The ‘bedroom tax’ will fail to solve overcrowding and could even boost the benefit bill, not cut it, says a report out today from the National Housing Federation.
It examines claims by the Government that the under-occupation penalty, the so-called ‘bedroom tax’, will tackle overcrowding, encourage more efficient use of social housing and save the taxpayer £465m a year. Based on the Government’s own data, The Bedroom Tax: Some Home Truths, raises serious doubts that the measure will meet those aims.
It says that by adopting a national “one size fits all” approach to tackle overcrowding, the policy is also targeting those parts of the country least affected by the problem and could potentially cost the taxpayer money if those people told to downsize actually did.
The report found that:
David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, says:
“The bedroom tax is an ill-conceived policy which will hurt the most vulnerable people in our society. It will cause financial hardship for hundreds of thousands of families and cause huge upheaval around the country.
“The Government’s assumed savings are questionable and this policy could ultimately cost the taxpayer more in the long term. It takes no account of the fact that there are not enough smaller homes in the social sector available for people who are under-occupying to move into. For them, the only options will be to take the financial hit or to move into a smaller home in the private sector, which could lead to higher housing benefit claims. The real solution to the housing crisis is to build more homes and bring down the cost of housing to reduce the benefits bill.
“The Government must repeal this ill-conceived policy, but at the very least right now it must exempt disabled and other vulnerable people from these cuts.”