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Brentwood residents suffering with bedroom tax arrears
8:00am Wednesday 25th September 2013 in News
MORE council home tenants in Brentwood have rent arrears due to bedroom tax than anywhere else in the East of England.
A survey compiled by campaign group False Economy says 47 per cent of residents living in the town affected by the charge have struggled to pay rent.
Although technically not a tax, the charge was introduced in April in welfare reforms meaning council tenants deemed to have too much living space received reduced housing benefits.
The change sparked much controversy when introduced with members of the False Economy campaign saying this shows how badly it is affecting tenants.
Clifford Singer, the campaign manager, said: “These figures show once again the predictable chaos that has resulted from the hated bedroom tax.
“Together with the raft of other benefits cuts the Government has forced through both this year and previously, the bedroom tax is driving tenants and families who were just making ends meet into arrears and pushing those who were already struggling with the cost of living into a full-blown crisis.”
Mike Le-Surf, Labour group leader at Brentwood Council, said this survey shows those in charge at the authority have not helped their tenants struggling financially.
Mr Le-Surf said: “The Brentwood Conservative administration have not listened to local families inspite of the fact that this is no way to address the lack of council properties.
“The Tories have acted in an arrogant and dismissive manner which has once again put Brentwood top of the list for all the wrong reasons.”
Council deputy leader Roger Hirst said welfare reform had been needed and the bedroom tax policy is an essential part of these changes.
Mr Hirst said: “Living on benefits is not something people choose to do, but it is equally tough to choose to get off them.
“I think it is a healthy policy. At the same time we have to make sure that we protect the vulnerable.”