Bedroom Tax: 66% of council tenants in arrears, but assistance money not fully utilised

Mid-term analysis published by the government shows that Barnet council had only made 79 awards of Discretionary Housing Payment money to those struggling with the Bedroom Tax, despite there being 424 council tenants in arrears and unable to pay the Bedroom Tax by the second half of last year. The 424 council tenants in arrears is 66% of those required to pay it.

The government had allocated just under £2m to Barnet council to help those struggling with the Conservative-led coalition government's welfare reforms, including the Bedroom Tax, but by the end of September last year - nearly half-way through the year - Barnet had only used a quarter (£505k) of it to actually help people. Of that money only £38,819 had been used to help those struggling to pay the Bedroom Tax.  The figures also reveal that Barnet had spent one of the lowest proportions of money allocated to help those with the Bedroom Tax - only Harrow and Westminster had used a lower percentage of their allocation for Bedroom Tax.

 

Tory Peer, Lord Tebbit this week attacked the Conservatives' policy on Bedroom Tax, and warned it will cost the Conservatives votes.

 

Barnet's Labour councillors have pledged to make greater use of Discretionary Housing Payments money to help those unfairly hit by the Bedroom Tax if they win the local elections on May 22. Nationally the Labour Party has pledged to scrap the Bedroom Tax if they win the General Election in 2015.

Leader of the Barnet Labour Group, Cllr Alison Moore said: "It's a scandal not to use money that Barnet has been given to help people who are struggling to pay what is a very unfair tax - particularly when for many a spare room is crucial for helping families take care of elderly or disabled residents."

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