Bedroom tax could make tenants destitute, claims Grantham councillor

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Tenants could become destitute under the new bedroom tax to be introduced by the Government, a Labour councillor has said.

Coun Alan Davidson was speaking at the budget meeting of South Kesteven District Council on Friday and called upon the authority to include financial assitance for those tenants who could be forced out of their homes if their benefits are cut.

Mr Davidson, who represents the Earlesfield ward in Grantham, said a lot of people would not be able to afford their rents and would fall into arrears. He said: “Without assistance they will be forced to move, but if they cannot afford the bedroom tax, they cannot afford to move. This council has got to help those who are most desperate, otherwise they could become destitute.”

The Labour group proposed an amendment to the council’s budget, providing a sum of £189,828 to help protect tenants from falling into arrears and homelessness and another sum of £84,000 to cover the removal costs of those tenants who would have to transfer to smaller accommodation. The group estimates that 20 per cent of tenants in the district will have to move as a result of the bedroom tax, which would require a sum of £400 per family.

But officers told the meeting that there was provision within the budget to give assistance and advice to tenants who would fall into difficulty. The Labour group’s amendment was defeated. Labour group leader Charmaine Morgan said the decision was “deeply disappointing”.