Need far outstrips availability of homes

The number of people in Northumberland waiting for one-bedroom properties far outstrips the number of properties becoming available.

The waiting list for housing in Northumberland is around 10,000 and, according to information received following a Freedom of Information request, as of the June 30 this year, 5,622 applicants were eligible for one-bedroom properties.

This issue has become more immediate following changes to housing benefit - the so-called bedroom tax - which came into force in April this year. It means that anyone deemed to have one spare bedroom will lose 14 per cent of their benefit, while anyone with two or more will lose 25 per cent.

But while there are more than 5,000 waiting, just 180 studio/bedsits/one-bedroom properties were advertised to let during the last quarter of 2012/13 and 284 during the first quarter of this financial year.