Bedroom tax leads more West Norfolk tenants into debt

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Almost 400 of West Norfolk’s biggest housing provider’s tenants are in arrears following the introduction of the controversial bedroom tax.

That figure represents more than half of the Freebridge Community Housing tenants who stood to lose part of their benefits due to having a ‘spare’ bedroom in their home.

Jonathon Toye, co-ordinator of West Norfolk Disability Information Service, said: “ It really is an iniquitous tax. It targets the most vulnerable people in society.

“It takes away a vital part of someone’s existence. Your home is one of the most important things in your life.”

Freebridge has taken three people to court following mounting arrears due to the bedroom tax. Each of them has been allowed to stay in their homes providing they keep up with payments toward the debt.

Since October, the amount owed to Freebridge due to the tax has risen from around £50,000 to £133,000.

The tax aims to force people who live in homes deemed bigger than their requirements to move or cover more of the cost themselves.

Mr Toye said he is currently fighting a case for a disabled couple who need to sleep separately but have been told they are subject to the tax because they have two bedrooms.

In the last financial year – the year the tax was introduced – 63 Freebridge tenants down-sized their home. A further 52 are on the waiting list to do so, but no smaller homes are available.

Freebridge tenants struggling to pay their rent should contact 03332 404 444.