New Isle homes for ‘bedroom tax’ victims

NEWS: News.
NEWS: News.

New affordable homes are planned across the Isle in a bid to help distressed tenants affected by the so-called ‘bedroom tax’, who need to move to smaller properties.

The news from North Lincolnshire Homes comes as a survey by the National Housing Federation reveals half of families hit by the bedroom tax (a tax introduced in April that reduces tenants’ housing benefit by up to 25 per cent if they have a ‘spare’ bedroom) were pushed in to rent arrears within three months of the new policy. A quarter were in arrears for the first time.

Development sites in the Scunthorpe and Isle area are earmarked for 149 new homes by 2015. They include ones at Albion Grove, Epworth, with 10 new homes, and another 13 new-builds at Hallcroft Close, Haxey. A further 20 properties at Crowle are completed.

A spokesman for North Lincolnshire Homes said that 1500 households are currently affected by the bedroom tax.

He said: “Tenants wishing to down-size have been referred to the lettings team who assist them to apply for a transfer via home choice links.”

Head of housing, John Lawrence, said: “We have provided people with advice and support if they wanted to down-size and have also helped them apply for Discretionary Housing Payments where appropriate.

“Our financial inclusion team are working hard to support people and would urge residents concerned about the impact of the bedroom tax to get in touch.”

The majority of the much needed affordable housing properties will be one and two-bedroomed.

Research by the National Housing Federation shows that many families who try to down-size to avoid the bedroom tax will be unable to do so because of a shortage of smaller properties.

Chief Executive of the NHF David Orr said the bedroom tax is pushing families in to spiralling debt and called on the Government to rethink the policy.

He said: “Housing associations are working flat out to help their tenants cope with changes but they can’t magic one-bedroom houses out of thin air. People are trapped.”