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Chaos with the Bedroom Tax
2:26pm Wednesday 13th March 2013 in News
PEOPLE in the Chard, Ilminster and Crewkerne area are being urged to speak out about the envisaged problems which will be caused by the controversial Bedroom Tax.
More than 1,000 families across South Somerset – including many in our area – will have to pay more rent or move when the under-occupancy penalty, more commonly known as the Bedroom Tax, becomes operational on April 1.
A total of 1,061 people across the district will lose just over £600 in housing benefit if they have one spare bedroom in their council or housing association home, while that figure will rise to more than £1,000 if they have two or more unused bedrooms.
Leader of South Somerset District Council, Cllr Ric Pallister, has been critical of the move because, although pensioners are exempt from the new rules, it did not take into account various circumstances such as disability or medical reasons.
He said there were case studies across the district which showed that people needed that ‘spare’ room, but was urging those to come forward and speak out to the media about the problems which the Bedroom Tax will cause.
Cllr Pallister said: “Unless you are a pensioner, there are no exceptions to this and people will find that they are going to have to find extra money from somewhere or they are going to have to move into smaller homes.
“It hasn’t been thought through – there are so many problems with this.
“But we need people to come forward and speak out about this to show to the authorities what the problems are.”
Housing provider Yarlington has been preparing for the change over recent months – encouraging all its tenants who are affected by the changes to get in touch to see what help is available.
Incomes manager Jim Bruckel said: “We have a number of measures in place. We have been running a campaign to help people who may not be able to afford to remain in their current homes to move into smaller properties and also offer budgeting advice to them.
“The Bedroom Tax is one of a number of changes being brought about by welfare reform – the Council Tax reform also takes effect on April 1 – so it is vital anyone who is worried they may be affected gets in touch with us as soon as they can and doesn’t leave it until the changes come into force.”
Cllr Pallister, meanwhile, said he was worried many tenants were ignoring the letters of advice and were ‘pushing them under the settee.’ WHAT are your views on the Bedroom Tax? Write to us via email at email@example.com .