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'Wicked' bedroom tax will penalise more than 9,000

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 07, 2013

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Thousands of Westcountry residents will lose out on the Government's controversial "bedroom tax", according to new research.

The National Housing Federation calculated 9,230 households in Devon and Cornwall will be subject to an under-occupation penalty placed on tenants for having extra bedrooms.

Chief executive David Orr told the federation's annual conference in Exeter yesterday that the tax would be a "wicked problem".

He admitted in the address to around 100 housing chiefs in the region that dealing with its implications on the sector would be a "big leadership challenge".

As the affordable housing crisis deepens in the South West, experts joined forces in search of potential solutions.

Mr Orr said: "The bedroom tax is unfair, inequitable, and it will penalise people for the 'sin' of living in their own home. Most damagingly, it is an incompetent policy that will absolutely fail to save the country any money. It will end up costing money."

He urged those involved in housing planning, policy and decision-making, to play their part in seizing opportunities while preparing for the future.

Mr Orr added: "This tax is not about other people, it's about us and our friends and relatives. We need to focus on this wicked problem locally and nationally to understand the implications of what is happening.

"It will remain a fundamental leadership challenge as impacts are felt."

South West chairman Nick Horne added: "The bedroom tax is, possibly, the poll tax of our time.

"It was a poorly thought through policy."

The changes from April will see housing association and council tenants have housing benefits cut if they are deemed to have spare bedrooms – 14% cut for one spare room and 25% for two.

Prime Minister David Cameron has stressed the need to get to grips with a £23 billion housing benefit bill, claiming many in privately rented properties "cannot afford extra bedrooms".

The Government says the proposals will save money and help deal with a housing shortage by encouraging people to move out of homes that are too big for them.

Private sector rents are predicted to rise by 62% in the region over the next ten years.

Less than 60% of the houses needed in the South West are currently being built – with 16,100 new homes built in 2011/12, but more than 27,000 new households formed.

The federation claims that the shortage of housing will result in out-of-reach house prices, rising private rents and the fastest growing social housing waiting lists of any region.

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23 comments

  • sidinio  |  February 23 2013, 2:08PM

    Hi i'm a photography student at Tremough and i would like to do a short project on people who will be affected by this latest stealth tax preferably in Falmouth area but others considered if you would be interested in this, please post here many thanks dj

  • dummyboy  |  February 08 2013, 6:56PM

    if you want a house for live work, save and buy one, if not tuff they should be able to move you where and when they want.

    |   -6
  • farley22  |  February 08 2013, 3:57PM

    Luvsthenews. the point of the goverment introducing this levy (tax) is to save the goverment money in the housing benefit bill and hopefully to free up housing stock that has been decimalised since the thatcher era to save money on housing benefit. there is less social housing with even more demands upon it and this has been successive goverments fault and not just one party. in plymouth it is my believe that there are just short of 2000 people who are under ocupying that will need to down size to a one bedroom place whilst at the same time there are aproximately 17 one bedroomed properties that are available? so in your wisdom and i say that with respect how do you see that playing out? also how is this going to save the goverment money when people are forced out of there secure tenancies into private housing due to rent arrears or as some would say a blatent attack on the poorest in society who have the least at there disposal to protect themselves from this eronious attack on them? let me just make this point very clear, private housing costs on average 30% more then the equevilent social housing so in effect the goverment will actually be increasing the housing benefit bill because they will have to pay the rents on private sector housing which as i have already said costs a lot more then social housing so even with my limited ability at maths its a no brainer!!! the actual outcome is going to be a higher housing benefit bill then we got now and the only people who will benefit will be the private housing sector at tax payers expense and at the poorest of our society's pain and heart ache. reading between the lines you are already not happy with the private sector housing and yet you are ready to condem even more peoplpe to it and i dont understand your reasoning, is it because you are in the proverbial plop so therefor everyone else should be? this is exactly how the goverment are playing us british citizens.. "divide and conquer" and certainly not "we are all in it together" the only people who are going to benefit from this are the people who have money already and it certainly is not going to benefit 100's of 1000@s of people nationwide. it is blatently another case of the rich getting richer at the poorest's expense and i imagine you are in that catorgory to some point or else you would have a motgage and not be renting from your well off landlord :-/ i feel for you and i have empathy for you but you should not be so keen to tread on the people under you as you may be there yourself one day and that day might be sooner then you think so have a heart and look at the bigger picture my friend.

    |   8
  • Luvsthenews  |  February 08 2013, 12:06AM

    If its to free up housing for people who need it, i am all for it. If people use subsidised housing then maybe having to fall in line with how most normal paying renters have to cope with, regular housing checks 6 monthly contracts no pets no smoking no improvements etc. I am obviously missing something here but thats the way i see it. If someone can enlighten me on the real hardship please point it out. If these people dont want to move out of a public subsidised house they pay extra. Or are they going to be forced out? Do private renters get paid for moving have people search for free for suitable homes to fit their needs, answer no. No one has ever said how unfair that is till now. So why the problem?

    |   -2
  • farley22  |  February 07 2013, 11:10PM

    b_mused as far as i know if you have a cut in your income put upon you by a british goverment it is indeed a "TAX". the goverment get it and you loose it so they are the taxee. simple logic really but i guess you voted in a blue colour and have ready income. lucky you chap :-) lucky you

    |   3
  • b_mused  |  February 07 2013, 10:15PM

    Since when has a cut in benefits been a tax?

    |   1
  • Monkeyman  |  February 07 2013, 9:35PM

    Some people should learn the difference between a house and a home.

    |   3
  • celophis  |  February 07 2013, 9:33PM

    bad room tax don't make me laugh it was not long ago the damm torys bought in the council tax in a moment we will have a toilet tax the poor get poorer and rich get richer it is only a matter of time now when there will be no community run homes and we will all live in tralor parks..........

    |   9
  • Enraged_  |  February 07 2013, 8:33PM

    I am a working person and I own my own home - a one bed ex-council flat on a local estate. I live here with my two children as it is impossible to sell, I cannot afford to rent privately,I cannot rent this flat out as the service charges are so expensive that noone can afford them, and I am no longer entitled to social housing as I own a flat - even though it is obviously not fit for purpose. Why am I not being offered a tax break for not having enough bedrooms?

    |   9
  • Rick_OShay  |  February 07 2013, 6:53PM

    Oncemore4 I used to have too many bedrooms but I took in a lovely family from Albania. I get regular rent and they've even decorated the garage and installed an indoor garden. Rick O'Shay Zog

    |   10

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