Social landlords expect cuts to trigger new wave of homelessness

Social landlords expect cuts to trigger new wave of homelessness 

Report based on survey of English housing associations and councils suggests government moves to restrict benefits will result in a surge in tenant evictions

An empty property
High numbers of evictions are leaving housing associations in some areas without tenants. Photograph: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Social landlords are expecting a surge in rent arrears, tenant evictions and homelessness as the government pushes ahead with more welfare cuts and changes, according to new research.

The continuing impact of the bedroom tax, together with moves to extend the benefit cap and impose further limits on housing benefit, will put further financial pressure on tenants, predicts a report by consultants Grant Thornton.

It concludes that the ability of councils and housing associations to mitigate growing arrears has been severely eroded, and increasing numbers are issuing possession orders to tenants who have fallen behind with the rent.

Grant Thornton’s survey of English housing associations and local authorities revealed that a majority had seen a rise in average rent arrears over the past two years, with over a fifth reporting a “sharp increase” in eviction notices being served.

Last week, official statistics showed that tenant evictions reached a six-year high in the first three months of 2015. Over the same period, social landlords made 27,000 possession claims – the first stage in the legal process leading to an eviction.

Councils are also feeling the strain of increased evictions in the private rented sector, with 59% reporting an increase in applications for social housing from tenants who had been ejected by private landlords.

The threat of further evictions will rise after a cut in the budget for discretionary housing payments (DHP) from £165m to £125m this year, the report says. DHP grants, which help tenants with rent shortfalls caused by welfare reform, were originally intended as a temporary measure to enable tenants to stay in their home while they got a job or arranged a move to a smaller property.

Social landlords expect cuts to trigger new wave of homelessness  

Street Democracy writes: 

‘We hold our doors so they attack in vain, 

but the dissposses can never reign, 

The Tories darkness to desolate our inner peace

Our societal tolerance of this must now cease!

Tory bullies set a furious expedition of fierce hosting with frowning scorn as they devise with fanatical commitment social housing benefit cuts that do not match the ‘real’ agenda of living.

Like a book of hideous horrors, ravenous eyes of blue will rip apart the welfare state budget and the knock on affect will be catastrophic, a real cataclysm of hardship and homelessness.

Feeling powerless is exalted to highest when you have no base, no home and are at the mercy of the state. 

Its cold, void of empathy. 

It’s frighteningly undignified and humilation upon the face of the mother who has no front door key, who holds her child without cover and stands in front of housing officers who follow the tail of the one in front.

An unwelcome forced intimacy of front line reception housing, is filled with love abandon policies, evil in print and administrators unwilling to disobey and put humanity first before unclean wisdom and policy.

You face a plethora of hostile dialogues of conditions and financial sanctions before you are shunted off to unsuitable temporary accommadation and for what.

How many empty properties are there, and how many unscrupulous rich landlords are there?

Always a corrupt capitalist society will put profit before people and this is no exception and it helps only the wealthy.

By Debbie Simmons-Street Democracy.

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North Carolina Woman Being Evicted From Her Own Land For Living in Tent

North Carolina Woman Being Evicted From Her Own Land For Living in Tent

new Saturday 16th May 2015 at 07:47 By David Icke

‘Ingred Larson received an eviction notice from the county today. Why? For living in a tent on her own property. Yes. Really. She is being evicted for living in a tent on her own land.

10 years ago the city sewer line flooded her home with 10,000 gallons of raw sewage. There was a settlement, however the city/county wants her to hook back up to the county sewer system, but Larson does not want to, and would rather hook up to the septic tank system on her property. The county doesn’t want that, and is forcing her to hook-up to the city sewer.’

