Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Families Go without Food to Afford Bedroom Tax

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Families Go without Food to Afford Bedroom Tax

Article excerpt

Byline: Craig Thompson Reporter craig.thompson01@trinitymirror.com

FAMILIES in Newcastle are going hungry just so they can hang on to their homes following the introduction of the bedroom tax, a report has said.

Research released by Newcastle University on Monday reveals communities are being ripped apart by the tax, which has left people in the region feeling "hopeless".

Many are finding it almost impossible to manage ever-decreasing incomes, with many spiralling into debt and rent arrears in order to afford bare essentials such as food.

Tyneside, where the research was carried out, is disproportionately affected by the bedroom tax with some 50,000 households estimated to be 'under-occupying'.

Social housing provider Your Homes Newcastle (YHN) reported last year that 66% of people affected by the bedroom tax were in rent arrears. Residents were finding it increasingly difficult to buy simple, basic foodstuffs and in some extreme cases, cutting down to just one meal a day, or going to bed early to evade hunger and keep warm - a pattern more prevalent among parents to ensure their children were properly fed.

The University research, A qualitative study of the impact of the UK 'bedroom tax', looks at the effects of the tax on the area.

It followed people living in Walker in Newcastle, which is in the top 10% most deprived areas of the UK, where around 650 homes are affected by the bedroom tax. Dr Suzanne Moffatt, who was involved in the research, said: "The bedroom tax reduces a home to simply bricks and mortar.

"However, these are homes that people invest in over time, places of safety within communities that offer friendship and support.

"As a consequence, many of those we interviewed elected to pay the tax in order to stay in their homes, resulting in cutting back on essentials such as food and heat to do so. …

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