Ethnically diverse areas of Birmingham to be most affected?

Statistics released by Birmingham City Council, indicate that the most culturally diverse areas of Birmingham are likely to have the highest rates of people affected by the Bedroom Tax.

Ladywood, possibly the most affected area, has the lowest proportion of white residents in Birmingham at just over a third. The predicted least affected area of the city is Sutton Coldfield, where a massive 94% of its residents are white.

As previously reported, less than 10% of Sutton Coldfield’s population is expected to be affected by the Bedroom Tax, in comparison to almost half of Ladywood’s residents.

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More specifically, Ladywood’s population includes 2 percentage points more Asian residents than white. Over 5% are mixed and almost 1 in 5 are black.

Sutton Coldfield’s ethnic makeup could not be more different. Just over 3% of its residents are Asian, around 1 in 100 are of mixed race and the same amount are black.

When questioned about the occurring pattern of Bedroom Tax and ethnic minorities, Councillor David Barrie (Conservative), strongly denied the act of discrimination:

“I reject absolutely the implicit suggestion that the changes discriminate against ethnic minorities.”

He went on to say:

“Inequality yes, discrimination no.”

Other areas of Birmingham predicted to be fairly highly affected by the Bedroom Tax are Erdington, Northfield and Hodge Hill. Those expected to not see many effects of the benefit cuts include Hall Green, Perry Barr and Yardley.

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However, Hall Green, Hodge Hill and Perry Barr are the other locations in Birmingham to have a high proportion of ethnic minorities, with only around half of residents in each area being white. Hodge Hill particularly shows a negative relationship between ethnicity and these benefit cuts, with around a third of residents potentially affected.

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Sutton Coldfield to be the least affected area of Birmingham?

Less than 10% of Sutton Coldfield residents may be affected by the Bedroom Tax. This area is expected to see the least effects in Birmingham as of April 2013, when the new policy comes into action.

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Almost 6% of Sutton Coldfield residents live in a council owned house and only 3.5% are living in a Housing Association property. This is a massive 39 percentage points less than the most affected area of Birmingham, Ladywood.

Hall Green, Perry Barr and Yardley are other areas of Birmingham which indicate fairly low rates of Local Authority and Housing Association properties. The data released by Birmingham City Council, suggests that less than a quarter of each of these regions’ populations are likely to be affected by the Bedroom Tax.

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Approximately 1 in 5 of Hall Green’s residents may be potentially affected, with around 10% living in Local Authority Housing and the same amount depending on the HA. Perry Barr shows very similar data. Just over 9% of residents are council tenants and only a tenth live in a property provided by the HA. Yardley indicates slightly different rates, with just over 20% living in a council house and a further 4% occupying a HA property.

Click on the image to view the full map.

Click on the image to view the full map.

This map shows where these lowly affected areas are in Birmingham.

Foster carers being penalised for fostering

The Bedroom Tax will be leaving thousands of foster families with their benefits cut and trust in the Government broken, a spokesperson from UK charity, The Fostering Network, said.

“Foster carers are dangerously exposed to the potential of being penalised for fostering.”

The Fostering Network provides information about fostering, gives support to members and campaigns to improve foster care. However, the Bedroom Tax is putting strain on the charity and its work. Foster carers face the problem of their foster children not being counted as part of the household, for benefit purposes, leaving these families with ‘spare’ bedrooms.

A housing fund of £5 million has been made available for local authorities, to support foster carers across the UK. However, The Fostering Network’s spokesperson expressed how even this will not help:

“Unfortunately this money is not ring fenced and can be used for other areas of housing. Therefore, some foster carers are being told that they must use their fostering allowance to cover any shortfall. This is meant to be spent solely on the child’s day to day needs, not their housing costs.”

The spokesperson for The Fostering Network appeared extremely concerned and upset about the upcoming Bedroom Tax policy. This urged the charity worker to question foster care’s uncertain future:

“These changes are causing some foster carers considerable anxiety and to wonder if they will be able to continue to foster.”

Ladywood to be the most affected area of Birmingham?

Almost half of Ladywood residents will potentially be affected by the Bedroom Tax. Around 49% are either council tenants or live in a Housing Association property.

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Statistics released by Birmingham City Council, show that over 31% of Ladywood residents live in Local Authority Housing, as well as almost 18% living in a property provided by the Housing Association. The tenants who are deemed to have a spare bedroom will see the effects of April 2013’s new policy.