Read more: North Carolina Woman Being Evicted From Her Own Land For Living in Tent

Iain Duncan Smith hails success of benefit cap as evictions hit record levels

Iain Duncan Smith hails success of benefit cap as evictions hit record levels 

24DASH.COM Logo Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Bill Payments, Central Government

Friday 15th May 2015 – 9:46am

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Iain Duncan Smith hails success of benefit cap as evictions hit record levels 

Iain Duncan Smith hails success of benefit cap as evictions hit record levels

Iain Duncan Smith has hailed the success of the benefit cap – on the same day that the Ministry of Justice reported a record number evictions among renting households.

The Work and Pensions Secretary said the cap provided “a clear incentive to people to get into work”, as figures showed thousands of capped households were now claiming working tax credits instead.

But Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb said the government’s welfare cuts combined with “sky-high housing costs” had forced thousands of people out of their homes.

According to the latest figures from the Department of Work and Pensions, 23,100 households had their housing benefit capped during February with over 60% being single parent families.

Of the overall total, 83% were capped by £100 or less a week; 59% had between one and four children, and 63% were a single parent with child dependants.

 

For more click here for 24dash.com

Iain Duncan Smith hails success of benefit cap as evictions hit record levels  

 

Or read : http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/

Evictions of rental tenants hit a record high as homeless charity Shelter calls for Government to act

 

 

 

Street Democracy writes:

 

The Tory’s dynamic force of bullying expeditions shunting the poor from place to place is a monumental mechanism to disempower, humiliate and trash further the poorest from society.

 

Home’s for the poverty stricken are temporary short term glorified B & B’s, in fact you needn’t bother unpacking.

Volleying evil and smashing it down upon the poorest is social and political disempowerment as the ‘dissposses cannot reign’, minds full of survival techniques there isn’t room for much else.

 

The elegant rape of the minds of the poorest, with stress and evictions, with homelessness, with no money for a place to live, assassinates the character of those financially struggling to survive.

 

A bombardment of red ‘you owe money’ letters, hostile dialogues with no empathy is nothing more than ‘evil in print’ land in your home as a warrantless invasion, a forced intimacy of unwelcoming into your home.

 

Homes become dark eerie frightening places with evictions hanging over your head. You cannot relax, you feel unwelcome and your dignity is not sacred. Life is boxed and placed in black bin liners.

 

The uncertainty is agony. A true cataclysmic shattering of the self, who you are, with no stability and social expulsion from society as a temporary homeless person or family of the under class.

Iain Duncan ‘soulless suit’ Smith, will devour the low income earners, the unemployed and disabled people as a form of ethnic cleansing to price the poor out of areas and richer tenants in.

 

He has no conscience and is morally bankrupt for certain.

By Debbie Simmons-Street Democracy

Welfare reforms, food banks, malnutrition and the return of Victorian diseases are not coincidental, Mr Cameron

Welfare reforms, food banks, malnutrition and the return of Victorian diseases are not coincidental, Mr Cameron By 

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The coalition will leave more debt than all Labour governments since 1900. The current government is now responsible for £517 billion of the trillion-plus-pound UK public debt, compared to £472 billion accrued during the 33 years Labour led the country since the turn of the twentieth century.

And the figures look even worse when you adjust for inflation. When you do that, the Coalition’s share jumps to nearly half of the total debt.

But the Coalition don’t meet any public’s needs, they simply serve the wants of  apowerful, wealthy elite. Labour invested in public services, the Tories have bled them dry. So, what have they done with the money? Because the public have seen only austerity cuts. And the most vulnerable bear the brunt of the cuts.

Oxfam’s director of campaigns and policy, Ben Phillips, said: “Britain is becoming a deeply divided nation, with a wealthy elite who are seeing their incomes spiral up, while millions of families are struggling to make ends meet.”

“It’s deeply worrying that these extreme levels of wealth inequality exist in Britain today, where just a handful of people have more money than millions struggling to survive on the breadline.”

Diseases associated with malnutrition, which were very common in the Victorian era in the UK, became rare with the advent of our welfare state and universal healthcare, but are they are now are making a reappearance.

