A Liverpool organisation has hit out against the government’s new bedroom tax, claiming that the idea simply will not work in Merseyside.
As part of the Welfare Reform Act, the government has implemented the ‘bedroom tax’ which will affect those in receipt of housing benefit who currently under-occupy their homes. The reform will introduce some radical changes, including an estimated 660,000 working-age social tenants seeing cuts in their benefits if they are deemed as under-occupying.
Liverpool Mutual Homes, a housing association in the area, has criticised the idea, claiming there are not enough adequately sized properties in the city.
The association has published figures which show four in ten social homes in the area are three-bedroom properties, and only a small percentage are one and two-bedroom, the types of homes the occupants would be expected to re-locate to when the reform comes into place in April.
Angela Forshaw, director of housing at LMH, said on Twitter: “Even if every LMH tenant agreed to downsize it would take us up to seven years to be able to offer them suitable alternative housing and this doesn’t take into account the current waiting list or a requirement for us to accommodate urgent cases such as statutory homeless people.
‘The housing stock data underlines what we have been saying since the government first introduced the policy: the bedroom tax won’t work in Liverpool.”
JMU Journalism asked the public their opinions of the bedroom tax policy and if they agreed with the welfare reform.
Lisa Tomlinson, a 35-year-old mother from Liverpool, said: “I wonder if the government is going to pay for all of the extra rooms in Downing Street, or if the Queen is going to pay for her 50 bedrooms in the palace? The rules don’t apply to them, it’s disgusting. If your rent is £90 a week then it’s £90 a week. They can’t just change the goal posts when they feel like it.”
Agreeing with the reform, 24-year-old Michael Welburne, said: “People on benefits shouldn’t have a three-bedroom house if they can’t fill it. They should move out and let someone who does need it live there. Some people are on benefits and have nice big houses. My house is tiny but I pay for it all.”
Hannah Brennan, a 21-year-old single mother from Widnes who will be affected by the bedroom tax, said: “I feel like I am being picked on by the government sort of. I’ve lived in my house for two years… why should I have to move to make room for somebody else? I think it’s a really dramatic move from the government.”