RESEARCH suggests the North-East and Yorkshire are the areas most significantly affected by the so-called bedroom tax.

A survey for the National Housing Federation found that two thirds of housing association tenants are in rent arrears following the cut in housing benefits for properties considered to have a spare bedroom.

In the North East, housing associations have an average of 645 tenants each affected by the bedroom tax, the highest number in England.

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Housing associations in Yorkshire and the Humber have an average of 517 tenants affected, the second highest in England.

Almost 39,000 North-East households saw a cut in their housing benefit in August last year, while two-thirds of people affected by the bedroom tax are disabled.

Monica Burns, North-East external affairs manager for the National Housing Federation, said: “You can argue over what to call the policy, but there is no disputing the impact that the bedroom tax is having in the North-East and right across the country.

“It is heaping misery and hardship on already struggling families, pushing them into arrears.

“Now many are at risk of being evicted because they simply can’t find the extra money to pay their rent.

“These people have done nothing wrong. The Government has suddenly changed the rules and given them a false choice: move to a smaller home or pay. Yet we know there aren’t enough smaller homes for these families to move into.

“Housing associations are doing all they can to avoid evicting residents, but as not-for-profit organisations they can’t simply write-off unpaid rent.

“The bedroom tax is unfair, unworkable and bad policy.

“It’s putting severe pressure on thousands of the nation’s poorest people and must be repealed.”