New data shows how many East of England families are really being hit by the bedroom tax. Norwich, Basildon and Peterborough hardest hit.
Almost 34,000 East of England families were hit by the bedroom tax in August according to new data released by the Government and analysed by the National Housing Federation [NHF] – the first survey to show actual numbers affected by the controversial policy.
The NHF analysis also shows that East of England families affected lost more money per week than any other region in England outside London and the South East, with an average reduction in housing benefit of £829 per year.
28,071 families were under-occupying by one bedroom and 5,551 were under-occupying by two or more.2 Norwich was hardest hit, with 2,908 families affected, almost double the number seen in any other Eastern local authority. Basildon came in second, with 1,630 affected families, while Peterborough came third with 1,504.
The bedroom tax came into force on 1st April, 2013 and this is the first time the Government has released data showing the actual numbers hit. But even this does not show the full extent of families affected – it excludes those working families, previously in receipt of a small amount of housing benefit, whose entitlement has been completely wiped out by the bedroom tax.
The ten East of England local authorities with the highest number of households hit were:
Local authorities No. Households hit & Average amount lost per year
Norwich 2,908 £699.58
Basildon 1,630 £830.88
Peterborough UA 1,504 £774.38
Ipswich 1,365 £750.10
Central Beds UA 1,204 £890.24
Thurrock UA 1,149 £806.48
& West Norfolk 1,088 £738.78
Breckland 1,026 £773.03
North Herts, 1,004 £914.92
Dacorum 992 £977.10
The new data follows a recent NHF survey of 51 housing associations which showed that 51% of households affected by the bedroom tax were unable to pay their rent between April and June.
Disabled people are particularly hard-hit by the policy, with about two thirds of affected families containing someone with a disability.
Research by charity Papworth Trust found that nine in ten disabled people would cut back on food or bills to pay the bedroom tax if they were refused a Discretionary Housing Payment.
NHF East of England spokesperson, Claire Astbury, said: “These new Government figures show that the bedroom tax is affecting thousands of people in the East of England – for many, there isn’t even anywhere for them to downsize to. There simply aren’t enough smaller social homes available, and the cost of private rented housing is rising all the time.
“The East of England is particularly hard hit with people here facing one of the biggest cuts in housing benefit in the country. The Government says discretionary housing payments will help those who cannot downsize, but there isn’t anywhere near enough money to go round.
“The bedroom tax is trapping many people in homes they can no longer afford and where they are struggling to pay their rents. It is unfair, badly designed, and must be repealed.”
33,820 households in the East of England had their Housing Benefit reduced due to the bedroom tax.
Analysis of DWP Housing benefit statistics, August 2013
The National Housing Federation surveyed 51 housing associations who between them had a total of 63,758 tenant households affected by the bedroom tax.
Of these, 32,432 have gone into arrears or further into arrears between 1 April and 30 June.
Government estimates that 63% of those affected are disabled, as defined by the Disability Discrimination Act (para 43)
Papworth Trust surveyed 265 disabled people from across the UK.
Of these, 161 applied for Discretionary Housing Payments for help to pay the bedroom tax. 51 were unsuccessful, 41 were successful and 59 had not yet heard. -
See more at: http://www.housing.org.uk/media/press-releases/new-data-shows-how-many-east-of-england-families-are-really-being-hit-by-th#sthash.P8hBffY1.dpuf
google.com/+JulianBray 01733 345581 Police 101. Emergency 999. Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.