'Bedroom tax is hitting landlords'

MPs have been told of serious pressures facing housing associations as rent arrears from the 'bedroom tax' start to hit.

Loading Comments
Share
Print

Housing officials told the work and Pensions Committee at the House of Commons the policy was hitting the tenants and the landlords.

One Tory MP on the committee argued people in difficulty could move to another part of the country, as, if they are not working, it doesn't matter where they live.

David Ogilvie, policy manager of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, said there were already difficulties facing the sector.

He said some smaller associations with only around 1000 homes do not have the resources to support tenants.

He said: "A survey in June showed the total arrears were 3-4% of income in 2012.

"We are already in a situation where the financial environment has been testing with banking covenants.

"Certain banks have been circling like birds of prey at the first sign of a breach of covenant."

Mr Ogilvie, who has previously given evidence to the Scottish Parliament's Welfare Reform committee, told the MPs that it was estimated it would take somewhere between three and 10 years to allocate smaller houses to all the people affected by the policy.

He said this was assuming that all available one-bedroom homes went to people downsizing to escape the bedroom tax.

He added: "This creates a huge headache. The ability to achieve homelessness targets is being undermined. People will be left in temporary accommodation for longer and more people will still be in inappropriate accommodation."

Dame Angela Watkinson, Conservative MP for Hornchurch and Upminster, said: "Some people do not work so it doesn't matter where they live if they are taxpayer dependent."

The London MP said she was not talking about disabled people but: "people who are fit for work but chose not to."

Other housing officials from around the UK told her there were other reasons why people couldn't simply pick up and move, including relocation costs and support networks, like childcare sharing.

Mr Ogilvie told the MPs the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations was not asked in advance of the new law, which came in in April this year, how many smaller properties were available.

He said: "We made submissions throughout the course of the passing of the Bill."

stewart.paterson@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Local government

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on Evening Times on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

144546

Have you got a story?

Contact the news desk on 0141 302 6520 or email news@eveningtimes.co.uk
                Games news:                
                               

Putting the world to rights

                               

Gail's Gab

                               

I am convinced Scotland will become independent in five months time.

               
Free swim at a Glasgow Club pool for every reader - Click here

Entertainment

Lifestyle

Wedding
Cat’s Eyes on Glasgow

Cat’s Eyes on Glasgow

Cat Cubie’s job is to find and share with you the fabulous things the city has to offer, from gigs to gastro.

                Janice Bell                
                               

Janice Bell

                               

You Couldn't Make This Up

                               

Driven round the bend after passing the driving test

               
Michelle McManus

Michelle McManus

Columnist Michelle McManus is Sussed in the City, and loves to chat about anything and everything.