Wednesday, 10 July 2013
Could the bedroom tax make the social housing situation worse?
One of the reasons given for the bedroom tax/spare room subsidy (depending on whether you oppose or support the policy) was that waiting lists for social housing would lower due to bigger houses being freed up for families. However, an article in Inside Housing reports that social landlords have warned that larger homes could be demolished as the bedroom tax could make them harder to let. In the artlce, Ashley Crumbley, chief executive of Wigan and Leigh Housing, says that he expects that the first demolitions would not take place for at least a year and that he expects numbers to be in the ‘low 10s’ in the early years, while Coast and Country Housing, which also says it may have to consider demolishing homes as a result of the bedroom tax, say the number of homes they could not find tenants for rose from doubled from 43 in January to 85 in May. While demolition is only being considered by social landlords with empty homes as a last resort, and an alternate option is carrying out structural work to change the number of bedrooms,even having a couple of dozen of homes demolished will mean longer waiting lists for social housing. In the comments, Dawn Simcox highlights a Manchester organisation she works for called SnugBug, a shared accomodation scheme which provides housing for 16-25 year old. This will help some, but will not be practical for everyone. As well as penalising many people who have no alternative and punishing tenants for the lack of social housing in this country, it seems the bedroom tax could actually result in social housing being demolished in some areas.