Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting OXFORD NEWS to 80360 or email us
More tenants seek help with rent
7:00am Tuesday 24th September 2013 in News
WELFARE reform, including the introduction of the controversial bedroom tax, has sparked a rise in applications for extra cash to help pay rent in North Oxfordshire.
Tonight Cherwell District Council is considering its response to a rise in discretionary housing payments (DHP) following the introduction of the social sector size criteria – otherwise known as the bedroom tax.
The discretionary payments are used to fill the gap between housing benefit and high rents in the private sector.
Under the bedroom tax, housing benefit is reduced by between 14 and 25 per cent if families are considered to have ‘spare’ rooms in their homes.
About 900 homes are expected to be affected by the reforms in North Oxfordshire, and council staff wrote to all tenants explaining what would happen.
As a result, 42 applications for DHP were received before the end of March, of which 23 were successful.
Since many of the reforms were introduced in April, the number of applications has risen to 167, of which the council approved 68.
Overall, the council has received 300 applications so far in 2013/14, compared to 370 in the whole of 2012/13, but has also seen an increase in Government funding for DHP – from £139,741 in 2012/13 to £203,354 this year.
The council’s overview and scrutiny committee meets at 6.30pm at Bodicote House in Banbury to discuss the issue.