Housing plans set to hit tenants in the pocket

PLANS to penalise social tenants living in homes deemed too large for them could cost families in North Tyneside up to £879 per year.

The government has previously estimated that 50,000 families across the north east will lose an average of £624 per year under its new size criteria.

But analysis by the National Housing Federation shows for the first time the true extent of the cuts faced by many families.

Based on the cuts of up to 25 per cent of a family’s housing benefit that the government is considering introducing in 2013, a household deemed to be under-occupying a three-bedroom home in North Tyneside faces losing up to £17 per week inhousing benefit – or £879 per year.

Monica Burns, the federation’s lead manager for the north east, said: “We have been deeply concerned about this bedroom tax for some time, but these new figures show the damage will be far worse than previously thought.”

“Hard-up families in North Tyneside face penalties of up to £879 a year simply because the Government have deemed their homes are suddenly too big for their needs.

“This will have disastrous implications for a huge number of people already struggling to make ends meet in the tough economic climate, including foster carers, grandparents, disabled people and smaller families.

“In the vast majority of cases, people will simply not be able to make up the shortfall themselves and could end up being sucked into poverty and spiralling levels of debt.”