Bedroom Tax to cost 515 Westminster families nearly £18 a week

Over 420 Westminster families will lose nearly £18 a week and a further 91 families will lose nearly £35 a week when the new Bedroom Tax is introduced by the Conservatives in April 2013, according to figures released by Westminster City Council.

In all, 515 Westminster Council tenants will be caught by the new Bedroom Tax which reduces Housing Benefit if tenants are deemed to be under-occupying their homes by one or more bedrooms.

Westminster Council says that it will try to offer smaller homes to all 515 tenants by April 2013, but Labour Councillors say that there is no way that this can be achieved in the next 12 weeks, particularly as in the past 8 months the Council has managed to transfer just 34 tenants to smaller homes.

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said;

“This a truly appalling situation where some of the very poorest Westminster residents will lose nearly £18 a week through no fault of their own. This new Conservative Bedroom Tax will push more people in to poverty and in to debt and into the clutches of legal and illegal loan sharks. Conservatives Ministers and Councillors should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves to force through this mean and nasty change in the rules when it is impossible for the majority of tenants to move. There simply are not enough homes available to enable tenants to move to smaller homes but the poorest families will still have their benefits cuts. It is a shameful and disgraceful way to treat the most vulnerable people.”

Below are the details of how the Bedroom Tax affects Westminster Council tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit

CityWest Homes have now received the list of WCC council tenants that are expected to be affected by the under-occupation cap in April 2013.
 
There are 515 current tenants on the list located in the following areas:
 
Central area       – 134
South area          – 108
North area          – 136
West area           – 137
 
There were a number of void properties on the original list hence the slightly reduced total.
 
  • 424 households are under-occupying by one bedroom (14% cap) and 91 are under-occupying by 2 or more bedrooms (25% cap).
  • The average cap for tenants under-occupying by one bed is £17.89 per week.
  • The average cap for tenants under-occupying by two or more beds is £34.72 per week.
Next steps
 
CityWest Homes (CWH) have appointed four dedicated welfare reform project workers who are working across the four areas detailed above offering intensive support and advice to affected households. Letters are being sent to the affected households. The letter will include details of the expected cut to their housing benefit (based on current rent) and what their options are.
 
The project workers will follow up within a couple of days with phone calls and home visits in order to arrange an appointment with each household. They will establish whether the tenant would consider moving home or if they wish to stay put.
 
All tenants considering downsizing will be offered individual support on moving home which will include registering them for a cash incentive, registering for the mutual exchange scheme (Homeswapper) and for Housing Moves, the pan London scheme. The project worker will help to tackle any potential barriers to moving and help them find suitable properties to move to.
 
Events for under-occupying and overcrowded households are being organised for January. There are almost 1,000 overcrowded households in CWH stock and this is an opportunity to relieve overcrowding and ensure more households are accommodated in housing which meets their needs.
 
A target number of moves is set for the Housing Options Service to achieve every year which includes those surrendering a tenancy as well as those downsizing. This year’s target is 110, with 34 under occupying households assisted to date. Cash Incentive applicants have the highest priority to move as well as getting a financial package.
 
There are 124 currently registered on the cash incentive scheme. Many of these households do not actively bid as they are waiting for specific properties and locations to become available. The cap on housing benefit for under occupiers may change this bidding behaviour as there may now be more of an incentive to move.  
 
CWH will be working closely with the cash incentive team at Housing Options Service and the scheme will be monitored closely and kept under review should changes be required to meet demand.
 
All tenants considering staying put will be offered budgeting advice so they can afford to stay, income maximisation advice and employment and training advice, where relevant. CWH will also liaise with the benefits service to establish suitability for taking in a lodger.
 
If tenants are unable to move before April 2013, they will still be required to pay the shortfall in housing benefit. All applications for Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) will be considered according to the DHP policy and the project workers will support households with making any applications
 
CityWest Homes will ensure all possible support and advice is provided between now and April to prevent tenants falling into arrears when the cap is introduced in April.   
 
