Bedroom tax homes dilemma
PARENTS are being forced into heartbreaking decisions to move from their family homes or fall further into poverty.
Many single parents and couples in Banbury face the dilemma as a result of the ‘bedroom tax’ where housing benefit is being cut by up to a quarter for those with ‘too much space’.
Housing chiefs admit the rules affect more people than first thought – separated parents and grandparents unable to have children to stay, parents of students away at college or teenagers and foster carers.
Some are looking for smaller homes, some are doing house swaps and some are left facing greater poverty.
A mum of two half-sisters of six and three – one with special needs – was allocated a three-bedroomed home now classified as having a spare room.
“I can’t put them in together so I can’t move. I work full time and pay £40 travel, which they will not take into consideration. They are cutting my housing benefit, making me pay council tax for the first time and the rent is going up too,” she said.
Another working, single mum’s 20-year-old son at college in Banbury is not eligible for his own bedroom. She is sleeping in the dining room of her private rented home and faces a substantial benefit cut.
“I work as many hours as I can and I can’t find extra money to meet the benefit cut, but I can’t bear the thought of breaking up the family home after 20 years,” she said.
Yvonne Crinean, of Sanctuary Housing, said: “Under the new criteria two siblings under 16 are expected to share a room if they’re the same gender. We’ve been working very hard to help our tenants understand the changes but we’ve found some wrongly assume the changes won’t apply to them.”
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Weather for Banbury
Tuesday 18 June 2013
Temperature: 14 C to 21 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: South east
Temperature: 14 C to 24 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North