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Families penalised by bedroom tax

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Bromford is calling for choice and incentives for customers, not penalties, as a planned 'bedroom tax' is discussed in the Commons today.

Bromford, a leading provider and developer of affordable homes in the UK, is concerned that under plans in the Welfare Reform Bill, low-income families across the country will be hit by a bedroom tax because their homes are deemed too large.  Across the South West alone, 30,000 households could be affected and families forced to move out, go into debt or cut back on essentials.

Darrin Gamble, Bromford's Head of Neighbourhoods, said: "Behind every spare bedroom is a human story. There are many reasons why families need more bedrooms: disabled tenants who need adapted rooms; older couples who need separate rooms for health reasons; grandparents who share the care of their grandchildren."

He continued: "Under these changes, there will more pressure on families with crowded conditions forced on them or some may need to move out of the community altogether." With so few smaller homes available, many will not even have that choice.

Bromford believes that each customer's housing requirements needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis and is working with local authorities and other landlords to share information and provide suitable housing and make best use of stock available.

Case study

Jamie Cater from Welshpool moved to a three-bedroom Bromford home with his son and daughter, Ewan and Leigh-Ann, after his previous flat was deemed unfit for purpose by social services. Ewan is autistic and needs his own room. Jamie said: "If this goes ahead, it would force Ewan and Leigh-Ann to be in the same bedroom. This would have such a detrimental effect on Leigh-Ann - when they were together previously, Ewan created so much damage."

As Jamie has also split up with the children's mum, he is required to provide a minimum amount of hours respite and without adequate accommodation he wouldn't be able to see his children. As he said: "I love my children, I don't want to lose them. I don't know how I would provide a good life for them - I'm out of work and this tax could just cripple me."

Jamie is in a no-win situation. If he moves to a smaller home he loses respite opportunities, if he stays he loses money and can't afford to support his children. "It's disgusting, it's not fair, especially with a special needs son."