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36 Responses to Bedroom Tax to cost 515 Westminster families nearly £18 a week

  1. Debbie Price says:

    In other words you are rolling over and just accepting it. This targets the most vunerable in society. As usual, by this Government. There is not enough support for the Disabled and the mentally ill. There will be an increase in the suicide rate. Because people will not be able to cope. The high critea for help, with the DH Fund. Will not help. Properties that have been adapted, will not be exempt. Because, again, a high critea. They have to be significantly adapted. which means for a wheelchair user. What about the other Disabled people. And WHO, can afford to pay for a non-resident carer, 7 nights a week. Many Disabled and mentally ill people, simply could not cope with, or afford to move. How MANY 1 bed adapted properties available do you have??? What about peoples pets?? Are they expected to put them to sleep??? For many, that’s ALL, they have. What about if you’ve had your property adapted by a grant? If you move within 5 years, you have to pay the grant back!! Where exactly are tenants supposed to get the money from to pay this, ‘Bedroom Tax’??? Or, is the hope they will get in arrears and you can evict them?? Then they will be classed as making hemselves, intentionally homeless. And they will get no help at all, from anywhere!! Who wants to take in a Lodger? and, share their home with a complete stranger!! This could even pose a considerable risk to peoples personal safety. Everything about this is wrong. It’s totally unworkable. And against peoples Human Rights. Instead of accepting this. On behalf of your tenants, you should be fighting Government about it. Start petitions, lobby Government. anything, but rolling over and accepting it!!

    • No we are not rolling over and accepting it. Here is what I said;

      Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said;

      “This a truly appalling situation where some of the very poorest Westminster residents will lose nearly £18 a week through no fault of their own. This new Conservative Bedroom Tax will push more people in to poverty and in to debt and into the clutches of legal and illegal loan sharks. Conservatives Ministers and Councillors should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves to force through this mean and nasty change in the rules when it is impossible for the majority of tenants to move. There simply are not enough homes available to enable tenants to move to smaller homes but the poorest families will still have their benefits cuts. It is a shameful and disgraceful way to treat the most vulnerable people.”

      • Debbie Price says:

        Yes but you are employing people to help people cope with the changes. That in it’self is acceptance. Your reply does not cover the points I have made. Does it. why don’t you answer me, point by point?/ Instead of just reposting your answer.
        I would also, like an answer to HOW MANY 1 bedroom adapted properties you have available please?
        Also, can you EXPLAIN what ‘significantly adapted’ actually means please. what is that critea??
        Thank you

      • Westminster Council is controlled by the Conservatives and has been for decades.

        The best people to answer your questions are the Leader of the Council Philippa Roe proe@westminster.gov.uk and the Cabinet member for Housing Jonathan Glanz jglanz@westminster.gov.uk

        Sent from my iPhone

      • pam says:

        What are Labour doing about this?

  2. Jude says:

    Alright saying it …but what are you doing to oppose it???This is a country wide problem and people are afraid and they have every right to be. Give them a smaller home so they are not under occupying? You cant because they are limited. These people were housed in good faith..I would like to know where people are going to get the money to pay this or the extra work or indeed a job to pay it! This is the lowest of the low the government should be concentrating on those who screw the system not those who need it…and by imposing it on disabled people they should feel a thousand shames. By the time they are finished this country will be on its knees!

  3. Jude says:

    Oh and the consequences will be much worse than forcing them to go to illegal loan sharks…many will be homeless and living off food banks…I used to be proud to be British..not any more!

  4. So what exactly are you going to do about it?
    I will put them in point by point.

    1. What will happen to those who have had social funded adaptations who are still in the 5 year time frame where if they move out they will have to pay it back? Are you going to wipe that debt clean AND adapt a new property so that it suits thier needs?

    2. What will happen to those who do choose to move, but there is no available place for them to move to? Will they be forced to pay the BT? What if they do not have the money to do so? What will happen to them when they cant pay it?

