Bedroom Tax : Councillors comment on latest figures

27 May 2013

Labour councillors Brian Gordon , Lesley Brennan and Kevin Keenan have commented on new figures showing that 1 in 3 housing benefit recipients in Dundee who are of working age (16-64) and renting from either the Council or local housing association, face a reduction in their benefit because of the introduction of the bedroom tax.

A search of the Department of Work and pensions database has revealed that in February of this year there were 19,494 housing benefit claimants in the city.

Further examination disclosed that there are 10,067 households of working age receiving housing benefit. 

These are broken down by age group as follows :

Age group number of households
Under 25 833
25-34 2,065
35-44 2,220
45-49 1,372
50-54 1,283
55-59 1,126
60-64 1,168

 

The paper presented to councillors in February by the Council’s Finance & Corporate Services Manager estimated that 3,333 households would face a reduction in housing benefit due to the bedroom tax.

This means that the number of working-aged households in the city, who rent from the Council or a housing association and receive housing benefit and face a reduction in housing benefit is the equivalent of 1 in every three such households .

Councillor Brian Gordon, Labour spokesperson on Housing , said,

“ I am staggered at the extent of this crisis that the Bedroom tax is responsible for.

 “ Constituents  at the end their tether have been in touch with me, desperate to find a solution to this domestic financial crisis.

 “Earlier this week, one of my constituents informed me that she is now expected to pay £62 per month to cover the bedroom tax from the £282 monthly employment support allowance that she receives.

 “The UK Coalition Government has set its face against reversing these  changes.

 “That is why I am calling on Housing Convener John Alexander to seek  emergency funding from the Scottish Government to protect our tenants and at the same time demonstrate that the devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament was designed for events such as this. “

 Councillor Lesley Brennan,  who extracted the new data in the Department of Work and Pensions, said ,

 “ Just over 1 household in 4 in the city rely upon the Department of Work and Pensions to keep a roof over their heads.

 “For Scotland, the equivalent figure is one household in 5.

 “Dundee has the third-highest percentage of households claiming housing benefit in Scotland. “

 Kevin Keenan, Labour group leader on Dundee City Council, said :

 “ The committee paper presented to councillors makes disturbing reading when we consider the number of benefit claimants in the city for a variety of reasons which includes changes in welfare benefit provision.

“ The paper emphasises the dearth of positive employment opportunities in the city, and the increase in the number of  housing benefit claimants that has been brought to light is a cause for concern.”

 

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