Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Bedroom Tax rebate for Lambeth residents?

There has been a fair amount of justified criticism of Lambeth Council over its failure to stick up for local residents in the face of the Bedroom Tax.  There have been protests against its policy on evictions for those who fall into arrears as a result of the tax.

Many other councils have done far more, for example redesignating homes.  Some have pledged to evict no one who falls into arrears as a result of the Bedroom Tax.  Lambeth have done neither. We asked Lambeth Council Leader Lib Peck a year ago whether Lambeth would refuse to evict.  She said she wouldn't. 

As soon as we heard on 10th January about the Bedroom Tax rebate that many residents who had occupied their homes continuously for the last 17 years might be entitled to, we contacted the Council, and have since then been pushing to ensure that residents receive it.

We also submitted a Freedom if Information request on the day that the news broke.  We have now received this response:

"Thank you for your request for information received on 10th January 2014 concerning (the Bedroom Tax Rebate). Please find our response set out below.

"1. What steps Lambeth Council is taking to seek out those residents? 

"We are in the process of writing to all housing associations asking them to identify any residents that fall into the criteria. We are also attempting to interrogate our own systems to identify such residents but the query is still with our systems administration team. Our partner organisations (Lambeth Living (ALMO) and various
tenant and resident management organisations) who manage our housing stock are also identifying residents in Lambeth properties.

"2. Whether Lambeth Council has the necessary records to offer rebates to everyone  entitled to one? 

"Lambeth records only go back to 1997. However, we will accept a letter from the Landlord stating they have been in residence and receipt of benefit from 1996.

"3. Whether Lambeth Council has an estimate of how many people in Lambeth may be entitled to a rebate, and also an estimate of how many will get a rebate? 

"We do not have this information currently."

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