Eight Scottish Councils are on a list of the 20 UK areas worst affected by the Bedroom Tax - according to figures released today by the TUC. The statistics show that nearly one third of Council tenants affected by the bedroom tax are now behind in their rent, and so are in danger of being evicted.
The 8 Scottish Councils which appeared in the ’20 worst affected areas’ list include Clackmannanshire (where 67% of tenants hit by the bedroom tax are now in arrears), Dundee (49%), Renfrewshire (47%), North Lanarkshire (46%), South Lanarkshire (45%), Edinburgh (45%), East Ayrshire (44%) and East Renfrewshire (42%).
Responding to these figures, Citizens Advice Scotland’s Chief Executive Margaret Lynch says:
“It’s very clear from these figures, and from the numbers of people coming to the CAB, that the bedroom tax has had a huge impact on low-income families in Scotland.
“Since the bedroom tax was introduced in April, we’ve seen a 40% rise in the number of people who have come to the CAB for advice because they are now in arrears. It’s a very worrying trend, and our advisers report that many of these people are turning to desperate measures like payday loans, or are having to use foodbanks because their budget is now so stretched.
“The government is saying that Councils are not providing people with the support that will alleviate the problem. That may be true in some cases, but the real problem is that the policy itself is deeply flawed. It is targeting the poorest people in society, and making them even poorer.
“People who live in homes with ‘spare’ rooms are not in that position by choice. It’s the home they were allocated. And many families have adapted those homes over the years to cater for disabled relatives. They are now being told to move to smaller properties, which in many areas simply don’t exist. Many of these people feel they are being punished for something over which they have no control.
“With the recession and the other welfare reforms, many low-income families were already living on the poverty line before the bedroom tax was introduced. On average, Scots hit by this charge are losing £11 per week.2 If you are on a low income, that’s a huge amount of your weekly budget.
“This is a policy that is doing enormous harm to low-income families across the country. The evidence of this is already becoming over-whelming, and the government must surely face up to the facts and reverse this deeply unfair policy before it does any more damage.”
Notes to editors - click to expand/collapse
The figures quoted above were published today by the TUC's False Economy campaign. The TUC made Freedom of Information requests about the bedroom tax to all of Britain's councils; 114 responded. The research revealed that a total of 50,000 tenants in these areas had fallen into arrears since 1 April 2013 when the bedroom tax came in. Of these 114 Councils, the campaign has published a list of the 20 worst affected. The 8 Scottish Councils above are on this list. The full TUC press release (including the Top 20 table) is at (link not longer available).
NB The National Housing Federation has separately published figures today, again revealing that one third of bedroom tax tenants are in arrears. The NHF research relate only to England and Wales, but we believe the evidence is still indicative of general trends which apply in Scotland too.