1 in 3 Council
tenants have been pushed into arrears by the bedroom tax
AROUND 1 in 3 Council
housing tenants affected by the bedroom tax in areas across the
North West have fallen behind on their rent since its introduction
earlier this year, according to new figures by False Economy.
Figures provided by 9 local authorities across the North West in
response to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests by False Economy
show that since the bedroom tax was introduced this April, over
2,000 Council housing tenants; 32% of all tenants affected by the
tax in these areas; have been pushed into arrears.
Across Britain over 50,000 Council housing tenants have fallen
behind on their rent since April; 31% of all tenants affected by
the tax in the 114 local authorities that provided data in response
to FIO requests.
However, in some parts of the North West the proportion of tenants
that have been pushed into arrears is far higher. In Barrow, 75% of
all Council house tenants affected by the bedroom tax have been
pushed into arrears since April. In Salford, 565 Council house
tenants have been pushed into arrears since April; 41% of all
tenants affected by the tax.
The data measures the impact of the bedroom tax over the 1st 4
months of its operation. But with emergency funding from Councils
rapidly drying up, the situation is likely to get far worse over the
coming months, warns False Economy.
The research has also found emerging problems in housing
associations, with social housing providers in Knowsley reporting a
doubling in the number of arrears cases among bedroom tax
The bedroom tax, introduced under the Welfare Reform Act 2012,
penalises Council housing and housing association tenants if they
have a 'spare' bedroom by reducing their housing benefit by
14% or 25%, depending on the number of spare bedrooms. Those
affected have included disabled people who currently use 'spare'
rooms for their carers to sleep in or to store their equipment.
Other affected tenants have offered to move but are unable to be
re-housed as smaller properties are not available for them to move
The bedroom tax, combined with other social security changes such as
cuts in tax credits, falling real wages and high unemployment, is
forcing many already hard-pressed families even deeper into debt,
says False Economy.
False Economy is concerned that as only 1 in 10 local authorities
across Britain who responded to the FOI request have any form of
'no eviction' policy, many thousands of families risk losing
their homes as a result of the bedroom tax.
Campaign Manager for False Economy Clifford Singer said:-
"These figures show once again the predictable chaos that has
resulted from the hated bedroom tax. Together with the raft of other
benefits cuts the government has forced through both this year and
previously, the bedroom tax is driving tenants and families who were
just making ends meet into arrears, and pushing those who were
already struggling with the cost of living into a full-blown crisis.
At a time when the government is actively trying to stoke a new
housing bubble for purely political ends, we have people being
punished for the lack of affordable housing and the decades-long
failure to invest in social and Council housing. The worst part is
that these figures have been collated while Councils' emergency
Discretionary Housing Payments are still available; they are being
used up at record speed and when they run out, these figures will
only get worse."
TUC Regional Secretary Lynn Collins said:- "The bedroom tax is
hitting hard-pressed households who are in real need of help.
Disabled people who need space for their carers and families, and
who have nowhere else to move, are being put at risk of debt and
homelessness by the tax.
Ministers claim the bedroom tax is saving money but the fact it is
simply pushing up arrears shows that it is not working. Instead
Councils across the North West are being forced to waste more money
on evictions and debt collection when they could be spending it on
providing proper housing and vital services. The recklessness of the
policy is so acute in Barrow that 3/4 of affected tenants are now
behind on their rent. The fact that ministers are happy to go
ahead with a bedroom tax on disabled and low paid families, no
matter how much chaos and misery it causes, says a lot about their
commitment to fairness."
nominations for the Liverpool Art Prize 2014
FOLLOWING the success of
last year's competition, Metal is proud to announce that the
nominations are now open for the Liverpool Art Prize 2014.
Entering its 7th year, the annual competition for artists born or
based in the Liverpool City Region is exhibited, administered and
managed by Metal at Edge Hill Station. The prize of £2000 pounds is
awarded to the winning artist. The winner of the People's choice
award decided on by the public voting at the gallery will be awarded
Last year Tabitha Moses scooped the award, winning both the People's
Choice and the overall prize, for the first time in the history of
the prize. In an exhibition held at the Albert Dock's Grand Hall,
Tabitha's work impressed the judging panel, composed of Tim Etchells
(Visual Artist and Writer), Sally Tallant (Artistic Director and CEO
of the Liverpool Biennial), Laura Davis (Arts Editor Liverpool Daily
Post), and Robyn Woolston (Visual Artist, Winner of LAP2012). They
had the difficult task of choosing between the four shortlisted
artists, which alongside Tabitha featured, sculptor Kevin Hunt based
at Liverpool's The Royal Standard, performance artist Julieann
O'Malley and recent Sky Arts Futures Fund recipient Laurence Payot.
Tabitha Moses' work featured embroidery, drawing, photography and
light boxes, which were made in response to infertility. In addition
to the main prize, Tabitha Moses won the public vote and won the
£1000 'People's Choice Award' which this year was dedicated
to Liverpool artist Joe Bampton who sadly passed away in February
This year's judging panel will be composed
► Pavel Büchler, a Czech-born, UK-based artist, teacher and occasional
writer. Büchler belongs to a generation of artists directly
influenced by the discoveries of 1970s conceptual art.
► Laura Davis, Arts Editor at Liverpool Daily Post , who will once
again be joining the Liverpool Art Prize judging panel. With her
on the pulse" of Liverpool arts, she covers theatre, music,
dance and the visual arts in Merseyside and beyond.
► Jude Kelly, OBE is founder and Chair of Metal and currently artistic
director at the Southbank Centre. She is an award-winning theatre
director who for the last five years has been one of the top ten
most powerful people in British Theatre.
► Francesco Manacorda, Artistic Director of Tate Liverpool and former
director of Artissima, Turin's international art fair. He has
previously been curator at London's Barbican Art Gallery and is a
visiting lecturer at the City's Royal College of Art.
Nominations are open to any contemporary visual artist based in or
born in Liverpool City Region (including the boroughs of Halton,
Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral) and the shortlist of four
artists will be decided by the judging panel following the open call
for nominations. Artists can nominate themselves. Metal will contact
each artist for further information to support their nomination. The
judges will be considering the impact and contribution the artists
have had on the art scene in the previous year.
before Friday. 1 November 2013, to cast your vote!
With local artists generating such a buzz inside the region and
beyond it, the Liverpool Arts Prize also grows in significance,
shedding light on the vitality of artistic work made in the
Liverpool City region, supporting and honouring its artists. So keep
your eyes on the new nominations and date announcements for 2014.