Bedroom tax to hit 1,500 North Lincs households: People on benefits being punished, says disabled Scunthorpe man
AROUND 1,500 households in North Lincolnshire are facing a reduction in their housing benefit when the Government makes its "bedroom tax" changes.
From April, people in social housing with one spare bedroom in their home will face 14 per cent reductions in their weekly housing benefit – or £676 a year.
And this will rise to 25 per cent for two or more spare bedrooms – around £1,300.
Housing bosses at North Lincolnshire Homes, the region's social housing landlord, say some people could be forced to take in lodgers as a result.
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And residents are already beginning to prepare for the changes, with many looking at downsizing their properties in order to avoid the extra cost.
Stuart Wilson, 60, is disabled and lives alone in a North Lincolnshire Homes property on Tamar Walk, Scunthorpe.
He said: "I have one spare bedroom and I desperately don't want to move house.
"I have been in my bungalow for 12 years and had a special shower room put in with disabled access. In order to afford this bedroom tax, I am going to have to cut back in other areas.
"It feels like people on housing benefits are being punished. I can't move because of the alterations to my home, so I have to pay more.
"Don't get me wrong, I understand that some people abuse the system, but there are so many that don't.
"I don't think it is fair. It is a terrible thing."
From April tenants with one extra room are likely to lose an average of £13 a week.
John Lawrence, head of housing management at North Lincolnshire Homes, said: "Our financial inclusion team is there to help people both prepare and deal with the welfare changes.
"We want tenants to be clear that these are Government-enforced changes and our job is to help and support them to sustain their tenancies.
"There may be cases where it is clear, because of cuts to housing benefit due to under occupancy, a tenant will not be able to pay their rent – and taking in a lodger may be an option for some.
"I do want to reiterate though that it is not our job to tell people what to do, it is about us discussing options with them so they can make informed decisions about their lives."
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