No relief for families hit by Bedroom Tax AND cuts to council tax support

Research shows that the two Tory policies hit many of the same families

 

The Affordable Homes Bill currently going through parliament means that some families will be relieved of the pressure of the Bedroom Tax. Meanwhile, the council tax support (CST) available to low-income families has been being slashed since 2013, when Communities secretary Eric Pickles cut the amount available by £500 million.

Today new research conducted by the New Policy Institute revealed a notable overlap in the people are affected by the two policies.

Of the 380,000 families affected by the Bedroom Tax, 70 per cent (270,000) have also had their CTS cut, 25 per cent (93,000) claimed CTS but lived in an area that was yet to cut entitlement, and only five per cent (21,000) did not claim CTS.

This means that the alleviation of the Bedroom Tax will not be felt as much as it should be, because it is effectively being replaced with another punitive measure for low-income families.

Unlike the Bedroom Tax, the number of families affected by CTS cuts is likely to increase each year. CTS cuts have alreadt affected six times as many people as the Bedroom Tax because any working-age low income family could be affected, while those affected by the Bedroom Tax have to meet three criteria: they must live in central housing, be in receipt of housing benefit, and have a spare room.

To illustrate this: of the 2.3 million families who have had their CTS cut, 1.4 million lived in social rented housing, but only 270,000 were affected by the Bedroom Tax.

Central government has cut direct funding to local authorities, and capped the amount by which they can increase council tax. But councils can still increase council tax revenue by cutting CTS.

The NPI say that while the scaling back of the Bedroom Tax is certainly a welcome development, cuts to CTS are likely to get ‘broader and deeper’.

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