Tower Hamlets bails out 2,500 families hit by ‘Bedroom Tax’

Tower Hamlets Town Hall

Tower Hamlets Town Hall - Credit: Archant

Thousands of families in London’s deprived East End have lost an average of £1,000 since the government’s controversial ‘Bedroom Tax’ was brought in a year ago.

The reduction of housing allowance for every spare bedroom has hit 2,510 households, according to latest figures from the Department of Works and Pensions.

Tower Hamlets Council has spent almost £3 million protecting the most vulnerable from the impact of welfare reform and soften the blow.

The local authority has made sure 1,157 of the most affected households could avoid rent arrears, which can lead to evictions.

Residents losing an average of £84 a week from the Benefit Cap were also supported with £800,000 from the Town Hall.

Up to £1 million has been made available to help homeless families in temporary accommodation who were hit by the Benefit Cap.

More than 700 payments from this fund have so far helped meet the deficit between the costly rent in Tower Hamlets and the Government’s cap on total benefits received.

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Mayor Lutfur Rahman said: “The government’s welfare reforms don’t take into consideration the over-heated rental market in east London, which eats up many households’ benefit entitlements.

“We’re doing all we can to help residents, including financial support to those hit by welfare reform.”

But the government statistics released earlier this month show 4,300 households in Brtitain, previously subject to the benefit cap, have found jobs since the cuts were introduced.

Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud said: “The benefit cap is rewarding families who want to work hard and get on, and already we are seeing thousands of people finding jobs and moving off benefits.”

Thousands reduced their housing benefit claims or stopped claiming altogether, after the cap was introduced, while 1,570 households reduced the amount they receive in other benefits.

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