Westminster Council tenants subject to the Government’s new Bedroom Tax now owe £44,023 in rent arrears – an increase of 18% since the end of March 2013, according to the latest Council figures.
The arrears are rising because, so far, the Council has only managed to rehouse 31 ‘over-occupying’ tenants on Housing Benefit, while a further 439 tenants of working age on Housing Benefit have lost £18 a week if they have one bedroom ‘too many’ and £34 a week if they have two bedrooms or more than they ‘need’.
Of the 439 Council tenant households who are subject to the new tax, there are 369 households in a 2 bed flat who would need to move to a 1 bedroom flat but cannot do so because of the shortage of supply. Because of the lack of 1 bed Council homes, these tenants have had £18 a week cut from their Housing Benefit.
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said;
“This is the worst of all possible worlds. Rent arrears are piling up month after month, the Council is losing money, tenants are getting into financial difficulty and very few people are moving to smaller or larger homes. It is a complete shambles. When are the Conservatives going to admit that they have got this very badly wrong and scrap this useless and hated tax?”