Tax dispute

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BEDROOM tax could hit far more families than first feared.

Figures from the National Housing Federation obtained by local politicians Ken Macintosh MSP and Jim Murphy MP show 761 households will be affected ­— more than 200 more than previously estimated.

On average, families affected will be forced to pay an extra £463 per annum for one extra bedroom, and an extra £827 per annum for two or more if they do not downsize.

However, figures obtained from East Renfrewshire council suggest there are no unoccupied one bedroom council houses available at all in the local area, with the waiting list for such accommodation stretching to between eight and 10 people for a single property.

Ken Macintosh believes the policy needs to be “abandoned immediately”.

He said: “More than 700 families could be forced to leave the local area, removing money from the economy.

“This disastrous policy needs to be abandoned immediately.”

The tax, which will be implemented from April 1, will penalise people receiving housing benefit who are renting a property that has more than one bedroom for each of the people who live in the property.

Glasgow MSP Humza Yousaf has signed a letter calling on the chancellor, George Osborne, to scrap the bedroom tax in this year’s budget statement (released as The Extra went to press), alongside cross-party colleagues, voluntary organisations, trade unions and disability groups

A report published by the Scottish parliament’s information centre in January showed the tax will affect almost 40 per cent of Glaswegians who receive housing benefit.

Humza Yousaf told The Extra: “I am pleased to have signed this letter, and I urge George Osborne to scrap this deeply unpopular, damaging policy.

“People in my constituency are already struggling with other benefit cuts as well as rising food and utility prices, and this extra penalty will make a huge difference to so many families.

“The support the letter has gathered from trade unions such as the STUC and groups such as Age Scotland and Carers Scotland shows the deep-rooted opposition to this policy.”

The impact of welfare reform will be one of the subjects under discussion at East Renfrewshire council’s next landlord forum.

The forum will take place at Carlibar primary school, Carlibar Road, Barrhead on Thursday, May 2 at 6.30pm.

To reserve a place, or for more information on any of the above, please contact the private sector housing team on 577 8362 or at privatesectorhousing@eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk.