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The Controversial Bedroom Tax

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The controversial bedroom tax is a subject upon which there are strongly

contrasting views. It was introduced on the 1st of April 2013, and signalled a

reduction in welfare for those in receipt of housing benefit. The state would no

longer pay for all of your rent if your home contained spare bedrooms if you are

of working age, a council or housing association tenant; receiving housing

benefit and renting a home that has more bedrooms than you need, then your

housing benefit will more than likely be reduced - the only exceptions to the

new change were claiming housing benefit.

The limit on the number of rooms you can claim for is based on the total

number of people living inside your home, if you have more bedrooms than the
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Ministers argue that the changes

will encourage people to downsize to smaller properties, and in doing so will

help free up living space for overcrowded families, and it will encourage more

people to get jobs. Housing charities such as Shelter Scotland, however, have

cautioned that the result of this will be much higher levels of rent arrears and greater

homelessness. The government estimates that over half a million tenants are affected by these new rules.

There is no doubt that my views of the bedroom tax are closer to those of most

of my peers. I agree with the principle that taxpayers should not be subsidising

people to live in homes that are bigger than they actually need, but the way the

bedroom tax has been implemented has most certainly been unfair to many

people, such as those who need an extra room because of a disability or who

would move but cannot because of the sheer shortages of smaller homes. I feel

the government has also failed to recognise that the children of divided families

need a place to stay when they are with each parent, and that teenagers need

space for study without a younger sibling sharing their
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Thus the ministers have significantly

overestimated the savings it is likely to generate. If this is true then the revenue

may also be (that they have significantly underestimated).

Although the government are saying the bedroom tax will encourage people to

downsize by moving to smaller properties, certain people do not have this

option. Take Alison McAuley, a self-employed part-time house cleaner in

Skelton for example. She stated she would be affected as her twin fifteen-year-

old sons are expected to share a bedroom until they reach the age of sixteen

under the new rules. She is now torn between moving out of her family home –

where she has lived for seven years – or face a £150 penalty because she has

two bedrooms deemed unoccupied. Thus I think the bedroom tax is affecting

some of the poorest people in society, who through no fault of their own are living in

homes that are classed as too big for them.

Furthermore, research by the National Housing Federation says that while
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