Bedroom Tax in Poole and Bournemouth

The following statistics were collected using the freedom of information act, as people’s circumstances change figures will fluctuate, so please note these figures were all obtained in April/May/June 2013 the first quarter after bedroom tax was implemented.

The Borough of Poole has 635 households affected by the bedroom tax, 420 of which live in Poole Housing Partnership properties. So how have the 420 households in PHP properties fared – 160 have paid – 30 have moved – 230 now have higher arrears than at the start of the year – no eviction procedures have begun owing to bedroom tax arrears.

Perhaps to downsize is preferable to getting into arrears – surely that is the aim of the bedroom tax. 231 households need a one bedroom property; php currently has 27 empty one bedroom properties. 165 need a two bedroom property; php currently has 13 empty two bedroom properties. That figure excludes waiting lists for those not already in social housing.

Surely rather than letting tenants already on a means tested benefit fall into arrears lots of tenants will be able to get help from the council in the form of Discretionary Housing Payments – so how many people are Poole awarding this payment to, from the 635 households affected. 35 cases have received a DHP which meets their shortfall in full and 8 cases have received a DHP which covers part of the shortfall.

Well how about exchanging properties, oh wait you cannot exchange while you have arrears, even if you could find a suitable person to swap with.

Bournemouth Borough Council were unable to provide the amount of information that Poole did, as “This would take 5-10 minutes per case to establish answers to your questions”.
However we did find out the bedroom tax affects 589 households 336 of which are local authority owned and approximately 84 households had received discretionary housing payments to meet part/full shortfall in their rent. 8 households have downsized and no eviction procedures have begun owing to bedroom tax arrears.