Plymouth housing association bosses fear impact of 'bedroom tax'
In a letter to The Herald, housing association chiefs, including Clive Turner, of Plymouth Community Homes, right, attack the so-called bedroom tax, which comes into force on April 1.
FROM April 1, the bedroom tax – a cut to the financial support people on low incomes get towards their rent – comes into effect.
About 2,000 across Plymouth alone will be told to move into a smaller property or lose an average of £500 a year because they have a "spare" room.
Shockingly, about 1,300 of those affected are people with disabilities.
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For these working-age families, finding at least another £40 a month will be incredibly difficult, if not impossible.
Many will have to choose between heating and eating.
Even those who want to downsize, can't. There just simply aren't enough smaller properties.
These are not families living a life of luxury. They are normal households with children who have their own rooms, separated parents who need another room to care for vulnerable children.
Disabled people will have spent years adapting another room to make it easier for them to get around and to look after their health.
Over the past year we have been working hard to prepare our residents who will be hit by the tax.
We are going door-to-door giving advice and support, where we can, helping them to move through mutual home exchanges.
But for some that won't be enough, or a move will be impossible.
We represent five of the largest housing associations working in Plymouth. We urge the Government to look again at the impact on children and parents and protect anyone receiving disability living allowance from this tax.
Otherwise it will hit our communities hard – and we, along with our partners in Plymouth, will have to pick up the pieces.
Clive Turner, Plymouth Community Homes Paul Crawford, Devon and Cornwall Housing Ann Santry, Sovereign Housing Bjorn Howard, Aster Housing