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Dozens risk eviction in Wolverhampton over bedroom tax

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Dozens of people in Wolverhampton are risking eviction after failing to pay a penny of the controversial 'bedroom tax'.

Placards from a demonstration against the government's 'Bedroom Tax' last year.

Wolverhampton Homes has revealed 36 council tenants with spare rooms, who were told a year ago they would lose some of the housing benefit that covers their rent, have not paid it at all.

And 60 per cent of tenants affected by the cut in benefit for 'under-occupying' their homes have fallen into debt, figures reveal.

The government removed what it called a 'spare room subsidy' from working age council and social housing tenants if they had one or more spare bedrooms. The cut amounted to 14 or 25 per cent of their housing benefit, leaving them to pick up the cost.

It was intended to free up larger council and social housing properties for families stuck on waiting lists. And it has saved £37 million in benefit payments across the West Midlands.

But critics, who have dubbed it the 'bedroom tax' say there are not enough smaller homes for them to go to, meaning many had no choice other than to pay.

Wolverhampton Homes said the 36 people who have 'chosen' not to pay make up just 1.5 per cent of tenants.

Director of housing Mark Henderson says they have to do it or face possible eviction proceedings.

"There are 36 people who have so far chosen not to pay anything since the policy came into effect in April 2013," he said.

"They are getting into a really serious position now. The average owed is about £270."

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