Scottish CAB advisers have seen huge increases in the numbers of people who are in rent arrears, following the introduction of the Bedroom Tax.
As a BBC Scotland report shows that Scottish Councils are owed £3m in rent arrears because of the recent changes, Citizens Advice Scotland have reported similar trends in CAB cases.
Citizens Advice Scotland’s Policy Manager Keith Dryburgh says,
“In the first six months after the Bedroom Tax came in, Scottish CAB advisers saw a 29% increase in the number of Housing Benefit enquiries, compared to the same period last year. And we also saw a 41% increase in cases involving social housing rent arrears.
“These trends are very worrying, and so are the human consequences behind them. Our advisers report that many of these people are having to turn to desperate measures like payday loans, or are having to use foodbanks because their budget is now so stretched. On average, Scots hit by the bedroom tax are losing £11 per week. If you are on a low income, that’s a huge amount of your weekly budget.
“People are now being told to move to smaller properties, which in the majority of areas simply don’t exist. Many of these people feel they are being punished for something over which they have no control.
“Many low-income families were already living on the breadline before the bedroom tax was introduced. These people are now being pushed into poverty. That’s why CAB advisers are seeing so many more people in crisis and desperation, and why foodbanks are having to deal with so many more people.
“The evidence is clear. This is a policy that is doing enormous harm to low-income families across the country.”