Housing benefit cuts threaten rent payments

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THE city council is facing a “looming cliff of rent shortfalls” when cuts to housing benefits kick in from April.

Thousands of social housing tenants with a spare bedroom face being hit by the new Westminster “bedroom tax”.

Those with one spare bedroom face a 14 per cent reduction in benefits, while those with two or more will lose 25 per cent and tenants will have to pay the difference.

As the Evening News reported last week, council chiefs are attempting to plug the shortfall for the worst off, by finding at least some of the £4 million needed.

Steve Burgess, housing spokesman for the Edinburgh Greens, backed the bid to soften the blow by subsidising rent. He said: “The city council can sit back and let courts decide if it’s reasonable to evict tenants who fall behind or it can come up with a package to take the rough edges away.”