This article by Nigel Nelson originally appeared in the Mirror.
The Government’s own figures reveal the multiple-bedroom properties are vacant because tenants cannot afford to move into them
Councils are losing £20million in rent a year as the disastrous Bedroom Tax leaves homes empty.
Nearly 1,500 multiple-bedroom properties are vacant because tenants cannot afford to move into them.
Under the Bedroom Tax their housing benefit has been slashed.
The levy puts an average £14 a week on rent for one extra unused bedroom and £25 for two or more.
The punitive tax has also pushed up rent arrears by £24million because tenants cannot afford the levy.
Many are unable to downsize because there is a shortage of one-bedroom homes .
Shadow Housing minister Emma Reynolds told the Sunday People : “Since the Bedroom Tax was introduced, rent arrears have soared.
“But it’s also increasing the number of homes left empty because tenants can’t afford this unfair charge.”
The waste of good homes comes despite 1.7 million people being stuck on council house waiting lists in England.
New Government figures show the number of empty properties increased from 25,462 in 2012-13 to 26,958 in 2013-14 when the tax was introduced.
As a result lost rental income went up from £107million to £127million.
The 14,000-home Wythenshawe Community Housing Group in Manchester has lost £1million because of vacant properties.
WCHG chief executive Nigel Wilson said: “The awful consequences of the Bedroom Tax are hurting our tenants on a daily basis.”
Coast and Country Housing in Teesside is struggling to rent out some properties. And Cobalt Housing, with 6,000 family homes in Liverpool, has similar problems.
Boss Alan Rogers said: “We have perfectly good three-bedroom homes that people tell us they can’t afford to live in because of Bedroom Tax.”
Ms Reynolds added: “The Bedroom Tax is cruel, unfair and ineffective which is why a Labour Government will scrap it.”
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “There’s no evidence of a link between empty council homes and removing the spare room subsidy.”