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Call for ban on evictions for people hit by bedroom tax in Gloucestershire

By The Citizen  |  Posted: November 23, 2013

ANGRY:   Chris Moore,  from Stroud Against the Cuts, hands the petition to a Stroud District Council member.

ANGRY: Chris Moore, from Stroud Against the Cuts, hands the petition to a Stroud District Council member.

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PROTESTERS are calling on politicians to ban evictions of council tenants as the effect of the so-called "bedroom tax" kicks in.

Stroud Against the Cuts and Unite Community handed in a petition to Stroud District Council, demanding a no-evictions policy and for the council to write off rent arrears due to reductions in housing benefit entitlement.

"While SDC plans to build a total of 150 social housing units by March 2018, this will not cover the shortfall," said Chris Moore, of Stroud Against the Cuts.

"Many people will be forced into unsuitable and/or enormously expensive temporary or private rented accommodation, and as a result the total cost of housing benefit will actually rise."

Some 1,200 signatures were collected which means the group can speak at the council's next meeting.

The reductions to housing benefit entitlement, introduced in April, mean that social housing tenants in receipt of housing benefit payments, excluding those in receipt of a state pension, face reductions of 14 per cent if deemed to have one spare bedroom and 25 per cent if deemed to have two.

In Stroud, 19 tenants have already been forced to move as a result of the bedroom tax.

In Gloucester, Gloucester City Homes said 426 people are currently affected by the new rules, 238 are in arrears as a result, and 15 have moved.

Two Rivers Housing, which provides social housing in the Forest of Dean and Tewkesbury, said 15 households have moved as a result, and 308 homes are regarded as under-occupied.

In Cheltenham, no tenants have been forced to move but currently 424 tenants are affected.

Sue Powell, from Unite Community said: "From talking to the public, it is clear many people are angry at the stress and anxiety being caused to some of the poorest and most vulnerable in our society due to increasing rent arrears and the threat of eviction. Two-thirds of those affected are disabled."

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8 comments

  • nickthompson  |  November 22 2013, 9:39AM

    Anne Main MP is one of Tories' most vocal backers of the bedroom tax, but one person who certainly wasn't "paying for the accomodation they were using" was Mains 27 year daughter, who lived rent free for up to three years in a second home funded by MPs' expenses. So that's £40,000 in mortgage interest payments on the taxpayer (plus conveyancing fees, furnishings, council tax and refurbishments). This is a woman who wants to charge 400,000 disabled people up to £832 per year to remain in their own homes.

    |   4
  • SELINA30  |  November 19 2013, 5:38PM

    A Labour government will abolish the Bedroom Tax.

  • CitizenV  |  November 18 2013, 9:34AM

    Not everyone that is in social housing are on benefits. Neither can the vast majority of them be described as scroungers. They are making legal use of the system. What is interesting to note is that, since the introduction of the so-called Spare Bedroom Subsidy, some households in the UK who actually pay the rent themselves, i.e. not through any form of benefit, have, inexplicably, now found themselves being asked by their social landlords to stump up an extra £14-18 per week.

    |   2
  • lewipaul  |  November 16 2013, 6:40PM

    Of course the benefit scroungers are going to complain, the whole idea is to make living on benefits less attractive than working for a living.

    |   5
  • Richardburton  |  November 11 2013, 9:00PM

    As usual it's always the poorer members of society this Government picks on. Gloucester city homes will tell you, There are not enough smaller homes to move to,plus most Tenants are on a low income so don't have the money to pay for moving etc.Most can't move into the private sector as they require a certain amount up front,the rent will also be dearer so how this helps people i don't know! Why has the older people not been made to move or get into debt... Because the older persons vote Tory...! Even Lord frued has said last week that there are not enough smaller houses to house everyone who has to move .. and he helped to do this bedroom tax! Lets hope this tax comes to a end soon and someone with a thinking brain can see better ways to achive homes for all who needs them. If we need to fight evictions etc then count me in.

    |   13
  • honslknjklyt  |  November 11 2013, 1:24PM

    I will add there are a few things that are unfair about the social housing, this only affects benefit recipients, these people are often on a limited income anyway. Meanwhile there can be people in social housing, with two adults working and are very well off and prefer (naturally) social housing to the responsibility of a mortgage or private rent. These rents are still hundreds of pounds a month cheaper than private and they can afford it. Meanwhile others struggling to pay private rent but have no choice to will never qualify for social housing. Maybe make those that can afford to pay a lot more, pay the equivalent of what such a house would cost privately? pensioners are completely unaffected, regardless of income.three bed houses for one single person, while families are being affected. There is a big difference too between those who will not pay on principle (just get them out) and those who genuinely cannot afford it. I agree with the "bedroom tax" but think it has been rushed through with little thought, typical of this coalition. A new broom does not know all the corners, nor does it care.

    |   8
  • honslknjklyt  |  November 11 2013, 11:49AM

    I would be more than happy to move into Social Housing and pay the bedroom tax? Anyone want to exchange? Thought not! Social housing tenants don't know how blooming well lucky they are. Security, house they can call home, massively subsidised cheaper rents, better standard of housing, no fear of eviction with 1 months notice if landlords decide to sell, rent increases as the landlord feels like it, fear to report repairs as that would possibly cause rent increase, no modernisations such as new radiators, new kitchens etc, some still having aluminium windows, mould, poor heating, and so on. Housing association/trust/council tenants just do not know how lucky they are. No sympathy at all from me. There are 9 million in this country trapped in private accommodation.

    |   4
  • voidprojects  |  November 11 2013, 10:30AM

    The Observer reported on 3 bedroom flats being demolished becuase they are unoccupied. This is an absurd situation - has anyone investigated demolishing the 'excess' bedrooms of some of these houses? It might be a better bet for tenants than moving, and could be put back at a later date. Ridiculous, yes, but I didn't make the policy - and it might just help expose how absurd it is.

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