Missed opportunity over bedroom tax help, claim Greens

The City Council has missed an opportunity to give practical help to families facing bedroom tax rent arrears, according to Green councillors.

Green coucillor Steve Burgess had already succeeded in persuading Labour and SNP colleagues to take a “no evictions” stance over the much-hated benefit charge introduced on 1 April.  However, the Greens also added £1 million to the group budget back in February, to top up so-called discretionary housing payments – a DWP fund of £1.3 million which helps households meet extra rent costs such as those from the bedroom tax.

The City’s Labour-SNP Administration did not accept the Green proposal, however, saying thay it would seek to find the top-up money – which can be up to 1.5 times the DWP allocation – within existing budgets.  However, it has emerged this week that no extra money has been found.

Steve BurgegssGreen Group convenor and housing spokesperson, Cllr Burgess said:

“We could have had a fund of over £3m, but the council is not taking up that option. Even if it was topped up to the full extent, this fund would not fully compensate for the welfare reforms, but because we’re not topping it up at all we will be able to help even fewer people.

“People will be applying for DHP and may well be refused because there is only enough funding to meet the absolute emergency cases.

“The consequence is if they don’t get help with rent, people could end up being evicted.”

For the full story read the Edinburgh Evening News