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Relief on the way for West Somerset tenants hit by 'bedroom tax'
TENANTS affected by the so-called ‘bedroom tax’ which was introduced earlier this year could be in line for some extra cash.
The Government brought in new rules for people claiming housing benefit for their council or housing association homes on April 1, introducing a limit on the number of bedrooms it can help pay for.
It means tenants are not entitled to housing benefit to pay for their full rent amount if their home has spare bedrooms.
Magna West Somerset, a housing association in the area, identified almost 100 households which were affected by this under-occupancy charge.
Of tenants living in properties deemed too large for their household, 123 are only eligible for one-bedroom homes and 64 are only eligible for two-bedroom properties.
Now, the Government has made an extra £5million available to help the 21 least densely populated areas in the country, one of which is West Somerset, which has received £81,850.
The funding is aimed at avoiding a disproportionate impact on those affected by the removal of the spare room subsidy in remote and isolated communities where the geography means potential remedies such as work and alternative accommodation are less readily available.
Ian Liddell-Grainger, West Somerset MP, said: “There was a case put up to the Government by a number of MPs, including myself, that sparsely populated areas couldn’t afford this. The Government accepted that andthismoney has now been given to councils that require it.
“One of the problems in West Somerset is that, while some people may want to move, there may not be any smaller houses available for them.
“I am very grateful to a lot of colleagues and the Government for listening and doing something about this.
“It won’t completely mitigate the impact, but it will help massively. It will give West Somerset some leeway and I think it really makes sense.
“Now it is vital that this money is spent where it is needed.”
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