Monday, July 08, 2013

Data shows ConDems Bedroom Tax linked to increase in rent arrears all over Scotland

The UK Government’s “disastrous” welfare reform programme has led to a rise in rent arrears and a rise in emergency housing payments across local authorities, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said today.

New data collected by the Scottish Government and COSLA shows that UK Government changes to housing benefit have added significant financial pressures on Scottish councils.

The research showed that all, but one, of Scotland’s local authorities with housing stock, had seen an increase in rent arrears. Three quarters of councils said that the bedroom tax is directly responsible for the increase in arrears.

Of that rent now due to be collected from tenants affected, 60 per cent of councils reported receiving 40 per cent or less and 80 per cent of councils reported receiving 50 per cent or less (based on responses from 20 of the 26 councils with their own housing stock).

Ms Sturgeon said that it was ‘absolutely imperative’ that the DWP review and evaluate the impact of their welfare reforms as a matter of urgency.

Last month, research showed that local authorities had received 22,000 requests for emergency Discretionary Housing payments by the end of May.  Nineteen local authorities saw a 400 per cent rise compared to the same period last year. And by the end of May, 22 per cent of the £10 million funds made available in Scotland for DHPs by the Department for Work and Pensions had been allocated.

Ms Sturgeon said: “This new data shows a drastic increase in the number of people applying for emergency funding to help them deal with the impact of the UK disastrous welfare reform programme.
“Local authorities across Scotland are having to deal with the appalling aftermath of the bedroom tax, which is hitting our most vulnerable citizens, including a high proportion of disabled people, extremely hard in these challenging economic times.

“The Scottish Government and COSLA have had little indication from the UK Government about how they intend to review the impact of the bedroom tax to date - even though it is clear from this research that it is driving up rent arrears and requests for emergency funds.

”That is why we have made a commitment to the people of Scotland that we will scrap the bedroom tax following a successful referendum vote next year. This will be done within a year of independence and we will have the practical arrangements in place to ensure that this happens.

“Working with our partners in local government we have provided £40 million to protect households from the 10 per cent cut in successor arrangements to Council Tax Benefit. We have also allocated funding to support people affected by the bedroom tax with an additional £7.9 million for advice and support services, of which £2.5 million is ring fenced for social landlords.

“We cannot mitigate the full impacts of the UK Government’s cuts to the welfare system without full powers over welfare or access to all our resources – but we will continue to oppose the bedroom tax. It is unfair and divisive policy that hit some of our most vulnerable groups hardest, and it undermines and jeopardises the work this Government is taking forward to create a fairer, more successful, and prosperous Scotland.”


Anonymous said...

”That is why we have made a commitment to the people of Scotland that we will scrap the bedroom tax following a successful referendum vote next year. This will be done within a year of independence and we will have the practical arrangements in place to ensure that this happens.
Carrots before Donkeys Nicola? You don't give a damn about people like me caught up in the Bedroom Tax. I trust you as much as I trust CamClegg. It is the politicians who are in it together.

It is like you wanting 16 to 18 year olds to be allowed to vote in the referendum. Why because at that age they are not politically astute and will play the nationalist card. I trust no politician, front men and women for powerful bureaucracies who are above the law.

Anonymous said...

The Bedroom Tax was their method to get the poorest in society to pay the deficit, and New Labour were responsible for the ATOS contracts with the same objective in mind. The Conservatives knew there were not enough properties to enable tenants to downsize. They don't wan my spare room for another family, they want to kill off the remaining council houses. Cameron, Clegg, Milliband and Salmond have more in common with each other than the people who elected them. I wonder with consternation where all this will end for the sick and poor. I am glad I have no children the way this world is going.

Anonymous said...

Many people who bought their council houses are finding their young sons and daughters cannot afford to buy a house. Every policy has its glitches and the property owning democracy was about creating debt slaves and this has pushed house prices out of people's reach. As usual the architects of the privatization policy and their bankers don't suffer the consequences of it. People should squabble less about what they have or don't have and look at the architects of privatization, they are the winners isolated from the policies consequences.

Anonymous said...

CamClegg the oppressors of the poor and I don't just mean mean the unemployed and sick. If they wanted a decent wage, they could abolish tax credits. The Political Philosopher John Rawls was concerned about how money could destroy democracy. We have Kleptocracy where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the ruling class at the expense of the wider population. They have achieved domination through ideology. This seduction is a myth, the property ladder implies people can keep climbing but it is underpinned by the financiers and when prices exceed the ability to buy the whole machine grinds to a halt. You wont find the CamCleggs of this world and their bankers in negative equity or their homes repossessed. Sorry for going off subject a little but the Bedroom Tax will fail because it was not thought out. It is simply a reflection of this governments hostility to the poor.