At the Glasgow conference, the fringe meeting which had the greatest impact on me was one organised by the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations . It was chaired by our old friend Archy Kirkwood. The representatives there gave harrowing details of how it is impossible to implement the bedroom tax in anything other than a very long timescale (e.g 20 years) without grave hardship to tenants. There just isn’t the housing stock for tenants to move to.
One very good example given was the island of Islay. I quote from an earlier description of this example from evidence to Parliament by Alastair MacGregor:
If you take the island of Islay as an example, we have 329 properties on the island, of which only 66 are one-bedroom properties. Ten of them are sheltered housing, which is obviously allocated differently. We have 19 cases affected by the bedroom tax and our turnover of houses on Islay every year is 19, so our ability to respond in a local situation to move people is constrained. That is one of the challenges we find in a rural area. I think there is an urban-rural difference here. It may be easier in our urban conurbations to move people relatively closely because of more supply of one-bedroom properties, but in parts of rural Argyll that is very difficult indeed. It is a real concern to the housing association that we do not have that option