Bedroom tax will hit South Ward

PUBLISHED: 13:30 27 September 2012

The charity hopes the midnight walk will raise lots of money toward its work

The charity hopes the midnight walk will raise lots of money toward its work

(c) Adam Gault

CHANGES which limit the amount of benefits people receive are going to 'severely impact' on residents in Weston's South Ward, according to a councillor.

From April 2013, a benefit cap will be introduced by the Government limiting the amount people receive in housing benefits.

The cap will apply to the combined income from the main out-of-work benefits, plus housing benefit, child benefit and child tax credit, limiting benefits to £500 per week for couples and £350 for single adults.

The reasoning behind the change is to stop those claiming benefits from taking home more money than those in work.

There will also be a ‘bedroom tax’ applied to council and social housing, meaning residents will have to pay more housing benefit if they have spare bedrooms.

Ian Parker, who represents South Ward on North Somerset Council, said: “People are going to be hit pretty severely by this.

“These new reductions in benefits are going to affect so many people where we are.”

He added that a public meeting will be held in South Ward to help inform people living in the area.

Alliance Homes’ neighbourhood services manager Allan Milnes said: “We have started a visiting programme because it’s a really severe issue and one I suspect is passing a lot of people by and is going to hit people very hard in April.

“In April everybody of working age, if they are living in a property which has more bedrooms than it is said they need, will lose 14 per cent of their housing benefit. If they have two more bedrooms than they need, they will lose 25 per cent.

“Any adult partners will need one bedroom, and children up to the age of 10 will be expected to share.”

But he said residents could be hit by the new rules because there are not enough properties to accommodate lots of people downsizing.

He added: “At the end of the day if there are not enough properties of the right size, there is not a lot we can do.

“This is not a local decision, it is a Government decision which it is a bit too late to battle against.

“It’s legislation and it’s coming in April.”

A meeting will be held at the For All Healthy Living Centre in Lonsdale Avenue on October 16 at 6pm on the Bournville estate, which will be attended by Cllr Parker, an expert on benefits from the council and representatives from Alliance Homes.

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