Pembrokeshire County Council rent arrears up since 'bedroom tax' introduced
5:40pm Thursday 12th September 2013 in News
RENT owed to Pembrokeshire County Council has jumped substantially since the introduction of the so-called 'bedroom tax' in April.
The controversial UK Government policy means that social housing tenants now receive less in housing benefit if they are deemed to have one or more spare bedrooms.
A report presented to cabinet on Monday said that of the 724 Pembrokeshire County Council tenants affected, 20% have accrued rent arrears for the first time since April.
The report says: "It is reasonable to assume that these arrears are directly attributable to the size restrictions."
It adds: "Since the introduction, in April, of the size criteria restrictions for housing benefit of working age tenants , there has been a steady increase in the level of current tenant rent arrears.
"In previous financial years, the council's timely recovery actions have proved effective in managing rent arrears. Despite continuing with the same prompt interventions this year, the arrears have increased."
Tenant rent arrears were £618,000 on June 30th 2013, compared to £579,000 at the same time of 2012.
Of the 724 tenants affected 30% who were previously in arrears had seen those arrears increase.
Cabinet spokesman for housing and sustainability Councillor David Simpson said the figures indicated 50% of tenants were coping, but 20% - 140 people – were not.
Cllr Simpson added: “We are talking about only 140 people who are finding it difficult. All I can say is we’re working with those 140 people for their benefit.”
Tenants were receiving home visits and being offered advice as part of that work.
“We are helping those people all we can to cope with this.”
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