‘Bedroom tax’ suffering fear

John Raine
John Raine
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HOUSING groups have warned tenants under occupying their homes will suffer when changes to benefits are introduced.

Residents deemed to have too much living space will receive a reduced housing benefit payment this month, in what has been labelled the “bedroom tax.”

Social housing tenants and families renting from housing associations will be assessed to identify the number of rooms they need.

Their benefit payment would then be cut if their home has more bedrooms than necessary. The Government is making the changes to free up more living space for over-crowded families and to slash the £23bn annual bill for housing benefit.

But Maureen Horn, chairman of Grange Park Residents Association, says the changes will hurt families. She said: “I’m absolutely appalled by it because I see people suffering.

“The Government hasn’t thought this through and you can’t blame councils for it.

“What is happening in this country is shocking and it’s terrible, especially for people who aren’t working and on low wages.”

John Raine, chairman of Mereside Residents Association, added: “I don’t agree with it because as far as I’m concerned the working man is being ripped off left, right and centre.

“I don’t think the welfare reform has been thought out properly and they haven’t gone into fine detail about how it’s going to affect people.

“People will be worse off and when you haven’t got money coming in but you’re losing money, it’s a choice between heating and food.”

Blackpool Coastal Housing has already contacted those likely to be affected.

Peter Jefferson, chief executive of Blackpool Coastal Housing, said: “This has been a mammoth task. Being prepared and working since last July to inform customers of the changes, we are reasonably confident that we can tackle any problems which come our way.However, despite our efforts, there may still be people who have not engaged with us who may get a nasty shock if their Housing Benefit is reduced.”

Call BCH on (01253) 477192, e-mail rent@bch.co.uk or text with your name and address on 07501 921 015 and they will call you back.

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