WHITBY residents in receipt of housing benefits are being urged to wake up and face the consequences of a bedroom tax being introduced by the Government.
It will see people on housing benefit being asked to pay a tax for any spare bedrooms they have.
Staff from Yorkshire Coast Homes launched a campaign to inform residents of the ‘bedroom tax’ by pushing a bed around the town on Tuesday morning handing out leaflets and advice.
It was led by Richard Mair, a policy, PR and investment manager for Yorkshire Coast Homes. There are around 115 homes in Whitby on YCH books which will be affected, not taking into account people on benefits who live in housing association properties.
YCH staff pushed the bed from the Coliseum, over the swing bridge, up Spital Bridge and around Abbots Road, St Peter’s Road, Helredale Road and the Larpool Lane/Crescent area.
Mr Mair said it certainly captured people’s attention but was concerned people still didn’t understand the full implications.
He said: “Curtains were twitching and we definitely had lots of interest. Hopefully when we do the next bed push people will be more aware of it.
“We spoke to one person who was going to be affected as was her sister. There are whole families that are going to be hit by this and it is important to get the message out.”
Mr Mair said people who are disabled, foster carers or have family in the armed forces will be affected this time when they haven’t been in the past, so there are still those who think ‘bedroom tax’ doesn’t apply to them.
There are also concerns about the knock on effect the tax will have.
He added: “People are going to have to do so much juggling of their finances to make sure they can make ends meet and keep a roof over their heads.”
YCH employs two money management officers to help with things like finding better deals on fuel and budgeting and is looking at creating a similar role in Whitby.