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Bedroom Tax Today's Window Tax?

(October 18, 2012)

 Warminster housing association tenants need to start planning for the big hit to the money in their pockets  as the 'double whammy' of the 'Bedroom Tax' and the 'Univeral Credit' approaches warns a former local councillor.

 The Con-Dem government will force Wiltshire Council to introduce new rules for housing benefit claims from April 2013 to tenants of working age if there is not another late policy u-turn.

 "Buried behind all the front page current media coverage is the double whammy of the Welfare Reform Act and proposals for a new universal benefit replacing other welfare payments," said Paul Macdonald.

 "There are now six months left for tenants to take some tough decisions and prepare to see either their family life change drastically or budget to spend less on food and heating to pay more rent." 

 Housing benefit will be reduced if the council thinks there is a spare bedroom in the home. Youngsters up to the age of 16 of the same gender are expected to share a bedroom and boys and girls under 10 years of age are expected to share. 

 "There could be a lot of personal grief and even bitter in-fighting," adds Paul. "As an example, separated parents having been told you have a spare bedroom under the new rules must choose a ‘main carer’ for children.

 Spare Bedroom Window

 There will be a fixed percentage taken off the current housing benefit which the Government demands will be 14% for an extra bedroom and 25% for two or more extra bedrooms. 

"It will affect foster parents, the use of a spare bedroom on medical grounds, mums or dads whose children visit but are not part of the household and the families of disabled children," continues Paul.

"There are even fears for those living in adapted or specially designed properties.
"It conjures up the image of council officers peering through windows which could see this in years to come being described as the modern-day equivalent to the 'Window Tax'!"
 Selwood Housing have written a short piece in their latest magazine sent to their tenants and estimate that 770 will be affected.
"Housing association tenants in Warminster are expected to lose £16 a week on average," said Paul.
"And how many people now living on their own in a house that may have been their home for decades will be penalised?"
 "Wiltshire Council  have to bring in this change which will add greatly to their workload so it is important to get in touch with them sooner than later.
 "They have a section of their website 'Welfare Act 2012' which includes a limited consultation survey."
 "Time to start talking to them!"

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