Figures obtained by Underhill Labour councillor & Chipping Barnet Parliamentary Candidate, Amy Trevethan, show that 58% of Barnet residents affected by the unpopular Bedroom Tax are struggling to pay it, with rent arrears totalling £160,969.
There are currently 583 residents affected by the Bedroom Tax or 'under-occupation charge', with 339 owing an average £400+ rent each.
The Bedroom Tax was introduced by the Tory-led Government to force those living in social housing with spare rooms to downsize, but the figures also reveal that only 63 residents or 11% of those affected in Barnet have moved into smaller properties.
Nationally Labour has pledged to scrap the Bedroom Tax as an unworkable and punitive policy imposed on those who can least afford it when there are not enough smaller properties for people to move into.
Despite the complete failure of the policy in Barnet, all three local MPs - Theresa Villiers, Matthew Offord and Mike Freer - recently voted against a successful Labour-backed motion in Parliament to mitigate the worst effects of the Bedroom Tax.
The revelations come a day after Tory Chancellor George Osborne announced a new round of cuts to working families’ benefits, hitting over 5 million working people.
Underhill councillor and Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Chipping Barnet, Amy Trevethan said: "The Tory-led Government’s Bedroom Tax has had a terrible impact on hundreds of families in Barnet. The policy is unfair and completely unworkable as there are simply not enough smaller properties for people to downsize into despite Tory claims.
"Labour would abolish the Bedroom Tax and create a sustainable welfare system which protects the most vulnerable."
1. Updated figures for Bedroom Tax in Barnet:
- The most up to date numbers and percentage of residents affected by the bedroom tax in LBB, including a breakdown by number of excess bedrooms.
Under Occupiers 583
Under occupying by 1 bedroom:
· Number of cases 490
· How many in arrears 292
· Value of arrears £137,859
· Average Arrears £472
Under occupying by 2 bedroom or more:
· Number of cases 80
· How many in arrears 47
· Value of arrears £23,110
· Average Arrears £491
- The most up to date numbers and percentage of residents who have managed to move successfully to smaller accommodation
63 since April 2013 (11%)
- The most up to date numbers and percentages of residents who have agreed to pay / have paid the shortfall
Number of cases 326/583 (150 are paying the shortfall)
- The most up to date numbers and percentage of residents affected who've moved from the social rented sector to the private rented sector
We do not measure this although we believe the answer is zero given that it is unlikely that anyone would give up a tenancy in social housing for a tenancy in the more expensive private sector.
- The most up to date numbers and percentage of residents affected who have not managed to move to smaller accommodation and are in rent arrears
Number of cases 88/583
· How many in arrears 70
· Value of arrears £33,344
· Average arrears £476
· The total rent arrears of residents affected by the bedroom tax
Under Occupiers in arrears 339/583 (58.1%)
Value of the arrears £160,969
- The most up to date numbers and percentage of residents who are in receipt of Discretionary Housing Payment to help with the bedroom tax
Number of DHP applications 177