Three-quarters of people affected by the bedroom tax say they have had to cut back on food, an independent evaluation published by the Department for Work and Pensions has found.
The research found that 46% said they had cut back on heating, 33% on travel and 42% on leisure. Among a control group of tenants unaffected by the bedroom tax, far fewer – 56% – said they were cutting back on food because of benefit changes.
The findings by the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research and Ipsos Mori were slipped out by the government on the last day of parliament before the winter break, along with a deluge of more than 380 other documents.
Its study found landlords were very concerned that some tenants were “in severe poverty and unable to pay the shortfall”. The report said 78% of claimants who were still affected by the bedroom tax after two years of the policy were regularly running out of money by the end of the week or month. They tended to pay the rent by using up savings, borrowing from family or friends or accruing debt.