One in 50 residents affected by "bedroom tax" moved home, figures show

JUST one in every 50 tenants hit by the so-called 'bedroom tax' in part of the region have moved to a smaller home – imposing steep housing benefit cuts on the rest.

Only 21 of 1,009 households in County Durham - who were deemed to have spare bedrooms – have successfully ‘downsized’, since last year.

The remainder have lost up to 25 per cent of their housing benefit, under the strict new Government rules, unless they have been able to find jobs.

In addition, 417 of those tenants have been plunged into arrears since the bedroom tax was introduced exactly 12 months ago.

Two other authorities that responded to a BBC investigation reported similarly figures for households moving home, in Richmondshire (3.7 per cent) and Harrogate (2.7 per cent).

Darlington (93), Newcastle (1,198) and York (267) reported large numbers of tenants in arrears, but were unable to say how many had moved.

The figures – suggesting six per cent had downsized nationwide - triggered fresh calls for a rethink of the controversial removal of the so-called ‘spare room subsidy’.

Furthermore, work minister Esther McVey admitted, for the first time publicly, that the Government had always expected most tenants to face benefit cuts.

Ms McVey said the official forecast was for only 30 per cent to find smaller properties, over five years. She argued that eight per cent had, so far.

Phil Wilson, Labour MP for Sedgefield, said: “The bedroom tax is in a cruel policy for saving money that should be scrapped now.

“It’s clear the Government always knew that people wouldn’t be able to find smaller properties, because there simply aren’t enough one-bedroom places. It was never going to work.”

The removal of the ‘spare room subsidy’ cuts housing benefit by 14 per cent for one extra bedroom and 25 per cent where there are two.

Ministers had argued that forcing ‘underoccupying’ households to move would free up larger homes for families living in cramped conditions, as well as save £465m.

But Ms McVey denied she was disappointed by the numbers, saying: “No, because it wasn't that you had to move house - that was one of the options.

“We were expecting over four or five years for maybe 30 per cent of people to move, so it shows really that we are on track.”

The measure had also saved taxpayers £1m a day since it was imposed a year ago, the department for work and pensions (DWP) said.

There was also a fresh Liberal Democrat revolt over the bedroom tax when Willie Rennie, the party’s Scottish leader, said it “should go quickly”.

But Nick Clegg refused to budge, while suggesting local councils will receive extra emergency funds to help pay for the arrears caused.

Comments (19)

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6:49pm Fri 28 Mar 14

punkrocker says...

a cruel tax and attack on the poor
a cruel tax and attack on the poor punkrocker
  • Score: -2

6:53pm Fri 28 Mar 14

Jackaranda says...

It isn't a tax!!
It isn't a tax!! Jackaranda
  • Score: 4

7:04pm Fri 28 Mar 14

Voice-of-reality says...

If only 1 in 50 has moved - then vast majority have chosen to stay where they are in full knowledge that they need to make a contribution to their lifestyles and not just rely on the rest of us to pay their bills. If a homeowner gets into mortgage arrears he cuts down his 'luxury' spending and pays the most important bills first. One can but hope that the same sensible 'house keeping' approach to monthly finances will infiltrate the minds of those who choose to live in long term social housing.
If only 1 in 50 has moved - then vast majority have chosen to stay where they are in full knowledge that they need to make a contribution to their lifestyles and not just rely on the rest of us to pay their bills. If a homeowner gets into mortgage arrears he cuts down his 'luxury' spending and pays the most important bills first. One can but hope that the same sensible 'house keeping' approach to monthly finances will infiltrate the minds of those who choose to live in long term social housing. Voice-of-reality
  • Score: 5

8:36pm Fri 28 Mar 14

Jonn says...

Jackaranda wrote:
It isn't a tax!!
Boo hoo, it's not a tax. IDS wrote to the BBC to tell them to stop calling it a tax, why don't you write to the Echo to tell them it's not a tax. You can stamp your feet as much as you like, who cares what it's called, it's still a failed policy.
[quote][p][bold]Jackaranda[/bold] wrote: It isn't a tax!![/p][/quote]Boo hoo, it's not a tax. IDS wrote to the BBC to tell them to stop calling it a tax, why don't you write to the Echo to tell them it's not a tax. You can stamp your feet as much as you like, who cares what it's called, it's still a failed policy. Jonn
  • Score: -2

8:53pm Fri 28 Mar 14

Jonn says...

