Hundreds of thousands of households affected by the controversial ‘bedroom tax’ have also been hit by cuts in council tax support (CTS), a new report finds.
The report from the New Policy Institute (NPI) reveals that of the 380,000 families affected by the ‘bedroom tax’, 70% (270,000) have also seen their Council Tax support cut.
25% (93,000) claimed CTS but lived in an area yet to cut entitlement, and 5% (21,000) did not claim CTS.
And 11% of those affected by council tax support cuts have also been affected by the ‘bedroom tax’.
‘Bedroom tax’ victims in England have seen their Housing Benefit cut by an average of £15.61 a week, the report says.
Unemployed social housing tenants occupying a property larger than their requirements are required to contribute toward their housing costs, through a deduction in their Housing Benefit entitlement – 14% for one spare room or 25% for two or more.
The change introduced by the Government in April 2013, means that many unemployed people find themselves paying rent for the very first time – whether they can afford to or not.
According to the report, the Affordable Homes Bill – which is currently going through parliament – will help to reduce the number of people affected by the ‘bedroom tax’.
The report says: “This will provide relief to those families affected by the bedroom tax who were penalised for having a spare bedroom but were not offered an affordable housing alternative”.
However, the abolition of Council Tax Benefit has resulted in increasing numbers of low-income families having to pay council tax.
2.3 million households have had their CTS cut, the report claims. 1.4 million lived in social housing, with 270,000 of these households also affected by the ‘bedroom tax’.
1 million households were affected by CTS but not the ‘bedroom tax’, because they did not live in social housing. 680,000 were renting from private landlords and 320,000 owned their homes.
Cuts to Council Tax support have affected six times as many people as the ‘bedroom tax’, otherwise knows as ‘removal of the spare room subsidy’, because any working-age low-income family could be affected.
Cuts to Council Tax support have been less publicised than the highly controversial and widely hated ‘bedroom tax’. 3.8% of households in England have either been affected by either CTS, ‘bedroom tax’ or both.
The report concludes: “Unlike the bedroom tax, the number of families affected by CTS cuts is likely to increase each year.
“Central government has cut direct funding to local councils and capped the amount by which they can raise funds through increasing council tax. But councils can still increase council tax revenue by removing the discount that the poorest families receive (i.e. cutting CTS).”
“While the Bedroom Tax seems likely to be at least scaled back, cuts to CTS are only likely to get broader and deeper.”
In related news, figures from the Citizens Advice Bureau reveal that Council Tax debt has overtaken credit cards as the most common form of debt.
Read More: Council Tax Debt Problems Soar 20% In A Year