NHS statistics indicate that the number of cases of gout and scarlet fever have almost doubled within five years, with a rise in other illnesses such as scurvy, cholera, whooping cough and general malnutrition. People are more susceptible to infectious illness if they are under-nourished.

In 2013/14, more than 86,000 hospital admissions involved patients who were diagnosed with gout – an increase of 78 per cent in five years, and of 16 per cent on the year before. Causes of gout include a lack of vitamin C in the diet of people who are susceptible, drinking alcohol (beer and spirits in particular) and a lack of a balanced diet generally.

The figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show a 71 per cent increase in hospital admissions among patients suffering from malnutrition – from 3,900 admissions in 2009-10 to 6,690 admissions in 2013-14.

Cases of scarlet fever admitted to hospital doubled, from 403 to 845, while the number of hospital patients found to be suffering from scurvy also rose, with 72 cases in 2009/10 rising to 94 cases last year.

The figures also show a steep rise in cases diagnosed with cholera, a water-borne disease which was extremely prevalent in the 19th century, causing nearly 40,000 deaths.

While total numbers remain low, the 22 cases last year compare with just 4 in 2009/10, the statistics show.

Dr Theresa Lamagni, Public Health England’s head of streptococcal infection surveillance, said the total number of notifications of scarlet fever this year has already reached 12,580 cases – the highest since 1970.

Cases of measles in hospital rose, from 160 to 205 cases, with a small rise in admissions for whooping cough, from 285 to 289 cases over the five years examined.

The figures on malnutrition follow a series of scandals of care of the elderly, with doctors, remarkably, forced to prescribe patients with drinking water or put them on drips to make sure they do not become severely dehydrated.

Charities have warned that too many patients are being found to be malnourished after being admitted to hospitals from care homes, as well as from their own homes.

However, Labour have said the figures a national scandal.

Luciana Berger MP, Labour’s Shadow Public Health Minister, said: “This shouldn’t be happening in 21st century Britain and the Government’s response is hopelessly complacent.

“People are living under greater pressure and struggling with the cost of living”.

“Hundreds of thousands are forced to turn to food banks and sadly it’s unsurprising people are eating less, and eating less healthily too”.

“David Cameron needs to listen to what the experts are saying and tackle the cost of living crisis that is driving people into food poverty.”

Cases of malnutrition have been steadily increasing since the 2010 general election.

In 2009/10 there were 3,899 hospital admissions for this, in 2010/11 there were 4,660, in 2011/12 there were 5,396 then in 2012/13 this had risen again to 5,594.

People unable to feed themselves adequately needing hospital admission saw a significant rise to 6,686,  where malnutrition was the primary or secondary diagnosis during 2013/14.This is a rise of 71 per cent from 3,899 in the year up to April 2010.

Chris Mould, chief executive of the Trussell Trust which runs a nationwide network of food banks, said: “This shows increases in diseases related to poverty and that’s alarming.

“Our food banks see tens of thousands of people who have been going hungry, missing meals and cutting back on the quality of the food they buy.

“We know quite a large proportion of the population are struggling to get nutritious food on the table. And at the extreme end of that you get people who are malnourished”.

“We don’t believe anyone should have to go hungry in the UK”.

“The scale of the increases we’re seeing must be further investigated to find out why this is happening”.

Scurvy is a disease associated with pirates stuck at sea for long periods – has increased by 31 per cent in England since 2010. This is caused by a lack of vitamin C and is usually due to an inadequate diet without enough fresh fruit and vegetables.

Figures from January this year from the NHS indicate that there were 833 hospital admissions for children suffering from Rickets – a condition which is caused by a lack of Vitamin D, from 2012-13. Ten years ago, the figure was just 190.

The disease, which causes softening of the bones and permanent deformities, was common in 19th century Britain but was almost eradicated by improvements in nutrition. The body produces vitamin D when it is exposed to the sun, but it’s clear that adequate diet plays an important role, too, since the decline of Rickets happened at a time when we saw an improvement in the diets of the nation as a whole.

