More news on the truth behind the deferential treatment which The Independent gave to Labour's claims about the spare room subsidy cut. Highlighting Cornwall in particular, it claimed that those facing a cut in the spare room subsidy would find it impossible to downsize due to the shortage of vacant properties.
But the Guinness Hermitage Housing Association is busy arranging swaps in the county for those overcrowded in social housing properties. And Cornwall Council has got in touch about its own arrangements:
Cornwall Housing, along with a number of other social housing landlords, is working in partnership to provide tenants affected by under occupancy and overcrowding the opportunity to make contact through Homeswap and housing options and advice fairs' across Cornwall.
So far events have taken place in Camborne, Bodmin and Truro, and the next event is on Tuesday 3 September at Bude. The events have proved highly popular, with over 50 households attending each event, and it is hoped that a number of exchanges will take place following these events.
In addition to this Cornwall Housing's Welfare advisors, roles specifically created to support tenants affected by the welfare reform changes, are working with tenants on a regular basis supporting them to seek exchanges, register on Homechoice and deal with issues around debt and money management.
While the figure given by The Independent for the number in Cornwall affected by the spare room subsidy cut was 3,300, it didn't add that there are 3,580 families just in Cornwall Council properties, not counting the housing associations, who are overcrowded. Of those there are 435 in severe overcrowding – two bedrooms below the official minimum requirement. While The Independent and the Labour Party said that only 65 households could possibly downsize, already 72 have, just from Cornwall council properties. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, more will follow. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, more will respond by taking jobs or taking in lodgers.
In Cornwall, as in the rest of the country, the spare room subsidy is not just about cutting spending, but making better use of the housing available.