Doncaster Council agrees to £1 million bedroom tax hardship fund

Mayor of Doncaster Peter Davies
Mayor of Doncaster Peter Davies

One million pounds is to made available in Doncaster to help residents hit with financial hardship by the controversial bedroom tax.

Doncaster Council’s ruling cabinet has agreed to the cash pot to help residents suffering under the Government’s welfare reforms.

But Mayor Peter Davies has blasted the introduction of the tax - where residents can be forced to pay extra for under-occupied properties - as ‘a pig’s ear’.

He said: “The bedroom tax is an abominable and disgraceful thing. But we shall be watching the situation carefully and help will be available if needs be to those that need it.”

The authority’s Welfare Reform Support Fund will provide short term assistance to Doncaster Council tenants struggling with financial issues as result of the welfare changes.

According to the report discussed by the Cabinet, Doncaster has 3,500 tenants under-occupying their current homes who, between them, will have to pay more than £2.1m in rent over the next financial year.

The money will be used to help residents who would like to move but who cannot afford it, and tenants who would like to stay in their homes but who need to adjust to a lower income.

The report said: “The proposal is to help where tenants will work with us on a sustainable solution. If tenants do not engage with us, we will use the existing rent arrears policy to deal with the debt.”

Under the new act, residents will lose benefits if properties have empty rooms.