It is thought that malnutrition is the main cause, children are most at risk if their diet doesn’t include sufficient levels of vitamin D.

Low incomes, unemployment and benefit delays have combined to trigger increased demand for food banks among the UK’s poorest families, according to a report commissioned by the government and released earlier this year,

The report directly contradicts the claim from a government minister that the rise in the use of food banks is linked to the fact that there are now more of them. It says people turn to charity food as a last resort following a crisis such as the loss of a job, or problems accessing social security benefits, or through benefit sanctions.

The review emerged as the government comes under pressure from church leadersand charities to address increasing prevalence of food poverty caused by welfare cuts. The End Hunger Fast campaign called for a national day of fasting on 4 April to highlight the issue.

The report was written by  food policy experts from the University of Warwick, and it was passed to ministers in June 2013 but had remained undisclosed until February 2014, creating reasonable speculation that the government suppressed its findings.

Examining the effect of welfare changes on food bank use was not a specific part of its remit, and the report is understood to have undergone a number of revisions since early summer, ordered by the Department for Food and Agriculture and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The researchers found that a combination of rising food prices, ever-shrinking incomes, low pay, increasing personal debt, and benefit payment problems meant an increasing number of families could not afford to buy sufficient food.

In a letter to the British Medical Journal, a group of doctors and senior academics from the Medical Research Council and two leading universities said that the effect of Government policies on vulnerable people’s ability to afford food needed to be “urgently” monitored.

The group of academics and professionals said that the surge in the number of people requiring emergency food aid, a decrease in the amount of calories consumed by British families, and a doubling of the number of malnutrition cases seen at English hospitals represent “all the signs of a public health emergency that could go unrecognised until it is too late to take preventative action”.

The health specialists also said:“Access to an adequate food supply is the most basic of human needs and rights”.

The authors of the letter, who include Dr David Taylor-Robinson and Professor Margaret Whitehead of Liverpool University’s Department of Public Health, say that they have serious concerns that malnutrition can have a long-lasting impact on health, particularly among children.

Tory ministers have repeatedly insisted that there is no “robust link” between the welfare reforms and rising food bank use, whilst welfare minister Lord Freud claimed the rise in food bank use was because there were more food banks and because the food was free.

It ought to be noted, not least by the government, that people may only access food banks when they are referred by a professional agency, such as social services, the DWP or a Doctor. In particular, vouchers for emergency food parcels tend to be given by benefits officials.

In all but exceptional cases, Trussell Trust food banks will only issue a food parcel to someone with a voucher from an accredited agency. Claimants are limited to emergency aid on three occasions only. This indicates that need, rather than availability, is the key reason for the increased use of food banks since 2010.

Together with the pressure created by rising prices and falling wages, there has been a marked increase in demand for emergency food aid since the welfare reforms came into effect. And this is affecting both people in and out of work.

More than half of people who have visited a food bank since April were referred because of social security problems.

The Government claimed the rapid increase in malnutrition cases “could be partly due to better diagnosis”.

I don’t imagine that it’s likely that Doctors have suddenly become better at diagnosis since 2010.

I do, however, think there is much scope for improvement in the capacity of Tory ministers for understanding correlation, basic cause and effect and simple connections.

However, Tory skills in mendacity, creating diversions and ad hominem are second to none.