    3 What will happen to those who qualify for the DH fund but can not recieve it because there are no funds left?

    We understand and appriciate that you feel the BT is wrong, like so many of us who have to pay it. We all would like to know what is going to be dine to stop it. Sympathy willnot pay our bills, relieve stress, or stop the devistating effects this will have on the most vunerable in our country.

    So again, please, what will YOU do to help?

  5. Lyn McKenzie says:

    This is definitely a hard one for social housing landlords as I believe many will actually against it but feel they have no option but to implement the Government’s cruel and callous Act. There have been a group of Social Housing landlords who banded together and sent a letter to the Government. perhaps if you feel so strongly against it then you could also write to the government? No one is prepared for this and many letters have still to be sent out re the changes.Ms Price is correct in her letter where she has pointed out examples of an unworkable Act. Please please don’t sit back and do nothing as this is going to have a knock on effect throughout society as we know it. An 18 year old man set fire to himself inside Torqays town hall and it has been reported that he was about to be made homeless. When people are backed into a corner they will resort to all means to feed their family and keep a roof over their heads – this will result in a rise in crime. I have been assured if people cannot pay their rent they WILL be evicted which will lead to many families being on the streets. It will cost the government more to implement this tax as there will be an upsurge in court cases and you may find that judges may not be willing to evict familes. Welfare reform is cruel and callous……………….for the first time in my life I am ashamed to be British. By the way the spare room tax does not affect me but I am fighting on behalf of all those vulnerable people who have not got the energy to fight. Maybe you can think on what I have written.

  6. pam says:

    All the Council’s know they DO NOT have enough one bed properties for their tenants to downsize to! There will be total chaos next year, with people getting into massive rent arrears, through no fault of their own. Thousands of tenants who have paid full rent for more than 30 years, spent a fortune on making their house a home (due to their ‘lifetime’ tenancy agreements) and now, they are expected to leave it all – and move to a one bed flat! It’s a disgrace that this was ever allowed to get through Parliament – why didn’t Labour vote against this unjust attack on the poor???

  7. caroline says:

    I am glad that you are appalled at what will happen to vunerable people across the country.The bedroom tax is in no way viable and it will cost the country thousands when this uncaring govt have finished.We have already seen the devastation that is happening to the disabled,though it’s falling on deaf ears,where is the voice all vunerable people need?.Why are you (labour) allowing this to happen as Debbie raises valid questions.Why are you accepting this?You speak as someone who cares,in reality the stress of downsizing in itself is devastating! I adherred to the downsize and have been left isolated and I am giving up the hope to live.I was fortunate or unfortunate to get a suitable property,well suitable I say but only for this uncaring govt,because it doesent suit me I hate losing my friends and close community feel I had with my last neighbours.The bedroom tax will not affect me,but the devastion I see daily and feeling of hopelessness from all walks of life is devastating.We don”t need empty words stating how people are going to be hit by this cruel tax.We need support and a fight against this.When are Labour going to stand up and be counted?The disabled,the elderly,the families that are so scared they are contemplating suicide,These are real people.Act upon this dont give us empty words and keep accepting what this government are putting us through,act now!

  8. caroline hudson says:

    Im dissapointed that the empathy your showing is to direct us to another office.We need a voice for all of us.This article is delivered to the people and as citizen’s of this country that are being affected by the Bedroom we are asking you what you are going to do about this.Will you be our voice or not?

    • I am not directing you to ‘another office’ but to the people whyo run the Council and the decisions opn this.

      • Lyn McKenzie says:

        I actually understand that you have no control over what is happening but the fact that you think it’s appalling is fine for me. At least we think along similar lines. Thank you for taking the time to read the comments from those who mailed you.

  9. caroline hudson says:

    Thankyou for your reply,but Im dissappointed to say the least that you have put your thoughts into writing this article yet you seem unwilling to help thankyou.

