Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Edinburgh's No Eviction Policy

After some internal discussion with our Capital Coalition partners we have decided, like many other Scottish Councils, to commit to a No Eviction policy for Council tenants affected by the Bedroom Tax. There are real implications for the Council's Housing service in this approach but to be honest the Bedroom Tax was already putting investment plans and existing services at risk, not to mention taking money out of the pockets of some of the poorest people in Edinburgh. We simply couldn't contemplate taking eviction action against our tenants who make every effort to pay their rent and whose only crime is having the goalposts moved on them by Iain "£53/week" Duncan Smith and George Osborne, et al .....

The motion below has now been submitted for consideration to the Council's P&S Committee on 16 April.

Policy and Strategy Committee 16 April 2013

Motion By Councillor Ricky Henderson – Welfare Reform

1)         Committee wishes to express its concern regarding the impact that the range of Welfare Reform measures is having on people in Edinburgh.

2)         Specifically the Committee is concerned that, from April 2013, measures to reduce housing benefit for tenants of local authorities and housing associations (Bedroom Tax) have not taken account of the acute shortage of one bedroom homes.  This will lead to significant hardship for the tenants affected and increase the risk of homelessness.

3)         Committee is further concerned that these measures may have an adverse impact on council and housing association landlords’ rental income and their ability to invest in improving their own stock and in building new, affordable to heat, homes.

4)         Committee notes that there is a significant risk of a reduction of £45 million in capital investment, funded from the Housing Revenue Account, as a result of this and other measures.

5)         Committee agrees:

(a)             that where the Director of Services for Communities is satisfied that tenants who are subject to the under-occupancy charge have done all they reasonably could to avoid falling in to arrears, then all legitimate means to collect rent arrears should be utilised except eviction

(b)        to establish a joint working group that will include elected members, officials from Housing and Revenues and Benefits, Registered Social Landlords and tenants representatives. The role of the working group shall be to monitor the implementation and impact of various benefits changes and to contribute to consideration of further measures to support tenants.

(c)        to support calls by local campaigns to scrap the Bedroom Tax.


Kirst said...

Really happy to read this

Ricky H said...

Kirst, many thanks for your comment. Not an easy decision, and not without its consequences but on balance we believed this to be the right thing to do. Difficult times ahead for those affected by welfare changes.

George Dickson said...

Yes, well done.