Local politicians have warned 530 families in East Renfrewshire risk being hit by the UK Government's housing benefit under-occupancy penalty – dubbed the bedroom tax. Jim Murphy MP and Ken Macintosh MSP said they were concerned many local families could be forced to move. Housing associations have also aired concerns, with Barrhead Housing Association expecting to lose £71,000 a year once the changes start in April.
The penalty will see social housing tenants who have spare rooms losing a proportion of housing benefit equivalent to 14% for one extra bedroom and 25% for two or more, according to figures prepared by the council. They show 403 council tenants and 127 housing association tenants could face the cut.
Mr Murphy said: "The government's answer is that people should move to smaller homes. But here in East Renfrewshire, the council and housing associations just don't have enough alternative homes." He added: "The total cost to local families will be £300,000 per year."
l Scotland Office minister David Mundell is facing further pressure to withdraw claims he made about the bedroom tax.
The Tory MP told Westminster that Scotland's councils had been "satisfied" by Government assurances on the implementation of the housing benefit cuts.
But, as The Herald revealed yesterday, his comments have been rejected by David O'Neill, president of councils' body Cosla, who said local authorities remained concerned.