‘Bedroom tax’ will hit hard in Falkirk

Bainsford's Wayne Reed fears the bedroom tax could force him to move
Bainsford's Wayne Reed fears the bedroom tax could force him to move

Almost 3000 people in Falkirk will be affected by ‘bedroom tax’ legislation, a councillor has said.

Gerry Goldie, who chairs the council’s housing committee, said he and his colleagues understood the difficulties families who were caught up in the changes could face.

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And he said he was confident his plans to take a “no action for a year” stance against tenants who found themselves in arrears due to the new legislation would be approved.

He said: “I will be putting a motion before the executive committee which says we will take no action for a year against tenants, with the proviso that arrears are solely due to the bedroom tax and if they are willing to work with us to come to an arrangement.”

Dad-of-three Wayne Reed lives in a three-bedroom flat in Bainsford, where his children sleep during regular visits.

Wayne said: “Because the children live with my ex-wife, the council say these bedrooms are spare.

“My rent has increased, but because the children don’t live here, I don’t get benefits to cover it.

“I’m now £156 in arrears, and very worried about the future.”

Part of the UK Government’s welfare reforms, ‘Bedroom tax’ reduces the benefits of people deemed to have a spare bedroom.

Councillor Goldie said: “We don’t agree with this, and we have never agreed with it, but the Government legislate and we administrate it.

“However, if tenants have accrued rent arrears solely attributable to size criteria and the council is satisfied the tenant is doing everything reasonable to avoid falling into arrears, Falkirk Council will use all legitimate means to collect rent due, except eviction.

“My advice to people is to come and speak to our advisers.”

He said Falkirk Council would maintain this position for a year before reviewing it.