Cleveland and Durham's Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) have expressed growing concerns over the financial pressures the current bedroom tax system is having on households across the region.
The analysis of the Government's recent report on the spare room subsidy - or bedroom tax - has revealed that nationally, a staggering 59% of tenants affected have been unable to meet their basic housing costs since having their benefits reduced.
Barry Coppinger, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, said "Bedroom tax leaves many in severe hardship and I’m concerned that some families will turn to volatile loan sharks as a short-term solution. The pressure increases when they can’t pay what they owe the unlicensed moneylender, particularly if a threat of violence is looming over them.
"Deep and relentless welfare reforms have a knock-on effect on other crimes, particularly shoplifting, as families turn to the black-market to buy food and other items they can’t afford in the shops. I would reiterate the importance of seeking trusted financial advice, accessing credit unions and asking to be referred to a foodbank. Foodbank locations in Cleveland are on the information section of my website."
Durham's Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg said: "We predicted that this tax would cause massive problems for some of the most vulnerable in our society. With more welfare reform yet to be implemented the situation will only get worse.
"Many in our communities will struggle to put food on the table or pay their utility bills. As these financial pressures grow we would encourage the use of credit unions and urge those affected to seek trusted financial advice"
Note: Data is taken from the "Evaluation of Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy - Interim Report" (Department of Work & Pensions)
Posted on Tuesday 29th July 2014