Monday, 23 January 2017

Housing chief fires 'bedroom tax' warning

The proposed ‘bedroom tax’ on underoccupied homes could create more problems if a lack of affordable housing is not addressed, a housing chief has warned.

Bob Taylor, chief executive of Knowlsey Housing Trust, said that the continued debating of the ‘bedroom tax’ was masking problems around the supply of affordable homes and that wider welfare reforms may lead to a different housing crisis over the next 20 years.

Mr Taylor said: ‘While trying to resolve existing problems, we could be creating further problems for the future.

‘It is about providing the right new homes and making the best use of existing homes so that we maximise the numbers of people who can live comfortably and acceptably in the homes available.

‘A bedroom tax won’t release homes easily, and people on benefit will then find themselves worse off.

‘While this is going back and forth between the House of Lords and House of Commons it is masking the real issue – the lack of affordable houses of all sizes.’

Mr Taylor said the proposed ‘bedroom tax’ could create problems unless there is an increase in the supply of smaller homes.

He said: ‘This is likely to lead to building more of the type of homes that we probably don’t need and not enough of those that we do, such as those suitable for young singles and older people.

‘We need to make sure that any money saved through welfare reform is invested in the right kinds of properties that will meet demand for affordable homes for decades to come.’

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