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Research and insights19 October 2011

Welfare reform: The impact of underoccupation on neighbourhoods

  • New research by the Housing Futures Network shows the impact of the bedroom tax on social housing tenants.
  • 71%% percent of those surveyed stand to lose up to £15 per week in housing benefit.
  • 52% would find it ‘very difficult’ and 31% ‘fairly difficult’ to make up the shortfall in housing benefit to pay towards their rent.

New research launched by the Housing Futures Network, a collection of leading housing groups, paints a vivid picture of the likely impact of the Government’s ‘bedroom tax’ on local neighbourhoods.

The Government is proposing to reduce housing benefit for working age social housing tenants deemed to be under-occupying their homes in accordance with a very strict bedroom standard.

The research, co-ordinated by the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research, looks in detail at the effect of the cuts in four neighbourhoods across the country – in Tranmere/Rock Ferry in Wirral, Lewisham in London, Chorley in Lancashire and Low Ford in Sunderland.

The network interviewed 452 working-age households in receipt of benefit and living in social housing, which face cuts to their benefit payments from 2013 under Government proposals. In total 670,000 households could be impacted by the cut.

The Housing Futures Network was established in 2008 to examine the future of social housing in the UK. Its members are four of the largest housing providers in the country; Affinity Sutton, Gentoo, Places for People and Riverside.

Please note this research was conducted prior to Affinity Sutton merging with Circle Housing to create Clarion Housing Group.