WALES may be at risk of a Christmas homelessness crisis due to the early effects of the ‘bedroom tax’, it is feared.

Official figures on the number of repossessions between April to June 2013, following the introduction of the ‘bedroom tax’, show more tenants are at risk of eviction.

The number of landlord possession claims rose by 11 per cent and the number of possession orders issued increased by 16 per cent, compared to the same period last year.

The statistics also show an increase of 6.5 per cent in the number of eviction warrants issued in the private rented sector. Plaid Cymru warned that as energy costs increase, the bedroom tax could bring “devastation” to many families by Christmas. A spokeswoman for Blaenau Gwent said: “In Blaenau Gwent this reform is likely to affect about 1,500 residents. Around 76 per cent of the affected residents will see their eligible rent reduced by 14 per cent while 24 per cent will see the reduction at the 25 per cent rate.” A Welsh Government spokesman said: “We know that people across Wales are suffering real hardship. We have allocated funding to ensure that people on low income continue to receive council tax benefit.” A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions said: “We have made £6.2m available to Welsh councils to support vulnerable people, with an additional £880,000 available to help those in rural parts of Wales.”