By Rob George Friday 08 March 2013 Updated: 08/03 14:56
ALMOST 1,000 Wychavon residents will see their housing benefits slashed from next month when the Government introduces its so-called Bedroom Tax.
Figures given to the Observer by the National Housing Federation (NHF) show 999 people across the district, including some in Evesham and Pershore, will see their housing benefit reduced from April for having a property deemed too big for their needs.
And 629 of those affected by the changes are registered disabled according to the NHF figures which were released this week ahead of the introduction of the policy on April 1.
Residents in social housing will have their weekly housing benefit cut by 14 per cent for having one spare room while those with two or more spare rooms can expect to see their benefits cut by as much as 25 per cent.
The NHF estimate this will see those with one spare bedroom lose £630 a year while those with two or more bedrooms will be a staggering £1,125 a year worse off.
Elizabeth Humphreys, West Midlands lead manager for the National Housing Federation, said: "The Government's bedroom tax is flawed and will unfairly penalise people who have lived in their homes for years, raised families and contributed to their communities.
"The 'one-size-fits-all' approach takes no account of disabled people's adapted homes, of foster parents who need rooms to take children in, or of parents sharing custody who will lose the room for their child at weekends.
"In most areas, there just aren't enough smaller affordable homes for these families to move into to avoid the tax.
"Many people will find themselves having to move into more expensive privately rented properties - adding to the overall housing benefit bill," she added.
Under the Government's plans, in future only one bedroom will be allowed for every adult, couple or person over 16, one bedroom for any two children under ten and one bedroom for any two children of the same sex aged less than 16.
Mid-Worcestershire MP Peter Luff defended the changes and said: "It isn't right that there are people living in over-crowded homes on house waiting lists while there are houses in the social housing sector that have empty and underused rooms which the taxpayer subsidises.
"If we are serious about helping families in real housing need, this imbalance must be addressed.
"There is a range of protections, of exemptions for people in need, including pensioners and parents with severely disabled children, and a hardship fund for other people with specific needs.
"Sadly with any change of policy there will always be some losers, some tough cases. But we must never forget that thousands of families will be helped into better housing as a result of ending the spare room subsidy," he added.
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