Send your news, photos and videos by texting bucksfreepress to 80360 or email
'Bedroom tax' warning to hundreds of Wycombe tenants
12:00pm Tuesday 25th September 2012 in News
FORMER council housing tenants have been urged not to “bury their heads in the sand” about the looming 'bedroom tax' which will affect hundreds of households in Wycombe.
Under major government welfare reforms benefits are set to be cut for those with one or more spare bedrooms in their property.
Red Kite, which took over 6,700 council homes in December, has now calculated 555 homes fall into this category.
From April, social housing tenants will lose out on 14 per cent under the new system if they have one unoccupied bedroom or 25 per cent for two.
Critics have labelled it the 'bedroom tax'.
Although Red Kite has been publicising the changes for around two months, the organisation said awareness is still low. Trevor Morrow, Chief Executive of Red Kite, said: “There's a very slow uptake of the message.
"The problem is that people bury their head in the sand until the bill arrives on their mats but we are here to make it as easy as possible.”
Red Kite believes the changes may afford an opportunity for families to move into more appropriately sized properties for their needs.
For some tenants it may mean finding a smaller home and Mr Morrow said Red Kite wants to help them prepare and downsize if that proves their best option.
Although it will be unpopular for many, especially those who have lived in their home for many years, he said, it could be a chance for overcrowded families to find larger homes.
Mr Morrow said: “The message to people is if you are under occupying and under retirement age just contact us and get your position clear and we will work that position through with you.
“If you can afford to stay that's fine for people who are working, they make that choice. The issue comes up if you can't afford it. Understand your options, work through your plan, talk to us early.
“The earlier you do it the better chance of staying in the same area.”
In future, benefits will be wrapped up into a universal credit - a new single payment for people looking for work or on a low income.
The Government has said the majority of the public agree with the welfare reforms, which it insists will make system better and fairer.
Visit www.redkitehousing.org.uk for more details. Or call 01494 476100, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org