Plaid Cymru has warned that statistics released by them show that the early effects of the bedroom tax are already beginning to show.
Official figures on the number of Landlord Possession claims and orders issued in the 3 months from April to June 2013, following the introduction of the bedroom tax, show that - compared to the same period last year – the number of claims had risen by 11% and the number of possession orders issued increased by 16%. The majority of these claims and orders was in the social housing sector – which is the sector affected by the bedroom tax.
The statistics also show an increase of 6 and a half percent in the number of warrents for eviction issued in the private rented sector, as families in Wales continue to struggle with the cost of living and other changes to the benefits system introduced in April.
Plaid Cymru has warned that as families face bigger heating and energy costs in the winter months, and as their savings are used up, the bedroom tax could bring devastation to many families by Christmas.
Plaid Cymru’s Housing and Regeneration spokesperson Jocelyn Davies said:
"It gives me no pleasure on this occasion to be proven correct. We warned the UK Government that these changes to the benefits system were going to result in an increase in evictions and homelessness when they were initially proposed 3 years ago.
"While there is already a rise in the number of evictions, I am bracing myself for the devastation that is to come. By the autumn, families are going to be faced with bigger heating and energy bills, and many will have used their savings as a temporary measure to pay the bedroom tax. On top of this, we know that there will be little support available from Local Authorities because of an unprecedented rise in demand for the Discretionary Housing Allowance.
"With the Money Advice Service reporting last week that the number of adults struggling to keep up with their bills has increased substantially, and a fifth of the population reporting a substantial loss of income, it’s clear Wales is facing yet another Christmas of thrift. I am extremely concerned that by Christmas we are going to be at crisis levels. Just how bad does it have to get before the Westminster government realises the devastation their policies are inflicting upon the poorest in society?
"Plaid Cymru wants to support Welsh families, not persecute them. For that reason, we want to see local authorities and the Welsh Government doing all they can to mitigate the effects of the policy, such as by adopting a policy of no evictions as a result of the bedroom tax. We are also looking at several ideas to promote financial well-being as part of Bethan Jenkins’ Private Members Bill on financial education and inclusion, and we hope that the Welsh Government is willing to work with us to protect the people of Wales from the damaging cuts coming from Westminster."