 

See also:

Poverty

 An email to authoritarian Tory MPs Charlie Elphicke, Priti Patel and Conor Burns

Quantitative Data on Poverty from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

430835_148211001996623_1337599952_n (1)Thanks to Robert Livingstone for his excellent illustrations of t

Bedroom Tax- Defend Council Housing-Latest From The Press…

Latest From The Press…click here for: Defend Council Housing. Pictures displayed by Street Democracy

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18/06/14 Bedroom tax fundamentally flawed, Cambridge University experts reveal

17/06/14 Council homes chat

13/06/14 SHOUT campaign ready for lift-off

31/05/14 Bedroom tax inflicted on disabled child

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24/05/14 Buy to let landlords a disaster for Britain and economy

22/05/14 Shelter: 4000 households risk losing homes each week

22/05/14 Court battles against bedroom tax can be won

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21/05/14 Bedroomm tax fails to address under-occupancy, landlords warn

20/05/14 Cameron may rethink Help to Buy as prices soar

20/05/14 Cable: booming house prices causing real worry

20/05/14 Millions face prospect of home ownership ‘debtor’s prison’

homes

14/05/14 Bedroom tax challenge for children with care needs

13/05/14 Majority of councillors agree first time buyers cannot afford to buy

13/05/14 Playing politics with housing waiting lists

12/05/14 In-work housing benefit claims soar

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Bedroom Tax Debt Enslavement: Study finds ‘fundamental flaw’ with bedroom tax

Study finds ‘fundamental flaw’ with bedroom tax

Inside Housing. Pictures displayed by Street Democracy

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Street Democracy writes:

The bedroom tax magnifies misery.

The social housing tenant has been meticulously weakened both nationally and locally while moral decay has calcified further by blundering local housing agents giving this toxic policy all its power.

The bedroom tax has localised bullying.

It is localising debt for the poor with permanent rent arrears also.

The bedroom tax is a diabolical debt enslavement housing policy raping the minds of the most vulnerable while taking essential life saving money’s away from the poorest families.

How toxic is the bedroom tax?

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This article is a weak argument to put to uncaring Tory, no empathy, greedy, serve to self, psychopathic politicians who enforced this gutter housing policy.

Enforced and enshrined into law without thought or consideration at the social, psychological and economic cost it has had, especially towards the poorest families in the UK.

We witness a catastrophic collapse in democracy.

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We witness a fantastic obliteration of moral standards within the epicentre of Westminster where corrupt capitalist’s strutting about in suits calling themselves MP’s have ignored the hundreds and thousands of voices opposing this putrid bedroom tax.

The social housing tenant is near broken as the Tories rewrite the laws of democracy to exclude the poor, to silence them and disengage them from political activity by ignoring them completely.

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It’s a sham of British justice and social democracy by any standards.

And apparently we’re meant to lead the way for other nations to follow of exactly how democracy works, it’s clearly easy, just exclude the poor.

Disfigured political avenues are now emerging cesspits with mocking towards anyone daring to speak out against the bedroom tax as being responsible for the housing crisis and the collapse of the economy.

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Not the greedy politicians over claiming and over using, milking the expenses system and claiming for their second homes heating bills, or mortgage payments, or heating their stables.

Not the wealthy stealing the wealth of the nations, hoarding up endless hundreds of thousands of acres of land they don’t use, don’t need and don’t see causing massive land scarcity and out pricing locals.

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For more on this toxic political apparatus click here or continue reading:

Study finds ‘fundamental flaw’ with bedroom tax

Inside Housing.

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More than half of English homes fall short of modern space standards calling into question the bedroom tax, a study from the University of Cambridge has found.

According to the study, which analysed 16,000 homes in comparison to the London Housing Design guide internal space standard, English homes are the smallest by floor area in Europe and the report’s authors argue that in most of the country you have to under-occupy to have an acceptable amount of living space.

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‘Spare bedrooms are a misconception in many homes, as the lack of space means that any extra bedrooms are needed for other uses,’ said Malcolm Morgan, a PhD student in the University’s Department of Engineering, who led the research.

Published today, the findings were that 55 per cent of dwellings fall short of the standards based on floor space alone, and 21 per cent fall short when the number of current occupants is taken into account. Flats and small terraced houses were most commonly below the standard. Dwellings were also frequently found to be under-occupied in comparison with the number of bedrooms, which was most likely due to lack of space.