Voice-of-reality wrote:
If only 1 in 50 has moved - then vast majority have chosen to stay where they are in full knowledge that they need to make a contribution to their lifestyles and not just rely on the rest of us to pay their bills. If a homeowner gets into mortgage arrears he cuts down his 'luxury' spending and pays the most important bills first. One can but hope that the same sensible 'house keeping' approach to monthly finances will infiltrate the minds of those who choose to live in long term social housing.
Maybe, due to a chronic shortage of suitable properties, they have nowhere to go.
Also, if you have a mortgage, you are not really the homeowner, the bank own it until it's paid off. If you get into arrears then it's a bit late to start being prudent and where was the sensible 'house keeping' that those you claim in social housing don't have. All quite contradictory.
Nice use of the word 'lifestyles' too when referring to social housing tennants, makes them sound really affluent while being on a benefit. Get that from the Daily Mail?
[quote][p][bold]Voice-of-reality[/bold] wrote: If only 1 in 50 has moved - then vast majority have chosen to stay where they are in full knowledge that they need to make a contribution to their lifestyles and not just rely on the rest of us to pay their bills. If a homeowner gets into mortgage arrears he cuts down his 'luxury' spending and pays the most important bills first. One can but hope that the same sensible 'house keeping' approach to monthly finances will infiltrate the minds of those who choose to live in long term social housing.[/p][/quote]Maybe, due to a chronic shortage of suitable properties, they have nowhere to go. Also, if you have a mortgage, you are not really the homeowner, the bank own it until it's paid off. If you get into arrears then it's a bit late to start being prudent and where was the sensible 'house keeping' that those you claim in social housing don't have. All quite contradictory. Nice use of the word 'lifestyles' too when referring to social housing tennants, makes them sound really affluent while being on a benefit. Get that from the Daily Mail? Jonn
  • Score: 3

8:59pm Fri 28 Mar 14

laboursfoe says...

Jonn wrote:
Jackaranda wrote:
It isn't a tax!!
Boo hoo, it's not a tax. IDS wrote to the BBC to tell them to stop calling it a tax, why don't you write to the Echo to tell them it's not a tax. You can stamp your feet as much as you like, who cares what it's called, it's still a failed policy.
You're right, it was handled incorrectly. They should just means test and set maximum thresholds.

That will stop the Social Housing sector driving up rents, stop people that could afford to stand on their own two feet draining the system and stop people whinging that they are being taxed.

Jobs a good'un (pardon the pun!!)
[quote][p][bold]Jonn[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Jackaranda[/bold] wrote: It isn't a tax!![/p][/quote]Boo hoo, it's not a tax. IDS wrote to the BBC to tell them to stop calling it a tax, why don't you write to the Echo to tell them it's not a tax. You can stamp your feet as much as you like, who cares what it's called, it's still a failed policy.[/p][/quote]You're right, it was handled incorrectly. They should just means test and set maximum thresholds. That will stop the Social Housing sector driving up rents, stop people that could afford to stand on their own two feet draining the system and stop people whinging that they are being taxed. Jobs a good'un (pardon the pun!!) laboursfoe
  • Score: 2

10:00pm Fri 28 Mar 14

darloboss says...

laboursfoe
such a smug get i hope you come a cropper soon
laboursfoe such a smug get i hope you come a cropper soon darloboss
  • Score: -1

10:11pm Fri 28 Mar 14

laboursfoe says...

darloboss wrote:
laboursfoe
such a smug get i hope you come a cropper soon
Don't worry about me darloboss!

Seriously though, apart from the last sentence everything I said stands. It was done incorrectly and socially funded/susidised housing definitely should be means tested.
[quote][p][bold]darloboss[/bold] wrote: laboursfoe such a smug get i hope you come a cropper soon[/p][/quote]Don't worry about me darloboss! Seriously though, apart from the last sentence everything I said stands. It was done incorrectly and socially funded/susidised housing definitely should be means tested. laboursfoe
  • Score: 2

10:35pm Fri 28 Mar 14

Voice-of-reality says...

Quite correct - that Bob Crowe still lived in a council house when earning well over 100K was disgraceful.
That 49 in 50 are now required to pay something is good news. I hope that the amount that has to be paid for a spare room will rise in line with benefits.
Quite correct - that Bob Crowe still lived in a council house when earning well over 100K was disgraceful. That 49 in 50 are now required to pay something is good news. I hope that the amount that has to be paid for a spare room will rise in line with benefits. Voice-of-reality
  • Score: 2

10:42pm Fri 28 Mar 14

grandmab says...