  10. We all know who ‘dunnit’. What we want to know, is what Labour is going to do about it?
    We understand and appriciate the different councils have different parties in power. We appriciate that Labour doesnt have power in all councils.

    We want to know where Labour is standing on this, and what they plan to do to try and help.

    As a party, are you going to protest? As a party are ou going to be sure our voice is heard? As a party are you going to start your own media campain to combat the lies that have portrayed ALL benefit claiments as scroungers? Are you going to pubish ture and accurate statistics to show the honest extent of the problems of national debt, and how housing and benefits impact that?
    What percentage of the tax payers money actually goes on benefits? Can you give us a true picture of each group who claims? Old age pensioners, disabled, ESA, JSA, income support?

    In summery, is Labour going to do anything at all to help the most vunerable at this time other then to help them move, when that is not going to work! I am asking this of every party, not just Labour, and believe me, when voting comes next, this is going to count. What you do now will effect voting.

  11. pam says:

    Yes, where are the people willing to help our fight against this injustice? The devastation this will cause next year will be shocking! People will wish they’d done something to help us with this then…..but will it be too late?

  12. Lyn McKenzie says:

    I believe that now is the time for Labour to stand up and be counted, the time to show the voters that they still have the strength and force to govern as they have done decades before. Ed Milliband has found his voice and that excites me. We, the people of the UK need to know in advance the stance Labour has and will take against ‘Welfare Reform’ as it is right now. We are not stupid, we do realise that some sort of Welfare reform is needed but please please not at the expense of sick, vulnerable people. Please https://labourwestminster.wordpress.com/ Pass these words on. We would love to meet with the leader of the Labour Party to discuss these matters. I add a twist to what Pam said above ‘WE ARE the people fighting this injustice and we invite you to help us win it.’ I have wandered a bit away from the topic but somehow we need to get through to Mr. Milliband. Thank you for reading this.

  13. Deb Davis says:

    It is absolutely obscene, vulgar and abhorent, this Government and its ATTACK on the Welfare State.. and this tax has to be the least thought out tax ever… by a bunch of pompous silverspooned suited and booted Lords and what have you.. who get more of tax payers money for their Parliament canteen expenses, than a person on benefits has to live on a day! We are not just ‘cattle’ to be shoved in and out of unfamiliar communities.. we are in fact, human beings who have built up family homes.. and as an aging adult, with a child with a disability, I would like to have a safe haven for my daughters to return to.. should their Uni education not enable them to get good jobs and homes of their own… I would also like the security of knowing they can come and stay, to visit their brother with a disability… Homes facilitate the ‘family unit’…. they enable the family unit to stay strong.. to accomodate varying eventualities that present themselves in this cruel world. The Government slate absent fathers.. and yet the fathers who take an active healthy role in their childrens lives are having their childrens weekend room taken away from them.. how can this be fair?????? LABOUR, you need to FIGHT for the people… oppose on our behalf…. The callous Gov may be the big tree.. but we small axes have the power to cut it down IF Labour supports the people….

  14. Debbie Price says:

    It is VERY dissapointing, that you feel unable to answer many people on here. What actually is the POINT of this article and the provision to leave replies. when you are not able to help with our enquiries?? We are looking for answers. we are looking for help. Will you at least forward all of enquiries onto The Leader of the Council. Philippa Roe. And Cabinet Member for Housing Jonathan Glanz. That is the least you can do.
    Also, please inform Ed Miliband and give him a copy of our questions.
    We need to know what Labour are going to do??
    We would also, like a face to face meeting with him. Please.
    And, please do not divert us to asking him ourselves.
    Many, many of us, have written to him. And,not even received an acknowledgement. Let alone a reply.
    Which in it’self is disgusting.
    We are the voters. And we are being ignored. So, where does he think his votes are going to come from??
    As things stand now, with these proposed welfare reforms. They are going to cause untold suffering.
    We are part of a group, vergeing on almost 5000 members. And growing daily.
    And we, DESERVE answers please.
    Thank you.

