a inaccurate labeling.

    I am still waiting for someone to explain to me why the taxpayer should pay more for people to live in houses of a size that they don't need. The worst thing that has happened to the UK in recent years is the move to an attitude of entitlement and a benefits culture.

    1. Now I thought you supported the leading part in Thanet who also do not approve of the spare room subsidy maybe you can criticize Hart & Poole

    2. That simply illustrates what happens when you make an attempt to "think" james.

      What is "supported the leading part" supposed to mean james?

      I have said on many occasions (clearly your "investigations" weren't thorough enough at least your consistent in that regard), on many forums that the housing benefit changes are needed and long overdue, not sure I have ever expressed a political affiliation of any kind however...

      Some of us have broader horizons than simple party affiliations james, I leave narrow mindedness to peons such as yourself, and your hero driver :)


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