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Home  >  News  >  Kirk Renews Bedroom Tax Call

News

Kirk Renews Bedroom Tax Call

Monday July 8 2013

With local authorities reporting increased rent arrears since the so-called 'bedroom tax' was introduced, the Church of Scotland has renewed its call for no-one to be evicted from their home because of it.

The Convener of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council, the Rev Sally Foster-Fulton said: “It is sadly ironic that these ‘foolish’ changes came into force on April 1 and it is appalling that so many people are struggling as a result of the imposition of these unfair and unworkable cuts. It is telling that the concerns which were voiced before this change was made to the welfare system are now being borne out. We must do all we can to support those adversely affected, so that they are not marginalised even further”.
 
At its annual meeting in May, the Church’s General Assembly agreed to urge the Scottish Government to introduce legislation to ensure that no council tenants be evicted for ‘bedroom tax’ arrears.

Under the Welfare Reform Act 2012, housing benefit has been reduced for council and registered social landord tenants deemed to have more rooms than they need.

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) said today that all but one of the 20 local authorities who responded to their survey had reported an increase in rent arrears, with three quarters saying that this was due to non-payment of the rent due because of the new rules.

COSLA President David O'Neill said: "We always said that any saving to the UK treasury would be reflected in additional costs and financial pressures for tenants and councils.  Unfortunately that is exactly what is now happening.

“Councils are being required to reduce housing benefit payments only to see rent arrears rise sharply and tenants experiencing distress. At the same time as housing services are being undermined by a threat to our income streams.

“The UK Government need to urgently reconsider this horrendous policy."


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