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  1. This is what DWP said to MSPs article from Evening times: http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/dwp-man-told-you-are-talking-claptrap-124288n.21068511 TENANTS hit by the bedroom tax should either move, get a job, increase their hours or take in a lodger, it was claimed today. Pete Searle, Department of Work in Pensions, Strategy Director, based in London, stunned MSPs when he said there were smaller homes available. He told the Welfare Reform Committee four ways in which people could deal with the changes, which was then dismissed by one MSP as "claptrap". Mr Searle said: "There are 148 one-bedroom properties in the social sector in Scotland. There were 24,000 new lets in the sector, there are properties there. "Not perhaps all sitting empty at April 1 but there's been plenty of time to prepare for that. "There are a number of responses housing associations and individuals could make. Downsizing is one. "They could take up work in some cases, increase their hours or take in a lodger. "They can use the private sector and some people will choose to make up the shortfall. "I'm not saying this is easy but there are options." MSPs on the committee were outraged by the suggestions. Linda Fabiani, SNP MSP, branded it, "nonsense," and had to be asked by the committee convenor to let Mr Searle continue. Annabelle Ewing, SNP MSP, said it was like "Alice in Wonderland" Kevin Stewart, SNP MSP said: "I've never heard so much claptrap in all my life." Information from the largest housing association in Glasgow and a look at the labour market cast doubt on Mr Searle's assertions. Estimates in the city showed 15,000 homes will be liable for the cut of either 14% for one room or 25% for two or more, costing an average of £52 per month. Glasgow Housing Association estimates 6000 of their tenants would be affected and has a £16m plan to buy up to 300 smaller properties on the open market to meet increased demand. GHA said it currently has only 86 one-bedroom flats available for rent in the city. NG Homes in the north of the city said it had 1321 one-bedroom properties in total. It had only 15 which were currently empty, but some were under offer. A spokesman said: "Our void turn-around is five days and we don't have a lot of properties sitting empty." Queens Cross Housing Association said it had let out 112 one-bedroom flats in the whole of last year out of its stock of 1910 one-bedroom lets. The latest unemployment figures show Glasgow had the fourth highest level of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance at 5.7%, higher than the Scottish rate of 4.1% and the UK rate of 3.9% In Maryhill and Springburn the rate is 7.5%, the highest in Scotland. Many new jobs are part-time in the service sector, with studies and anecdotal evidence showing people want to work more hours but can't, with many having their working hours cut. The Office for National Statistics reported between 2008 and 2012 the number of workers who wanted to work more hours increased by 1 million. to more than 3 million. A recent poll by IPSOS Mori found 40% of people in work said they would take on more hours if they could. Michael McMahon, Welfare Reform Committee convener said: "There was a clear difference between the evidence the Committee has gathered on the demand and availability of social housing in Scotland and the DWP's understanding. "This is incredibly worrying. We will continue to push for answers." New Gorbals Housing Association let 20 one-bedroom flats in the last six months and have 1500 people looking to move into one-bed homes. It estimates 400 of its 2700 tenants are affected.
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