Video: Interview with Councillor John Cotton

Councillor John Cotton from Birmingham City Council kindly gave an interview giving his opinion on the Bedroom Tax.

He raised his serious doubts and concerns with the Bedroom Tax and how it is an

“iniquitous and unfair measure that’s been brought in by the coalition government that’s going to have a terrible impact on a large number of vulnerable people”

 He repeatedly referred to the policy as a “blunt instrument” used by the government to “chase headlines” which he admitted it has, only they may not be the headlines they desired. Below is the video.

After the interview John gave a final note, emphasizing the point that there are still a lot of people out there that do not know about or understand the Bedroom Tax and that awareness is key, finishing on that anyone wishing to know more about the Bedroom Tax can visit the councils dedicated web page.


Foster Parents hit by Bedroom Tax.

As of April 2013 foster carers across Birmingham will be left paying between 14% and 25% of their current housing benefits whether there is a child occupying the room or not.

There are approximately 2000 ‘children in care’ at any one time in Birmingham, according to Birmingham City Council, whom they are responsible for and “aim to find stable, secure and caring homes” for.   These looked after children may be housed across a number of in house homes and private sector accommodation, but as of 2009 1190 of children in question were in foster care. That’s 60% of all Birmingham’s looked after children who’s carers potentially stand to shoulder the short fall.

This is down to a technicality with the current benefits system, according to the current outlines “when calculating how many bedrooms a family unit require, a room for a foster child will not be taken into account. Therefore, a household that has an extra room for a current or potential foster child will be treated as under-occupying”.

So for a foster carer who has one bedroom set aside for a fostered child, and is in receipt of the average housing benefit of £89.27 per week, will now have to pay £12.50 of that back, a shortfall that could be at the cost of the child. If a carer has two or more rooms for foster children that amount jumps £22.32.

Birmingham City Council Adopt/Foster Appeal.


West Midlands help tenants avoid the Bedroom Tax

Housing associations across the West Midlands have come together to help tenants and landlords avoid the Bedroom Tax.

Seven of the largest West Midlands local authorities and nine of the largest social housing providers have joined forces to become The West Midlands Making Best Use of Stock partnership (WMBUS), which will enable tenants to locate a property with the exact amount of bedrooms needed in order to help avoid the penalty.

Labour Councillor, John Cotton, Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Social Cohesion, backs the partnership vowing to help those affected by the policy as he openly attacked the new welfare reform, acknowledging the consequences that it will have upon Birmingham and working tenants on low income.

“It is unfair that hard working families are going to lose out and we need to explode the myth that only people that do not work receive housing benefit. Nationally five out of six families who receive housing benefit are in low paid work and I will do all I can to help families in Birmingham who have been put in this situation through no fault of their own.”


Image taken from Birmingham City Council 

WMBUS aims to pool at least 150,000 homes to allow tenants easy access to properties within the region.

Diane Middleton, Chair of WMBUS understand the implications the policy will have on society and the housing associations,

“Welfare reform is going to have a massive impact on the housing sector and potentially a distressing effect on residents. We are taking a broad vision on how the industry can work together to share and mitigate both the responsibility and results of these changes.”