Some of the people I know affected by this reduction in housing benefit are quite elderly. However they have chosen to take the cut rather than move for a very good reason in their eyes. They moved into these council houses as young brides and raised their families there and looked after their grandchildren/great grandchildren there. Now if they want to move they must go into a one bedroom flat in another (not necessarily desirable) area of town. They will leave behind their friends and neighbors of 60+ years just to satisfy the council mandate. These are old houses and the young people do not want them they want the new ones currently being built. I fully support their reasoning and admire them for accepting the cuts and the sacrifice that means.
Some of the people I know affected by this reduction in housing benefit are quite elderly. However they have chosen to take the cut rather than move for a very good reason in their eyes. They moved into these council houses as young brides and raised their families there and looked after their grandchildren/great grandchildren there. Now if they want to move they must go into a one bedroom flat in another (not necessarily desirable) area of town. They will leave behind their friends and neighbors of 60+ years just to satisfy the council mandate. These are old houses and the young people do not want them they want the new ones currently being built. I fully support their reasoning and admire them for accepting the cuts and the sacrifice that means. grandmab
  • Score: 4

10:57pm Fri 28 Mar 14

stevegg says...

Some people will never get the fact that Taxpayers are sick of subsidising those on benefits which the government is trying to address.Why should those on benefits be any different to hard working taxpayers who pay mortgages & have to make sacrifices to keep a roof over their heads or move if they cant afford it. For decades hardworking taxpayers have watched as millions of life long benefit recipients have lived in bettter houses paid for by those same taxpayers than they could afford to buy themselves, how is that right. If those on benefits want to stay in big houses with spare bedrooms - let them, but dont expect taxpayers to subsidise 100% your choice anymore. The spiralling benefits bill is part of the reason that the ecomomy is broke as there are more people taking money out of the system than those paying in.
Some people will never get the fact that Taxpayers are sick of subsidising those on benefits which the government is trying to address.Why should those on benefits be any different to hard working taxpayers who pay mortgages & have to make sacrifices to keep a roof over their heads or move if they cant afford it. For decades hardworking taxpayers have watched as millions of life long benefit recipients have lived in bettter houses paid for by those same taxpayers than they could afford to buy themselves, how is that right. If those on benefits want to stay in big houses with spare bedrooms - let them, but dont expect taxpayers to subsidise 100% your choice anymore. The spiralling benefits bill is part of the reason that the ecomomy is broke as there are more people taking money out of the system than those paying in. stevegg
  • Score: 5

11:00pm Fri 28 Mar 14

Voice-of-reality says...

In response to the above post that seeks to cast 'satying in the same council house' for life as a positivie. That people have had a house provided for them for over 60 years and that the same people have never throughout their adult life fully stood on their own feet is a sign of everything wrong with society. Council and social housing should be for those in short term need - not a 'home for life' - it is these selfish people who have chosen to sponge for their whole lives who have caused the shortage in available housing for those now in temporary need.
In response to the above post that seeks to cast 'satying in the same council house' for life as a positivie. That people have had a house provided for them for over 60 years and that the same people have never throughout their adult life fully stood on their own feet is a sign of everything wrong with society. Council and social housing should be for those in short term need - not a 'home for life' - it is these selfish people who have chosen to sponge for their whole lives who have caused the shortage in available housing for those now in temporary need. Voice-of-reality
  • Score: 3

5:16am Sat 29 Mar 14

laboursfoe says...

stevegg wrote:
Some people will never get the fact that Taxpayers are sick of subsidising those on benefits which the government is trying to address.Why should those on benefits be any different to hard working taxpayers who pay mortgages & have to make sacrifices to keep a roof over their heads or move if they cant afford it. For decades hardworking taxpayers have watched as millions of life long benefit recipients have lived in bettter houses paid for by those same taxpayers than they could afford to buy themselves, how is that right. If those on benefits want to stay in big houses with spare bedrooms - let them, but dont expect taxpayers to subsidise 100% your choice anymore. The spiralling benefits bill is part of the reason that the ecomomy is broke as there are more people taking money out of the system than those paying in.
They all seem to think it is the Tories fault and they are being victimised under some 'divide and rule' plan.

