Nia Griffith MP has slammed the bedroom tax as yet another blatant attack on low income families which will do nothing to solve the housing shortage, and could end up costing far more as people are forced to move from cheaper social housing to more expensive private lets or even bed and breakfast.
In Wales nearly , some 40,000 households will be affected by the bedroom tax or the under-occupancy penalty, to give it its full title. That means that from 1st April, 46%, or nearly half of working-age social housing tenants who receive housing benefit will see a cut in the money they receive to cover their rent.
Speaking up in a parliamentary debate Nia Griffith MP said,
“Wales is particularly badly hit because of the nature of the housing stock which is predominantly three-bedroom houses. Here in Carmarthenshire the housing department has identified 1,341 households that will be hit, and the discretionary hardship fund will be totally inadequate. The reason people receive housing benefit in the first place is because their household income is considered too low to cover the rent. We all appreciate the need to free up three-bedroom houses for families but there simply are nowhere near enough one and two bedroomed properties to move everyone to. The absurd irony is that it could cost more to cover people’s rent in smaller private housing than their current social housing. You cannot solve this problem overnight; in recent years housing associations have been building more smaller properties, and Carmarthenshire is building smaller bungalows but we need the UK Government to invest the profits from the 4G sale into a large scale house-building programme, which would help create jobs and stimulate growth. Instead on the very day they are hitting low income households with this cut, they will be giving a tax break to millionaires worth £1,000 a week.”