Thousands of council house tenants in Leeds have been fallen behind on their rent since the bedroom tax was introduced earlier this year.
New figures show 3,000 people - or 41 per cent of all tenants - in council houses in Leeds have been pushed into rent arrears since bedroom tax was brought in this April.
The statistics, released yesterday by False Economy and the TUC, also showed 10,000 – or one in three – council house tenants across Yorkshire have fallen into rent arrears.
The bedroom tax, introduced under the Welfare Reform Act 2012, penalises council housing and housing association tenants if they have a ‘spare’ bedroom by reducing their housing benefit by 14 per cent or 25 per cent, depending on the number of spare bedrooms.
Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council’s executive member for neighbourhoods, planning and support services, said: “This is yet more evidence that confirms what we have been saying since before these welfare changes started – that it is the most vulnerable people in society who are feeling the greatest impact.
“The government need to look at the real evidence.
“Leeds City Council is doing what it can to assist people. Earlier this year the council’s executive board approved changes to the rent arrears recovery procedures which gives tenants an opportunity to engage with the council at an earlier stage and take advantage of the advice and support that is on offer.
“In Leeds, as in many other cities across the UK, there is a growing need for new council homes.
“Leeds is investing over £42 million to increase the number of council homes across the city, which is the largest programme of its kind in years,” he said.
Campaign manager for False Economy, Clifford Singer, said: “These figures have been collated while councils’ emergency Discretionary Housing Payments are still available; they are being used up at record speed.”