The TUC funded group False Economy has discovered that the cut in spare room subsidy has caused an increase in rent arrears. This is unfortunate but not surprising. The change will be difficult in the short term while the tenants affected make adjustments in their arrangements. Whether taking in a lodger, getting a job, or moving to a smaller property, there will be a period of time before matters are sorted out.
Of course many started planning before April when the changes came in but it is human nature that others delay making changes as long as possible. It is right to offer transitional help.
Labour seems to have shifted towards calling for the spare room subsidy to be restored. The Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Liam Byrne says: "This is the final proof, as if we needed it, that the hated tax must be dropped and dropped now."
I suppose at the next election Labour could say: "Yes we did want it dropped in 2013 but it is now 2015 and so it should be kept - the time to drop it has passed." I think that would be a difficult message. Probably we have that rare sighting: a Labour policy.
So how would Labour pay for reinstatement of the spare room subsidy? The Government modestly estimated that it would save about £540 million a year. That assumes that 660,000 households stay where they are, don't change their behaviour, but simply find the extra £15 a week in rent (on average) by cutting their spending on other things.