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6,000 North Lanarkshire homes to be hammered with the bedroom tax, Wishaw Press figures show

Written by Scott Campbell.
 
 
 
 
 
Published at 09:43 GMT on Monday, 29th April, 2013.
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RESIDENTS across North Lanarkshire are set to slammed by the UK Government’s ‘under-occupancy’ charge; dubbed colloquially as the bedroom tax.

An investigation by the Wishaw Press has revealed the startling figures that thousands of people across North Lanarkshire will be caught out by the welfare reforms.

The paper’s figures show that 6038 homes have been hit with the charge, with little hope for those hoping to avoid it, as the same figures show that the area’s local authority has only 90 one-bedroom properties available - 85 of these properties already marked for prospective tenants. The Wishaw Press also revealed that North Lanarkshire Council has 194 two-bedroom properties available, of which 180 were matched; and, 67 three-bedroom properties, of which 62 were matched.

Talking to the Wishaw Press, last week, North Lanarkshire Council leader Jim McCabe said: “With a very limited housing stock in North Lanarkshire, the challenges we face are enormous but our priority remains helping those in greatest need of housing.

“The council have put in place additional funding of £5.7million to help tackle the problems being caused by the UK Government imposed welfare changes.”

The figures, when compared to other Scottish local authorities, may be extraordinarily high as North Lanarkshire Council is the biggest council landlord, in Scotland.

“This is the single worst piece of legislation I have ever seen and we are determined to help families and individuals who are affected,” Cllr McCabe added.

“The additional staff we have hired to advise tenants of the impact these changes have so far met with nearly 1600 people and this help will continue as long as it is needed.

“We are also carrying out an impact analysis to ensure the number of rooms being classified as bedrooms is being properly calculated.”


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The UK Government’s welfare changes now mean that people of working age, under-occupying their home by one bedroom, will see their housing benefit slashed by 14 per cent. Meanwhile, tenants who under-occupy their properties by two or more bedrooms, will see their housing benefit reduced by 25 per cent.

Since the announcement, North Lanarkshire Council have written to more than 5800 tenants offering them information and support and a visit from an advisor and more information is available online at www.northlanarkshire.gov.uk/yourmoney or by phoning 01698 403170.

Mary Castles, the council’s executive director of housing and social work services, said: “As the largest social landlord in Scotland, these changes present an unprecedented challenge for the council, and we are determined to do all we can to help and support our tenants who will be affected by these UK wide changes.

“The new legislation also impacts on the allocation of council properties.

“Our priority is to help those most in need of housing, as well as supporting existing tenants. The circumstances and needs of individuals and families are assessed using a points system to determine their place on the housing waiting list.

“We have been reviewing our existing polices to ensure that we continue to help those in greatest need, as well as making the best use of the limited housing stock we have available in North Lanarkshire.”

For the original Wishaw Press article, visit: http://www.wishawpress.co.uk/wishaw-news/local-wishaw-news/wishaw-news/2013/04/24/north-lanarkshire-council-leader-jim-mccabe-hits-out-as-it-emerges-thousands-facing-bedroom-tax-have-little-chance-of-downsizing-their-properties-76495-33223564/. 

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