Late Wednesday evening and just browsing on Twitter a tweet from Nick Atkin Chief Executive of Halton Housing Trust caught my eye.
It maybe in point of fact just one interim position from one social landlord but it deserves a huge amount of attention
What this says as a definite is that 18% of bedroom tax tenants have not made a payment towards their rent. If we extrapolate this on a national scale this would be 18% of 660,000 rents or 118,800 social households have not paid ANY of their bedroom tax shortfall.
The average shortfall we are informed is £14 per week and so social landlords lose £1,663,200 per week from this.
This then equates to £86,783,400 or nearly £87m per year loss to landlords!
The limitations of 140 characters aside in any tweet the first part also suggests that the 69% who made a payment may not have all made a full payment. Some of this 69% could be a part-payment of the bedroom tax shortfall and as such HHT and extrapolated all social landlords will lose a bit more than £87m per year.
Yes this is only one social landlord and yes any extrapolation based on this contains some degree of caution. However, if the national picture is anything like this then the proverbial really is going to hit the fan with social housing this year, for landlord and tenant.
Social housing as a model is directly under attack by the coalition and the above figures reveal the extent of this which I suspect will get much worse as many of the welfare ‘reforms’ (sic – as reform means to improve) have yet to come on-stream. The benefit cap in July, monthly payments and direct payment from October and the dog’s breakfast of Universal Credit and its digital by default model of access. Then add in council tax payments for the first time and all other household expenditure items such as food prices and gas and electricity rising faster than wages and benefits and you begin to see just how conservative this £87m per year figure begins to look.
I’ll stop there as if anyone had any doubt that the welfare ‘reforms’ are not a full-frontal and direct assault on social housing itself and an overt political and economic attack on social housing by this coalition government then ……enough said!