The truth is people were sick of the situation long before 2010, it just took that election to start making the change.
[quote][p][bold]stevegg[/bold] wrote: Some people will never get the fact that Taxpayers are sick of subsidising those on benefits which the government is trying to address.Why should those on benefits be any different to hard working taxpayers who pay mortgages & have to make sacrifices to keep a roof over their heads or move if they cant afford it. For decades hardworking taxpayers have watched as millions of life long benefit recipients have lived in bettter houses paid for by those same taxpayers than they could afford to buy themselves, how is that right. If those on benefits want to stay in big houses with spare bedrooms - let them, but dont expect taxpayers to subsidise 100% your choice anymore. The spiralling benefits bill is part of the reason that the ecomomy is broke as there are more people taking money out of the system than those paying in.[/p][/quote]They all seem to think it is the Tories fault and they are being victimised under some 'divide and rule' plan. The truth is people were sick of the situation long before 2010, it just took that election to start making the change. laboursfoe
  • Score: -3

9:32am Sat 29 Mar 14

Jonn says...

Not one mention from the commentors above about whether this policy has worked to free up larger properties and solve overcrowding, which the Government said was the main aim.
Some larger houses now stand empty because no one wants or can afford them! Crazy.
Not one mention from the commentors above about whether this policy has worked to free up larger properties and solve overcrowding, which the Government said was the main aim. Some larger houses now stand empty because no one wants or can afford them! Crazy. Jonn
  • Score: 5

9:50am Sat 29 Mar 14

Copley23 says...

And as I've said before, every council has been given the money to subsidise anyone who has been left needing. You just have to contact them in revs/bens!!
And as I've said before, every council has been given the money to subsidise anyone who has been left needing. You just have to contact them in revs/bens!!
And as I've said before, every council has been given the money to subsidise anyone who has been left needing. You just have to contact them in revs/bens!!


There. Said it, 3 times.
And as I've said before, every council has been given the money to subsidise anyone who has been left needing. You just have to contact them in revs/bens!! And as I've said before, every council has been given the money to subsidise anyone who has been left needing. You just have to contact them in revs/bens!! And as I've said before, every council has been given the money to subsidise anyone who has been left needing. You just have to contact them in revs/bens!! There. Said it, 3 times. Copley23
  • Score: -2

12:00pm Sat 29 Mar 14

David Lacey says...

There is no doubt in my mind that this policy is correct. With so many families living in undersized accommodation and an estimated 1 million spare bedrooms in social housing, matching need with availability makes sense. Where it went wrong was the failure to implement the changes sympathetically. By that I mean the careful appraisal of existing housing stock and comparing it with the waiting list so that the swaps took place with consideration for people's feelings. Of course the Government would argue that social housing providers should show such consideration. The truth is they (the providers) are using the policy as an axe to grind because they are overwhelmingly organisations formed from Labour controlled councils.
.
Labour has said it will scrap the policy. I bet they don't if they are elected next year.
There is no doubt in my mind that this policy is correct. With so many families living in undersized accommodation and an estimated 1 million spare bedrooms in social housing, matching need with availability makes sense. Where it went wrong was the failure to implement the changes sympathetically. By that I mean the careful appraisal of existing housing stock and comparing it with the waiting list so that the swaps took place with consideration for people's feelings. Of course the Government would argue that social housing providers should show such consideration. The truth is they (the providers) are using the policy as an axe to grind because they are overwhelmingly organisations formed from Labour controlled councils. . Labour has said it will scrap the policy. I bet they don't if they are elected next year. David Lacey
  • Score: 2

10:35pm Sat 29 Mar 14

bambara says...

The bedroom tax (and I'll call it a tax, cos if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, it's a duck. Or in this case another nasty vindictive tory attack on the poor and defenceless) is thoroughly wrong for the following main reasons.

There are no options for those hit by this to move to.
They get no help with the cost of moving.
It takes no account of the human cost of this, the loss of the support network, family friends etc... that moving will have on the person forced out of their home.
It takes no account of the other needs of the affected person, adaptations and the like for the elderly or disabled, etc...

In short it treats the poor like sub-human cattle, but what else should we expect from the sociopathic nasty party. (by the way that is what I will call the Tories, because if it walks like a duck,... you know the rest)
The bedroom tax (and I'll call it a tax, cos if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, it's a duck. Or in this case another nasty vindictive tory attack on the poor and defenceless) is thoroughly wrong for the following main reasons. There are no options for those hit by this to move to. They get no help with the cost of moving. It takes no account of the human cost of this, the loss of the support network, family friends etc... that moving will have on the person forced out of their home. It takes no account of the other needs of the affected person, adaptations and the like for the elderly or disabled, etc... In short it treats the poor like sub-human cattle, but what else should we expect from the sociopathic nasty party. (by the way that is what I will call the Tories, because if it walks like a duck,... you know the rest) bambara
  • Score: -2

11:16pm Sat 29 Mar 14

Voice-of-reality says...

