Cherwell District Councillor Sean Woodcock whose seat covers part of Banbury has just released statistics revealing that 721 households in Cherwell are losing an average of £950 a year as a result of the bedroom tax.
Sean Woodcock says, “The Bedroom Tax is one of the most vile pieces of legislation produced by this out-of-touch government. Ministers repeatedly ignore the fact that these are not just houses; they are people’s homes.”
Banbury families are the hardest hit – Ruscote, Banbury (163 homes), Neithrop (70) and Grimsbury (57). The majority will lose 14 per cent of their benefit for having one surplus bedroom, but more than 100 residents believed to have two or more rooms spare will lose 25 per cent.
The figures quoted are from research carried out by the National Housing Federation and Sean says they hide a grim reality. “This law is driving people out of their homes by making them poorer if they don’t move, or more likely can’t, because there are insufficient houses of ‘appropriate’ size for them to move into. Worst of all, this tax is targeting the most vulnerable people in our society. Of 660,000 families across Britain hit by this tax, two thirds of them are disabled. 100,000 live in properties that are specially adapted for their needs. These people are now being pushed to desperation, destitution and even depression by a bad law. It should be scrapped.”
Last year, the homeless charity Shelter experienced a 15% increase in the volume of calls to their helpline – a reflection, staff think, of the degree to which people are struggling with rising house prices, soaring rents, cuts to housing benefit and the long shadow of the recession.