Benefit shake-up sparks call for affordable homes
CONTROVERSIAL changes to housing benefit could potentially cause major problems across South Wales, a report has warned.
Under the shake-up of housing benefit both housing association and council tenants will have their benefits cut if they are deemed to have extra bedrooms.
A total of 40,000 people across Wales have been affected by the reform.
The Welsh Affairs Committee has said they fear there will be a shortage of smaller homes available for rent for those looking to downsize.
And now a Swansea MP is calling for more affordable homes, rather than the bedroom tax.
Geraint Davies, Swansea West MP and member of the committee, said: "The cost of housing benefit has doubled to £20 billion in ten years with 70 per cent of the growth due to private sector rents.
"This means that the best approach is to provide more affordable housing with lower rents and lower housing benefit alongside more jobs with reasonable salaries. Instead rents keep growing faster than wages and not enough homes have been built.
"The bedroom tax punishes families for their children growing up as it is then that bedrooms become empty."
This week the Post has spoken to Nicola Evans, 55, who is struggling to pay her bills due to increased prices and the bedroom tax.
She said: "After all the benefit changes and the introduction of the bedroom tax I am now £40 worse off every week.
"I am dreading the winter but there is nothing I can do except to pile on the layers and drink lots of hot drinks."
Mr Davies said that, in Swansea, moving people from a three bedroom social home to a two bedroom private home costs 50 per cent more in rent so the bedroom tax will cost more than it saves.
He said: "Already in Swansea two thirds of those facing the bedroom tax are in arrears and arrears have doubled since April."