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It found that households receiving housing benefit were more likely to be undersized, calling into question the bedroom tax.

The UK has the smallest homes by floor area in Europe with the average newly-built home at just 76 square metres. The report argues that the reasons for this are related to the removal of minimum space standards through the 1980 Local Government, Planning and Land Act, the high value of land, and the low number of houses built by public authorities and housing associations.

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Between one-quarter and one-third of people in the UK are dissatisfied with the amount of space in their homes, and yet many homes can be considered under-occupied when looking at the number of bedrooms compared with the number of occupants.

‘When the bedroom tax was introduced, there was a lot of implication that those living in houses with spare bedrooms were doing so out of selfishness,’ said Mr Morgan. ‘But what this research shows is that in most of the UK, you simply have to under-occupy houses in order to have an acceptable amount of living space.’

Click here for more or to go to Inside Housing:

Watch: Two Liverpool social housing tenants win reprieve from bedroom tax

Watch: Two Liverpool social housing tenants win reprieve from bedroom tax 

By Liverpool Echo

Kirkdale residents Theresa McCarten and Susan Dunne told by judge their bedroom tax bills should be reduced

Two social housing tenants in Liverpool have won reprieve from the hated bedroom tax.

Kirkdale residents Theresa McCarten and Susan Dunne were this week told by a judge their bedroom tax bills should be reduced.

Both had their housing benefit payments slashed by 25% in the wake of the Government’s controversial 2012 welfare reforms.

But the women took their cases to court and a judge ordered their bedroom tax bills be cut from around £22 to £11 a week – leaving each of them approximately £40 a month better off.

Ms McCarten told the ECHO: “Bedrooms are being called bedrooms just so the Government can take people’s benefits off them.

“You couldn’t even fit a bed in my spare room but I still had to pay the bedroom tax on it.”

Ms McCarten was first ordered to pay the bedroom tax in March last year.

Benefits assessors ruled her home was a three-bedroom property, although there were only beds in two rooms.

But the first-tier tribunal of the Social Entitlement Chamber ruled this week: “She has never used the third room as a bedroom as it is too small and has always been used as a computer room.

“The tribunal therefore decided she had two bedrooms.”

For more click here:

Watch: Two Liverpool social housing tenants win reprieve from bedroom tax 

By Liverpool Echo

BEDROOM TAX CRISIS! UPDATE: East Lancs man threatens to blow up house after eviction threat

UPDATE: East Lancs man threatens to blow up house after eviction threat

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A FATHER-of-four threatened to blow up his home after being faced with eviction after a dispute over bedroom tax payments.

Bailiffs arrived at Michael Hilton’s home in Meadoway, Church, at around 9.20am yesterday.

They reported him to police after they heard him say that if they entered the property – his home of 30 years – there would be an ‘explosion’. The police said they believed petrol and gas canisters were in the house.

Mr Hilton, 52, was last night in police custody after being arrested on suspicion of affray following a stand-off lasting around three and a half hours.

Two fire engines were called to the scene, close to St Christopher’s High School, as well as around six police cars, two police vans, a riot van and later, police dog teams.

Mr Hilton barricaded himself in the house and refused to come out.

Will bedroom Tax cost £1bn per year MORE to the taxpayer ?

Will bedroom Tax cost £1bn per year MORE to the taxpayer ? by SPeye Joe (Welfarewrites)

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Pictures by Street Democracy.

Late this afternoon Inside Housing published a report called “Survey finds more than a third of bedroom tax-hit tenants in arrears”  An eye-catching headline which outlines a research report by just council landlords experiences.

This being an Inside Housing article the report does not say  what the arrears levels were before the bedroom tax came in and thus negates the headline as just an ‘eye-catcher’ and not related to the content of the article!

