Hundreds to be hit by bedroom tax
Hundreds of people across the area are about to be hit hard in their pockets when the new “bedroom tax” comes into force in coming weeks.
Latest figures given to the Diss Express show 718 households in the South Norfolk Council area will be affected
And in Mid Suffolk that figure is estimated to be just over 400 households hit, 270 under local authority control and 139 managed by housing associations. Of the total, 63 have two extra bedrooms.
Nationally, householders who live in social housing with at least one spare room they are not using, are likely be out of pocked by £14 per week.
In South Norfolk the annual loss for one extra bedroom is calculated as £577 a year, with £1,031 for two extra bedrooms.
In Mid Suffolk the loss for one extra bedroom is £558 and £997 for two.
Mid Suffolk Council is making sure residents are informed through its newsletters and website and will staging roadshows, including one in Eye on April 27, from 9am to noon, and one in Stradbroke on April 23, again from 9am to noon, when tenants can go along to ask questions and raise concerns.
The Government’s Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) Secretary Iain Duncan Smith argues that it is wrong for people to not pay more to live in properties with spare space while others live in cramped conditions or are stuck on the housing waiting list.
He said 27,765 households are stuck on a waiting list for social housing in Norfolk.
Pensioners and people living in temporary accommodation will not be affected by these changes. People who need a spare room for an overnight carer are also exempt, and bereaving families will have a year before the policy will affect them.
The DWP reports that in South Norfolk 3,360 were on the housing waiting list in 2012. However, the council says the figure is now 635.
In Mid Suffolk the figure dropped from 1,855 in 2011 to 1,230 in 2012.
Yvonne Bendle, South Norfolk Council cabinet member for housing, said the authority reviewed its policies and processes last spring to prioritise those in greatest housing need. She said they continue to offer comprehensive housing advice and early intervention measures.
But the consequences of introducing the bedroom tax will have a major effect, warns the National Housing Federation, which says it will lead to thousands of people having to move out of the homes they live in.
The Federation is calling for the disabled to be exempt from the bedroom tax, which it claims affects 548 people in the South Norfolk Council area and 402 in Mid Suffolk.
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Weather for Diss
Thursday 20 June 2013
Temperature: 12 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: East
Temperature: 11 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: South west