The council leader has pledged to look at ways to safeguard tenants from eviction who are struggling to meet extra payments for the bedroom tax.
Councillor Jim McCabe says he intends to discuss the matter in the council after a North Lanarkshire disabled woman made tabloid headlines amid claims she could be evicted for non-payment of the tax.
Councillor McCabe said: “I am proud to say not one of our tenants has been evicted because of the bedroom tax.
“In fact, since this horrendous attack on our poorest was introduced, we have had an additional safeguard in place. Before any eviction can proceed, a case report has to be prepared and the proceedings agreed by our executive director of housing and social work and the chief executive.”
The councillor also says that it is important residents communicate with the local authority if they are struggling with payments.
He said: “We need people to help themselves and there are conditions. Our tenants must engage with us: we cannot help people if they are not prepared to talk to us and fill in forms for assistance. We cannot allow measures we take to be misused so there is a second condition: anyone in arrears before the introduction of the bedroom tax or whose arrears are unrelated to it will not be covered.”
“The council is one of a handful to increase our Discretionary Housing Payment funding to the maximum allowable by law – in our case £1.2million. We have set up our own ‘sustainability fund’ with council money to try and keep people in their homes … another £1million. And we have a further £1million in reserve to deal specifically with the impact of the welfare reform that we can draw on if it’s needed.”
The issue will be discussed at a future meeting of the council’s policy and resources committee.