Bedroom tax pushes households into debt and fear of eviction

Bedroom tax pushes households into debt and fear of eviction

A third have cut back on food and a quarter have cut back on heating.

28 May 2014
http://www.housing.org.uk/media/press-releases/bedroom-tax-pushes-households-into-debt-and-fear-of-eviction

People hit by the bedroom tax are are cutting back on essentials such as food and heating, according to new research from the National Housing Federation.

An Ipsos MORI survey carried out for the Federation found that nearly a third (32%) of people affected by the bedroom tax say they have cut back on food and more than a quarter (26%) have cut back on heating as a result of the tax.

Nearly half (46%) of those affected have needed to borrow money to help pay their rent since the introduction of the bedroom tax in April 2013¹.

The research also found that:

More than three quarters (76%) of those affected are concerned about falling behind on rent.
Nearly nine in ten (89%) of those affected are concerned about meeting their living costs.
Seven in ten (70%) of those affected are concerned about eviction².
National Housing Federation chief executive David Orr said:

“People stung by the bedroom tax are being forced to make difficult choices on which bills to pay and which essentials to go without. They are living in fear that they will lose their homes and have resorted to borrowing from friends and family to try and get by.

“Housing associations have spent millions of pounds working more closely with their tenants, introducing projects to tackle fuel poverty and working with food banks to help alleviate food poverty. But these services have costs, which leaves less money for building new homes.

“The results of our latest survey are depressing. As we feared and warned, the bedroom tax is having a disastrous impact. The only solution is to abolish this policy which fails on every level.”

Notes to editors:

Download Ipsos MORI, One year on: The impact of welfare reforms on housing association tenants, May 2014. (PDF, opens new window)

A total of 1002 interviews were conducted with housing association tenants between Friday 21 February and Friday 7 March 2014. All were General Needs tenants, of working age (16-65), currently receiving either full or partial Housing Benefit. Overall, 750 tenants who had been affected by the size criteria were interviewed and a control group of 252 tenants who had not been affected by the size criteria were also interviewed. (Nine respondents did not know whether they were affected or not and are not included in the analysis of the non-affected group). Data are weighted.

Affected tenants are nearly four times as likely to say that they have needed to borrow money to help pay the rent since 1st April 2013 (46%) as before 1st April 2013 (12%). Non-affected tenants are not significantly more likely to say that they have needed to borrow money to help pay their rent since 1st April 2013.
Tenants affected by the bedroom tax are considerably more likely to report these concerns. The equivalent figures for the non-affected group are; falling behind with rent (46%), having enough income to cover all living costs and bills (74%) and being evicted from their home (53%).

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