A Merseyside social landlord is set to convert bedrooms into bathrooms to protect its residents from the impact Discretionary Housing Payment reforms – otherwise known as the ‘bedroom tax’. Wirral-based Magenta Living has announced initial plans to upgrade bathroom facilities in 200 properties, many of which are poorly insulated prefabricated units fitted to the rear of the homes decades ago.
‘The consequences of this work will be that the number of bedrooms will be reduced in these properties,’ said Magenta Living’s chief executive Brian Simpson.
Mr Simpson, however added that tenants were yet to be consulted on the improvements, which would effectively safeguard tenants from cuts to housing benefit – 14% for a single spare bedroom rising to 25% for two or more.
In recent months, many councils, including Leeds and Nottingham, have sought to circumvent the rules by reclassifying spare rooms. However, welfare minister Lord Freud wrote to local authority chief executives in June, warning such blanket re-designations are inappropriate and fall outside the spirit of the policy, which is designed to trim £500m from the annual welfare bill through greater use of social housing stock.
But former welfare minister and Birkenhead MP, Frank Field, praised Magenta Living for their initiative. The welfare expert called on other social housing providers to follow suit to avoid the imposition of what he termed ‘the most vicious ‘form of taxation since the poll tax. ‘The bedroom tax is iniquitous and Magenta is clearly undertaking this review with tenants in mind and I think they need to be applauded,’ Mr Field said.
21st August 2013
In recent months, many councils, including Leeds and Nottingham, have sought to circumvent the rules by reclassifying spare rooms. However, welfare minister Lord Freud