  15. pam says:

    These are questions we need answering – from all council/housing associations!

    1. How many one bedroom properties do the Council/ HA have available to Let, for the many tenants who will be required to downsize?

    .

    2. How many properties, in all, do the council/HA own?

    3. How many people are already on the waiting list for one bedroom properties?

    4. If, as is expected, you do not have the available smaller properties for your tenants to downsize to, and, as will happen, they cannot afford to pay the shortfall from the 14% – 25% deducted from their housing benefit, what do you propose to do to help these tenants?

    5. If a tenant does manage to find a property to downsize to, will they be compensated for the vast amounts of money they have spent making their house a home, over many years, as they were told they have ‘lifetime’ tenancies? Will their removal expenses be met?

    6. If a tenant is willing to downsize, but you do not have the available homes for them to move to, what will be the outcome of that situation? Will there be discretionary payments to meet their rent payments as, in this situation, it will be of no fault of their own?

  16. pam says:

    I believe David Cameron is acting against our ‘Human rights’ in implementing this bedroom tax. When, 38 years ago, I signed my council house tenancy, nowhere in the document did it state that this would be a tenancy just until my children left home – it states it is a ‘lifetime’ tenancy! There is NOTHING in the small print to even suggest that this would happen to me! Had this been a factor, then, I, like most people affected, would not have spent all these years making it a ‘home’ for life! It is not just a house – it is our HOME!

  17. Jude says:

    The government in effect has stripped people of their ‘lifetime tenancy’ through the back door as they must know that people can not pay this…for goodness sake listen to the people…its peoples lives this government is messing around with…along with the whole of welfare reform it will devastate lives and families….its ok for people who are fortunate enough to have a job and afford this…they just aren’t there though are they…people apply for hundreds of jobs without any chance of getting them. Now to take their homes away from them which ultimately will happen…as you cant get blood out of a stone..is an absolute disgrace. I drew your attention to the Human Rights Act 1998 RIGHT TO RESPECT FOR PRIVATE AND FAMILY LIFE
    You have the right to respect for your private and family life,
    your home and your correspondence. This right can only be
    restricted in specified circumstances.
    ARTICLE 14
    PROHIBITION OF DISCRIMINATION
    In the application of the Convention rights, you have the right
    not to be treated differently because of your race, religion, sex,
    political views or any other status, unless this can be justified
    objectively. Everyone must have equal access to Convention
    rights, whatever their status.
    WHAT DOES THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT MEAN
    FOR DEMOCRACY?
    Democracy is the only form of government which fits with the
    Convention rights. Tolerance and broadmindedness are the
    bedrock of democracy – and the bedrock of the Convention
    rights. The Human Rights Act recognises the central place of
    Parliament in our democracy.
    It should encourage transparency and openness in
    Government because public authorities will use the language
    of the Convention rights to debate problems. Because that’s a
    language we can all understand we will be better able to
    understand what’s being said – and to join in.
    Do we have a democracy…I think not…the Government has steamrolled ahead with this ill thought rubbish without a thought for what it will do to vulnerable people in this country, the Lords really need to take a reality check on this before it is too late. Where is your conscience..Labour…for goodness sake help us to fight this!

  18. pam says:

    Please come and join us here……..if you think this tax on the poor is wrong!

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/antibedroomtax/387718104655290/?notif_t=group_comment_reply

  19. Jude says:

    You have the right to respect for your private and family life,
    your home and your correspondence. This right can only be
    restricted in specified circumstances. I refer to absent fathers here who will not be allowed to have a bedroom for their children to stay in and in fact wont be allowed to have their children as many court orders state that the children must have a bedroom to sleep in..does this not infringe on family life and the rights of absent fathers? And what about disabled tenants living in adapted property…pay up or get out how callous is this government..this whole legislation hits right at the heart of family life…its Dickensian and should never have been allowed to be passed! Many people have lived in their homes for many years. This is nothing to do with freeing up social housing…as there is no where for tenants to move to..are you hoping to reclaim housing by default..I suspect the government knows full well people will not be able to afford this!