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With only 29% of Ladywood council tenants having just one bedroom, a potential of 71% may be affected by the Bedroom Tax. If rooms are not filled to the requirements of the policy, residents will see their benefits cut significantly. Negative effects have already began to occur in the Ladywood area. One resident’s story can be seen here.

Erdington, Northfield and Hodge Hill are other areas of Birmingham which have fairly high Local Authority and Housing Association rates.

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Around a third of Erdington’s residents may be affected by the Bedroom Tax, as almost 21% are council tenants and a further 10.7% live in a HA property. Northfield shows slightly higher results. 33.5% of its population are likely to be affected, with nearly 28% in council housing and over 5% depending on the HA. Hodge Hill indicates similar statistics, with over 32% potentially being affected by Bedroom Tax. Over a quarter live in Local Authority Housing and nearly 7% live in a property provided by the HA.

Click on the image to view the full map.

Click on the image to view the full map.

This map shows where these highly affected areas are in Birmingham.

1 in 5 council tenants work full time

More than 20% of council tenants in the UK have a full time job, suggesting that full time workers are likely to be significantly affected by the Bedroom Tax. Around 265,000 people live in Local Authority Housing nationally. This is a large proportion of the estimated 660,000 people to be affected by the Bedroom Tax.

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Statistics from 2011/2012 indicate that full time workers are potentially one of the most affected demographics. This sparks debate on whether hard working people and tax payers deserve to have their benefits cut as of April 2013. To many, the Bedroom Tax highly affecting those in full time work is likely to be seen as unfair and unjustified.

However, Councillor David Barrie (Conservative), believes Bedroom Tax is in the interest of the tax payer:

“As a hard working tax payer would you be happy to pay for someone else to live in expensive housing that you could not afford?”

Data released by the Government also shows that job seekers will potentially be the most affected by the Bedroom Tax, as over 22% of council tenants are looking for work. Around 1 in 5 of those living in Local Authority Housing are unemployed. This demographic is sure to see the most negative effects from the Bedroom Tax.

People to miss the upcoming policy change are to be students, where less than 2% live in council housing. Only 0.2% of council tenants are in training, so this group of tenants are also likely to not be affected.

Younger women than men to be affected by Bedroom Tax?

Statistics released by the Government indicate that almost twice as many 16 to 24 year old females, than males, are likely to be affected by the Bedroom Tax. 17% of male council tenants in the UK are aged 16 to 24, in comparison to nearly a third of females.

This data from 2011/2012 suggests that young women are likely to be highly affected by the Bedroom Tax policy as of April 2013. It is possible that many more younger females than males live in Local Authority Housing, because of the recent issue of teenage pregnancy. The UK reportedly has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Western Europe, with almost 3% of girls aged between 15 and 19 giving birth every year. Therefore, the Bedroom Tax may be forcing vulnerable mothers and innocent babies out of their homes this Spring.

Around 265,000 people live in Local Authority Housing in the UK, with Birmingham having the largest Local Authority by population nationally. This strongly suggests that a large amount of council tenants will be affected by the Bedroom Tax in the region.

64% of people affected by Bedroom Tax are disabled

UK charity, Scope, say that out of the estimated 660,000 people to be affected by the Bedroom Tax, an astonishing 420,000 are disabled. The disability charity appear extremely shocked and dis-heartened by the upcoming policy change.

Scope pledge that:

“Disabled people and their families can have the same opportunities as everyone else.”

But the disabled make up more than the majority of people affected by the Bedroom Tax. This proportion is so high because of their specialist needs. Individuals with severe health problems may need a spare room for medical equipment. Other disabled people require an extra bedroom for when a carer stays. Some are simply too sick to move house and downsize.

After 50 years of helping the disabled, Scope appear very passionate about benefit cuts to vulnerable people:

“Many families of disabled people tell us they are struggling to make ends meet. Multiple cuts to their benefits and services they rely upon have made things worse. Many have lost thousands of pounds in vital financial support.”

Amisha Koria, Senior Media and PR Officer for Scope, expressed her concerns about the effects Bedroom Tax will have on disabled people:

“They will have to consider moving, which is challenging because of the lack of accessible housing, or look to see how they can meet the shortfall in their income.”

As the Bedroom Tax will not come into power until April 2013, the effects this will have on disabled people has not yet been witnessed. However, Ms Koria believes the impact will be devastating and a struggle for the disabled:

“As disabled people are being hit by so many changes to welfare support, the impact on finances after April will be significant.”