Larger families in rent arrears as benefits cuts bite

editorial image

Larger families in Luton have been hit by the bedroom tax and are now in rent arrears according to a housing association.

Aldwyck Housing Group told the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee that the borough had twice the national average of households with five or more people.

Andrew Cobb, the group’s executive director of housing and customer service invited the committee to share first hand the impact of welfare reforms on the borough.

He told members one size does not fit all. Luton is densely populated and there are limited opportunities to develop within the catchment area.

With the demand for social housing outstripping availability in the area, there is a greater reliance on private landlords, which cost more than paying social housing providers such as Aldwyck.

Universal Credit has not yet been implemented in the area, but both Aldwyck and Luton Borough Council expressed fears about the potential financial impact on tenants and social housing providers.

Dame Anne Begg MP, Select Committee chairman said: “What we learned from the visit will really help us to shape our inquiry into support for housing costs in the reformed welfare system.”

The Select Committee’s report is due in March 2014.