The bedroom tax is coming – are you ready?
Cuts to housing benefit that will affect more than 1,000 households in Luton are now less than a fortnight away.
Dubbed ‘the bedroom tax’, changes to housing benefit for under-occupied council or housing association properties will see a reduction in payments for anyone who has a bedroom they do not use.
Luton Borough Council has been working hard to prepare people for the change, and has written to everyone affected to see if they want to downsize. But the authority says the true impact may not be known for some time.
Many households in Luton currently receive housing benefit that covers their rent payments in full. But the reductions, which will bring social housing in line with the private sector, will see benefit cut by 14 per cent for one unoccupied bedroom, and 25 per cent for two or more, with the tenant having to pay the shortfall.
Financial assessment manager Arran Sharman is in charge of making sure the change happens smoothly.
“In Luton we’ve identified 1,138 households that will be affected, with an average loss of benefit of £15.30 per week,” he said.
“Two thirds of those are council tenants, the remainder are in housing association properties.”
Last week, the government brought in last-minute exemptions for tenants with a foster child, an adult child normally living at home but serving in the armed forces, or a severely disabled child who cannot share a bedroom.
The council is offering extra financial support for people affected, but only if “exceptional circumstances” can be demonstrated.
“You want to move but can’t due to your home being specially adapted, or you may have local networks for a child who needs support,” said Mr Sharman.
Dedicated phone lines have been set up for those who need advice, and support to manage household budgets is also available. For more information go to www.luton.gov.uk/benefit change
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Weather for Luton
Tuesday 21 May 2013
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