The BBC reports that Welfare secretary Iain Duncan Smith has instructed officials to “look again”
at how the “bedroom tax” will affect disabled people. Read the original story here.
Widely publicised plans informed us that social housing tenants’ benefits will reduce if a home has one or more spare bedrooms.
Thanks to a number of charities giving a loud, clear message telling the government that couples who could not share a bedroom
because of a disability would be unfairly penalised. Mr Duncan Smith said he understood the concerns.
He has told the BBC “instructions have been issued to officials at the Department of Work and Pensions saying, “let’s look at this again”.
Yesterday, the chief executives of seven charities – Carers UK, MS Society, Mencap, Macmillan Cancer Support, Disability Rights UK, Carers Trust and Contact a Family - wrote an open letter to Chancellor George Osborne and Mr Duncan Smith.
They all expressed their concerns about the impact of the new policy on disabled people and families caring for disabled family members.
Heléna Herklots, chief executive of Carers UK said the changes would hit families for whom an extra bedroom was essential.
“If you care full-time for a severely ill or disabled partner, their condition may mean a separate room for you to sleep is vital.
Disabled children often cannot share with their brothers or sisters,” she said.
“Hitting carers and disabled people with extra costs for this essential accommodation, or forcing them to move is simply wrong.”
The charity said government figures showed the tax would affect 420,000 people. It said its analysis showed extra funding from government to provide “discretionary payments” to families hit by the policy would only protect 10% of the disabled people affected.
BBC home editor Mark Easton said Mr Duncan Smith recognised that one obstacle to changing the rules was how to identify people who might qualify for exemption.
However, if a solution was found it might be in place before the charge is introduced in April, our correspondent reports.
Under the government’s so-called “size criteria”, families will be assessed for the number of bedrooms they actually need.
The change affects council tenants, and those renting from housing associations, of working age who receive housing benefit.
It does not affect claimants who rent in the private sector.
Tenants in social housing will have their benefit reduced by 14% if they have a spare bedroom or 25% if they have two or more extra rooms.
Are you disabled? Are you a tenant in social housing? What do you think about the bedroom tax?
May be you could write a comment in the box below, tell us what you think, how you will be affected.
If you want feel apprehensive about writing the comment for fear of being identified, then email us at
[email protected] and we can put the comment for you.
By way of a reminder we have a meeting on Wednesday 13th March 2013 at Mears Group, Hartleys Business
Park, Monkmoor Shrewsbury 10.30 am to start at 11 am and finish by 1 pm. Topic Welfare Reforms and how they will
affect you! This meeting is one not to be missed so please come along, there will be a lot of information to share.