Nonsense. In answer to your points:
The people can move in with family, move areas, or get a job and support themselevs rather than relying on the rest of us.

They get no help with moving - excellent - they shouldn't - their accommodation is already subsidised - what next - subsidised lavatory paper for those who have no ability to do anythign for themselves?

Human cost - they have had a choice throughout their lives - look after them,selves or rely on handouts - if you are starving you have three options - eat the food given to you (even if you don;t like it), starve, or find food for yourself. Apply the same logic to housing: put up with what you are given by sociey, be homeless because you are ungrateful for charity, learn to stand on your own two feet.

Adaptions for these people - everyone else has to move to changed circumstances why should a proportion of the public who are of little use to the wider needs of society be exempt from the realities of life.

It treats the poor like sub-human cattle - no - they treat themselves like that by expecting to be led by the nose throughout life, have their food, shelter and everything else provided for them and never have to make a decision for themselves. In this you are correct, they are cattle - but unlike the cow that has outlived its usefulness, society still has to pay for their upkeep.
Nonsense. In answer to your points: The people can move in with family, move areas, or get a job and support themselevs rather than relying on the rest of us. They get no help with moving - excellent - they shouldn't - their accommodation is already subsidised - what next - subsidised lavatory paper for those who have no ability to do anythign for themselves? Human cost - they have had a choice throughout their lives - look after them,selves or rely on handouts - if you are starving you have three options - eat the food given to you (even if you don;t like it), starve, or find food for yourself. Apply the same logic to housing: put up with what you are given by sociey, be homeless because you are ungrateful for charity, learn to stand on your own two feet. Adaptions for these people - everyone else has to move to changed circumstances why should a proportion of the public who are of little use to the wider needs of society be exempt from the realities of life. It treats the poor like sub-human cattle - no - they treat themselves like that by expecting to be led by the nose throughout life, have their food, shelter and everything else provided for them and never have to make a decision for themselves. In this you are correct, they are cattle - but unlike the cow that has outlived its usefulness, society still has to pay for their upkeep. Voice-of-reality
  • Score: 2

8:10am Sun 30 Mar 14

Jonn says...

Voice-of-reality wrote:
Nonsense. In answer to your points:
The people can move in with family, move areas, or get a job and support themselevs rather than relying on the rest of us.

They get no help with moving - excellent - they shouldn't - their accommodation is already subsidised - what next - subsidised lavatory paper for those who have no ability to do anythign for themselves?

Human cost - they have had a choice throughout their lives - look after them,selves or rely on handouts - if you are starving you have three options - eat the food given to you (even if you don;t like it), starve, or find food for yourself. Apply the same logic to housing: put up with what you are given by sociey, be homeless because you are ungrateful for charity, learn to stand on your own two feet.

Adaptions for these people - everyone else has to move to changed circumstances why should a proportion of the public who are of little use to the wider needs of society be exempt from the realities of life.

It treats the poor like sub-human cattle - no - they treat themselves like that by expecting to be led by the nose throughout life, have their food, shelter and everything else provided for them and never have to make a decision for themselves. In this you are correct, they are cattle - but unlike the cow that has outlived its usefulness, society still has to pay for their upkeep.
My Grandfather fought in a war against a man who thinks just like you. Thank goodness my Grandfather was on the victorious side and the loser shot himself.
[quote][p][bold]Voice-of-reality[/bold] wrote: Nonsense. In answer to your points: The people can move in with family, move areas, or get a job and support themselevs rather than relying on the rest of us. They get no help with moving - excellent - they shouldn't - their accommodation is already subsidised - what next - subsidised lavatory paper for those who have no ability to do anythign for themselves? Human cost - they have had a choice throughout their lives - look after them,selves or rely on handouts - if you are starving you have three options - eat the food given to you (even if you don;t like it), starve, or find food for yourself. Apply the same logic to housing: put up with what you are given by sociey, be homeless because you are ungrateful for charity, learn to stand on your own two feet. Adaptions for these people - everyone else has to move to changed circumstances why should a proportion of the public who are of little use to the wider needs of society be exempt from the realities of life. It treats the poor like sub-human cattle - no - they treat themselves like that by expecting to be led by the nose throughout life, have their food, shelter and everything else provided for them and never have to make a decision for themselves. In this you are correct, they are cattle - but unlike the cow that has outlived its usefulness, society still has to pay for their upkeep.[/p][/quote]My Grandfather fought in a war against a man who thinks just like you. Thank goodness my Grandfather was on the victorious side and the loser shot himself. Jonn
  • Score: 0

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