Stoke-on-Trent City Council struggling to meet downsize demand as bedroom tax looms
BENEFIT cuts will see 2,300 city households taxed for having empty bedrooms – and fewer than 200 small council houses are available for those who need to downsize.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council is now urging tenants to swap their homes with residents elsewhere in the city as it does not have enough properties to rehome households hit by the Government's 'bedroom tax'.
Figures show 2,300 working age tenants are 'under occupying' their council properties – including more than 330 who have two empty bedrooms.
But just 91 of the city council's 4,331 one-bedroomed properties are vacant.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
The council has just 108 spare two-bedroomed properties with 7,446 already occupied.
Tenants will lose an average of £14 a week as housing benefit is cut by 14 per cent for those with one empty bedroom and 25 per cent for those with two from April.
The council's tenants will lose an estimated £1.6 million in benefits, while thousands more social housing tenants and housing benefit claimants are affected in Newcastle, Stafford and the Moorlands.
Councillors have committed to a 'home swapper' scheme which helps tenants who need to downsize find others who want a bigger property.
City councillor Janine Bridges, cabinet member for housing, neighbourhoods and community safety, said: "We will be working very closely with our tenants to make sure any relocation goes as smoothly as possible."
The Government's criteria allows one bedroom for each adult or couple in a house.
Children under the age of 16 of the same sex will be expected to share, and all children under 10 will have to share.
The Government insists its welfare reforms are essential for reducing the cost of the benefits system.
A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: "It's unfair to allow tenants in the social rented sector to enjoy more spacious accommodation than they could justify if they were on housing benefit in the private sector. "Householders will be faced with a choice. Continue to live in accommodation assessed as larger than their needs and make up any shortfall from their other income – or move to accommodation which better reflects the size and composition of their household."