North-East councils hand out more than £3m to help households hit by so-called bedroom tax

The Northern Echo: North-East councils hand out more than £3m to help households hit by so-called bedroom tax North-East councils hand out more than £3m to help households hit by so-called bedroom tax

COUNCILS in the region have handed out more than £3m to households hit by housing benefit changes, but critics say the residents face a "postcode lottery" to get help.

North-East local authorities received £5.1m from the discretionary housing payment fund to help residents struggling to pay their rent following the changes, which included the introduction of the so-called bedroom tax.

Figures obtained by The Northern Echo reveal that the majority of councils in the region are on track to distribute all the money to needy families by the end of March.

Durham County Council said it had spent £611,353 of the £883,089 it had been allocated, with 1,414 households being awarded payments so far.

Darlington Borough Council received £225,000 with all the money expected to be handed out, while Stockton Council has so far distributed £212,246 of the £395,220 it was given.

Hartlepool Borough Council is one of several authorities which handed out extra money beyond the £317,000 it received from the Government. In total, it has £405,000 to allocate.

Redcar and Cleveland has recently been handed an extra £85,000 on top of the £344,000 it originally received.

Despite criticism from Lib Dem councillors at the authority that not all the money would be used, George Dunning, leader of the council, said: “We’re confident that all of the £344,000 will be spent supporting those families that need financial help and meet the criteria.”

In North Yorkshire, Hambleton Borough Council received £85,775.00 and has already allocated £73,019.

The Government said it had tripled the discretionary housing payment fund to £180m to help people adapt to far reaching welfare reforms, such as the removal of the spare room subsidy.

A spokesman added: “The removal of the spare room subsidy ensures housing benefit pays for the size of property a household needs.”

But Monica Burns, from the National Housing Federation, said households in the North-East were facing a “postcode lottery” to get help.

"'Even those lucky enough to get support will have to reapply time and time again, each time facing the stress and worry that the funds will be withdrawn, while councils are being inundated with applications.

“This support fund is ineffective and deeply unfair - just like the bedroom tax itself. The only real solution is to repeal it.”

Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham added: “The payments are a drop in the ocean and the councils are really up against it to bring some relief to the families who are suffering.”

Comments (4)

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11:34pm Sun 26 Jan 14

Voice-of-reality says...

People should not need to reapply for this fund. Once they have received it once - that payment should give them sufficient time to find somewhere else to live. The payment should not be given out twice as those who rely on the state should stop expecting others to pay for property beyond their needs (and beyond that which the hard working majority) can afford to continue to subsidise. . If you can't afford to keep a roof over your head - do what those who own/rent in private sector have to do - cut down on excess expenditure and stop breeding.
People should not need to reapply for this fund. Once they have received it once - that payment should give them sufficient time to find somewhere else to live. The payment should not be given out twice as those who rely on the state should stop expecting others to pay for property beyond their needs (and beyond that which the hard working majority) can afford to continue to subsidise. . If you can't afford to keep a roof over your head - do what those who own/rent in private sector have to do - cut down on excess expenditure and stop breeding. Voice-of-reality
  • Score: -3

11:20am Mon 27 Jan 14

sineater says...

You have been told many times, that there are nowhere near enough places for people to move to. Have you problems with your memory,are do you have problems understanding what people tell you? The problem with the so called "bedroom tax," is nothing to do with how many children people have,it's the government ,using a crude ill thought out solution,to a problem they helped create years ago when they encouraged people to buy their rented homes and did not build new ones. in the private sector,landlords charge obscenely high rents for slum properties,,then pass the cost on to the benefits agency,which a lot more costly,than people living in properties with spare bedrooms.
You have been told many times, that there are nowhere near enough places for people to move to. Have you problems with your memory,are do you have problems understanding what people tell you? The problem with the so called "bedroom tax," is nothing to do with how many children people have,it's the government ,using a crude ill thought out solution,to a problem they helped create years ago when they encouraged people to buy their rented homes and did not build new ones. in the private sector,landlords charge obscenely high rents for slum properties,,then pass the cost on to the benefits agency,which a lot more costly,than people living in properties with spare bedrooms. sineater
  • Score: -1

12:33pm Mon 27 Jan 14

loan_star says...

sineater wrote:
You have been told many times, that there are nowhere near enough places for people to move to. Have you problems with your memory,are do you have problems understanding what people tell you? The problem with the so called "bedroom tax," is nothing to do with how many children people have,it's the government ,using a crude ill thought out solution,to a problem they helped create years ago when they encouraged people to buy their rented homes and did not build new ones. in the private sector,landlords charge obscenely high rents for slum properties,,then pass the cost on to the benefits agency,which a lot more costly,than people living in properties with spare bedrooms.
If anyone has problems with their memory its you loopy when you conveniently forget the absolute mess your favourite party helped create.
[quote][p][bold]sineater[/bold] wrote: You have been told many times, that there are nowhere near enough places for people to move to. Have you problems with your memory,are do you have problems understanding what people tell you? The problem with the so called "bedroom tax," is nothing to do with how many children people have,it's the government ,using a crude ill thought out solution,to a problem they helped create years ago when they encouraged people to buy their rented homes and did not build new ones. in the private sector,landlords charge obscenely high rents for slum properties,,then pass the cost on to the benefits agency,which a lot more costly,than people living in properties with spare bedrooms.[/p][/quote]If anyone has problems with their memory its you loopy when you conveniently forget the absolute mess your favourite party helped create. loan_star
  • Score: 0

1:20pm Mon 27 Jan 14

punkrocker says...

the bed room tax is a mean attack on the poor but fortunately is unravelling. university sudent families can now appeal due to a ruling ch/2197/2009.
all who have lived in same home prior1996 are now exempt due to a bungle in drafting the bill. a lady whose sons are in the forces recently won an appeal and cases are awaiting high court in respect of disabled folk.
the tories and their supporters say no one with a spare bedroom should recieve tax payers monies to fund that home yet they are subsidising homes of upto £600k with the mortgage support scheme.(a bribe)
as usual tories only support the rich and that is why they will not cap rents which cost the tax payer £24 billion a year to private landlords but attack council and housing association tennants which are the lowest rents in country.
still the same old nasty party the tories
the bed room tax is a mean attack on the poor but fortunately is unravelling. university sudent families can now appeal due to a ruling ch/2197/2009. all who have lived in same home prior1996 are now exempt due to a bungle in drafting the bill. a lady whose sons are in the forces recently won an appeal and cases are awaiting high court in respect of disabled folk. the tories and their supporters say no one with a spare bedroom should recieve tax payers monies to fund that home yet they are subsidising homes of upto £600k with the mortgage support scheme.(a bribe) as usual tories only support the rich and that is why they will not cap rents which cost the tax payer £24 billion a year to private landlords but attack council and housing association tennants which are the lowest rents in country. still the same old nasty party the tories punkrocker
  • Score: 0

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