  20. Deb Davis says:

    It seems my previous comment wont pass through ‘moderation’…. I am immensly disappointed, as are my friends on here who have read my comment and agree with its content.. it also appears mone is the only one not to have passed moderation.. we are all perplexed as to why not!

  21. Deb Davis says:

    Sooooo… once again lets see if my ‘previous comment will go through.. lets just hope it was a technical hitch! ,,,,, previously I wrote……. Deb Davis says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    December 16, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    It is absolutely obscene, vulgar and abhorent, this Government and its ATTACK on the Welfare State.. and this tax has to be the least thought out tax ever… by a bunch of pompous silverspooned suited and booted Lords and what have you.. who get more of tax payers money for their Parliament canteen expenses, than a person on benefits has to live on a day! We are not just ‘cattle’ to be shoved in and out of unfamiliar communities.. we are in fact, human beings who have built up family homes.. and as an aging adult, with a child with a disability, I would like to have a safe haven for my daughters to return to.. should their Uni education not enable them to get good jobs and homes of their own… I would also like the security of knowing they can come and stay, to visit their brother with a disability… Homes facilitate the ‘family unit’…. they enable the family unit to stay strong.. to accomodate varying eventualities that present themselves in this cruel world. The Government slate absent fathers.. and yet the fathers who take an active healthy role in their childrens lives are having their childrens weekend room taken away from them.. how can this be fair?????? LABOUR, you need to FIGHT for the people… oppose on our behalf…. The callous Gov may be the big tree.. but we small axes have the power to cut it down IF Labour supports the people

    Reply

  22. Linda says:

    the thing that winds me up the most is the current housing benefit formula for working people on a low income. I’m on a low income and get around 50% of my rent/council tax as benefit. I could easily work an extra 3 hours most weeks, if I did that I’d earn an extra £20, enough to cover my bedroom tax you’d think?, but oh no, I’d lose 85p in every £1 off my housing benefit/council tax award so I’d only actually be £3 better off. Not much point in bothering to work any extra then is there?!

  23. Ruth bowling says:

    I would like to know what labour are going to do about this unfair bedroom tax before the next election as I will not be voting for any party that supports this tax,and my vote along with many others will go elsewhere

  24. Linda Lewis says:

    This bedroom tax will be the downfall of this present Tory/LibDem dictatorship,my vote will go to the party that abolishes this very unfair and cruel tax on the most vulnerable members of society.

  25. paul@pbs1.karoo.co.uk says:

    This nasty tax i believe is illegal because it discriminates against the poorest people in society and also has an element of age discrimination, as i understand it, if you are a single person living in a 3 bedroom house and you pay full rent (no housing benefit) then there is no penalty for under occupying the property, also if you are retired there is no penalty (age discrimination), however if you do qualify for housing benefit then you also qualify for bedroom tax and along with it discrimination.

    on this basis i would like to know if this tax is illegal and as such if it is can people sue the government for this

  26. and why is the penalty so high, (14% for one spare room) the difference between a 1, 2 or 3 bed is not 14%, surely it can’t be right to charge us more than the actual cost difference?

  27. Mr D A Collins says:

    I am living in a three bedroom flat with myself wife and daughter all adults, WCH won’t let me succeed my mothers tennacy after I lived with her for tens years to care for her, now she has passed away what can I do to fight them, I am not on benifits and paying full rent ect.

    • Debbie Price says:

      You do have the right to succeed the tenancy. The minimum requirement is 1 year living at the property.. You need to get some advise. Try CAB (Citizens Advice Bureau) and Shelter. Contact your MP and your local councillors.

  28. I can’t see why they wouldn’t let you succeed the tenancy, especially as you pay full rent, they must have a much higher shortage of 2 beds rather than 3 beds as weld so it’s unlikely that they have families desperately waiting for a 3 bed flats.. Keep paying the rent and I hope you win your case

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