Three months since the Government’s ‘bedroom tax’ was introduced on 1 April, shocking new figures show it is costing the council and tenants in Dudley more than it is saving.
When the policy was introduced on 1 April 3,333 Dudley homes were identified as subject to the bedroom tax, which will force tenants to move to smaller homes or lose housing benefit.
But in the three months since then just 81 tenants have transferred to smaller accommodation and rent arrears have increased by 50 per cent.
The council has also been forced to take expensive court proceedings against 39 households for running up rent arrears.
Austin says the figures show that the bedroom tax could be costing more than it saves.
Costs could increase as these figures exclude emergency support for people made homeless by the policy and support paid to people leaving council housing for expensive private rentals.
Dudley Council is one of the first local authorities to publish figures, and will make full details available on 12 August.
Ian Austin MP said:
“Earlier this year I warned that the bedroom tax could cost more money than it saves.
“Now we’re seeing that in the first three months of the policy rent arrears in Dudley have leaped by 50 per cent, 39 families have gone to court, and just 81 tenants have actually moved to smaller properties.
“Making larger homes available for overcrowded families is a good thing, but there just aren’t enough smaller homes for the 3,333 families affected.
“I’m worried that costs will only increase from here on out as more families fall into arrears, become homeless, or move to costly privately rented homes.
“That means the policy will end up costing tax payers more than it is saving”