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NHF survey reveals that two thirds of households hit by bedroom tax are in rent arrears

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The spare bedroom tax policy which was supposed to help the government save on housing benefit payments has instead turned into a chaotic nightmare, that many rightly predicted would impoverish even more the poor.

The bedroom tax or "spare room subsidy" or "under-occupation penalty" – affects around 660,000 housing benefit claimants.

According to research released by the National Housing Federationyesterday, an estimated 144,000 tenants have not been able to cover their rent since the controversial policy was introduced on 1 April.

A poll of 183 housing associations found that 66 per cent of their residents hit by the bedroom tax are in rent arrears, and one in seven families have already received eviction risk letters and face losing their homes.

David Orr, chief executive of the NHF, said: ‘You can argue over what to call the policy, but there is no disputing the impact that the bedroom tax is having across the country.'

'It is heaping misery and hardship on already struggling families, pushing them into arrears. Now many are at risk of being evicted because they simply can’t find the extra money to pay their rent.’

A bill to abolish the hated tax will be introduced by Labour MP Ian Lavery.

Lavery said "I have seen with my own eyes the absolutely astounding impact the bedroom tax has on disabled and sick people. I'm not sure the government is aware of the hardship and misery it has caused.”

“We are talking about ordinary people who have been forced to move from the homes where they have spent a lifetime raising their kids. They have been cast out like dogs in the night."

While the Department for Work and Pensions(DWP) said that they have tripled extra funding to £190m this year, and that “£165m will be made available next year to help vulnerable tenants.”

Lord Freud, the welfare minister, is currently being grilled by a committee of MPs to answer questions on the bedroom tax.

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