The real issue in this article is what is presented almost as a throwaway line in the middle of the article:

The survey also found a significant rise in the number of landlords resorting to court action, 55 per cent, compared to just 2 per cent when members were last surveyed in June 2013.

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The language does not emphasise the fact that the number of council and quasi-council landlords (ALMOs) issuing court actions against their tenants has risen from 2% of them to 55% of them – THAT IS A TWENTY SEVEN FOLD INCREASE or in very simple terms like your yearly salary increasing from £20k to £550k per year!  It is a quite astronomical increase.

Yet it is what this means that is the huge issue.  If over 27 times more council tenants are being hit with court actions then there is going to be a hell of a lot more council tenants getting evicted and shortly.

That inevitable increase in eviction of council tenants because of the bedroom tax and it is inevitable is a direct cost to the taxpayer that has to be set against any claimed savings to the taxpayer the DWP claim it ill have.  There is no doubt there is a huge correlation between the two.  So how much does an evicted tenant cost the councils becomes the question.

Inside Housing earlier in the month provided an estimate of how much each eviction costs a local council and the overall yearly cost of eviction to councils and I quote: –

Tenants on the verge of eviction are being helped to remain in their homes by a recently formed social enterprise that is saving their landlords significant sums in the process. Daniel Douglas finds out how

Aadil Ismail* speaks four languages fluently; Arabic, Bengali, Hindi and Urdu. He can recite vast swathes of the Quran verbatim. His house in Bethnal Green is crammed with shelves upon shelves of books. But for six months, his kitchen cupboards were bare and he had no money to eat.

Mr Ismail, a mild-mannered, intelligent 54-year-old man, could easily have been one of the116,000 households across the UK who turned to their councils for help last year because they were homeless, costing local authorities more than £1 billion every year.

Simple maths and divide £1bn by 116,000 cases and you get an average cost of £8,620 per case. So given the average bedroom tax per year is £760 we can see that an eviction cost equates to 11 YEARS BEDROOM TAX TO THE TAXPAYER!

For more on this click here for: SPeye Joe (Welfarewrites)

The bedroom tax discriminates against the social tenant

The bedroom tax discriminates against the social tenant by SPeye Joe (Welfarewrites)

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Pictures displayed by Street Democracy.

I did not emphasise the real issue when I reported on the Wirral MBC case a day or so ago choosing to seek permission directly from the Upper Tribunal to appeal against a bedroom tax case with a room measuring 36.53 square feet.  My error was in focusing on the decision taken and not what the decision meant as the REAL issue is the overt discrimination the social tenant suffers in the bedroom tax policy and this specific case highlights the general discrimination which is deserving of much more attention than the ridiculous decision Wirral MBC has taken.

In short if a private landlord had attempted to rent out the 36.53 square feet room as a bedroom then: –

  1. The private landlord would not be allowed to deem this room a bedroom, and
  2. Would not receive the higher HB towards rent – a 3 bed rather than a 2 bed HB payment
  3. Likely to be prosecuted (and knowing the facts of this case they would be)

YET because it is a social landlord the tenant gets persecuted and hit with the bedroom tax deduction and that is discriminatory and this case highlights this general discrimination in the bedroom tax policy.

The issue gives rise to further room size bedroom tax appeal arguments and potentially a judicial review of the policy itself and that is where the emphasis should have been.  It comes about for a few reasons and it is useful to compare the social rented sector (SRS) position to the private rented sector (PRS) position to the same situation of a room of less than 50 square feet being deemed a ‘bedroom’ by the landlord.

Firstly, the PRS landlord claiming a property has 3 bedrooms can and invariably has that property inspected for the validity of such a claim by the independent rent officer service.  The Rent Officer comes out to check and the last yearly figures I have reveal 219,000 yearly inspections.  YET such inspections and the opportunity for these to be conducted on social housing properties was taken away by this government in April 2013 when the bedroom tax started.

For more click here:  SPeye Joe (Welfarewrites)