On the anniversary of changes to housing benefit payments officially known as the social sector size criteria (SSSC), the so called bedroom tax, protesters gathered at One Hyde Park to protest about its effect on the poorest and most vulnerable members of society.
The Governments intent was to reduce the under-occupancy in local-authority housing stock by cutting benefit payments for people with spare rooms, thus forcing them into smaller properties but reports suggest that six out of seven affected households have been unable to avoid a cut in rent support as councils don’t have enough smaller accommodation for them to move into. The Government also suggested that those in real hardship could apply to their local council for a hardship payment or Discretionary housing payment (DHPs) to help them pay their rent but with reports of a 300% increase in applications for DHPs many councils are likely to fail to meet demand.
One Hyde Park is a luxury residential building with some of the most expensive dwellings in London. Yet despite this a 2011 report highlighted that of the 62 apartments only nine were playing any Council Tax. The vast majority are owned by foreign companies that, under current tax rules, don’t pay taxes and the owners of the companies remain anonymous.