Birmingham part of initiative to avoid 'Bedroom Tax'

By on 22/06/2012 in Cllr Cotton, News
Cllr John Cotton

Cllr John Cotton

Cllr John Cotton, Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Social Cohesion, has vowed to help families across the city avoid a new ‘bedroom tax’ which comes into force next year.

Senior representatives of local authorities and housing associations across the West Midlands have launched of the West Midlands Best Use of Stock Initiative.

The consortium hopes to protect rental income by helping tenants move home once changes to housing benefit introduced by the Welfare Reform Act come into force.

From April 2013, working-age tenants claiming housing benefit with a spare bedroom will lose on average £14 each or £25 for two spare bedrooms.

Now the West Midlands Best Use of Stock Initiative aims to help people find a house with the exact number of bedrooms they need to avoid new penalties for under-occupation of their homes.

Cllr Cotton welcomed the initiative condemning the “Bedroom Tax”. He said: “The Coalition Government’s bedroom tax, which will be introduced on 1st April 2013, will mean that tenants and their families will have their Housing Benefit reduced by up to 25 per cent if they are judged to be under-occupying their homes.

“For example parents with two teenage sons can only claim housing benefit for a two-bedroom home as both teenage children will have to share a bedroom.

“We all know that there are special circumstances, for example if a young person has special needs, where each child needs a separate bedroom, but if the landlord allocates a three-bedroom home then the family will not receive sufficient housing benefit to pay their rent and the landlord will lose rental income.

“The impact on household incomes could be disastrous especially at a time where there are fewer job opportunities available for people across Birmingham and the West Midlands.”

Cllr Cotton added: “I am delighted that Birmingham, the largest stock owning landlord in the UK, is joining forces with other local partners to alleviate this problem created by central government.

“It is unfair that hard working families are going to lose out and we need to explode the myth that only people that do not work receive housing benefit. Nationally five out of six families who receive housing benefit are in low paid work and I will do all I can to help families in Birmingham who have been put in this situation through no fault of their own.”

Notes to editors

The members of the partnership are: Birmingham, Sandwell, Coventry, Walsall, Solihull, Wolverhampton and Dudley councils; and WM Housing Group, Wolverhampton Homes, Sandwell Homes, Solihull Community Housing, Midland Heart, Bromford Housing Group, Walsall Housing Group, Orbit, Sanctuary, Viridian and Accord.

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