Latest Public Sector News

04.03.13

‘Perverse’ bedroom tax means £100m disability spending gap – NHF

Disabled and vulnerable people must be exempt from the bedroom tax, the National Housing Federation has told the Government.

Support pledged for those who will be hit by the bedroom tax through the fund for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) has left a gap of over £100m for disabled people.

Around 230,000 disabled people receiving DLA will lose an average of £728 each per year, with the DHP funding totaling just 6% of cuts to housing benefits.

Additionally, 100,000 disabled people who will be hit by the bedroom tax are living in specially adapted homes which means that moving them into different accommodation will still require further funding to make them accessible.

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: “This perverse tax is doing exactly what the Government promised they wouldn’t – hitting the most vulnerable people in our society. They are being penalised for a weak housing policy that for years has failed to build enough affordable homes and reduce the housing benefit bill.

“The bedroom tax is ill-thought and unfair as thousands of disabled people will have no choice but to cut back further on food and other expenses in order to stay in their own homes. The ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach takes no account of disabled people’s adapted homes, of foster parents who need rooms to take children in, or of parents sharing custody who will lose the room for their child at weekends.

“It is also incompetent as it will cost the nation money rather than saving it. The Government must repeal this ill-conceived policy, but at the very least right now it must exempt disabled and other vulnerable people from these cuts.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

Comments

Ann Berry   04/03/2013 at 12:35

I urge the Government to urgenlty look at the bedroom tax for disabled people. Many people are wheel chair bound and have had their homes altered to accommodate this, others are blind and are familiar with the layout of their home, others have specialist equipment fitted. funding should not be taken away from these and other vunerable people as they need to constantly update and repair equipment as well as pay for specialist care.

David Head   04/03/2013 at 13:00

My local MP recently defended the bedroom tax in the local newspaper in an article that reads like a press statement from Conservative Central Office. Now that the National Housing Federation has come out with a cogent critique of the tax, now is the time to smoke out pro-bedroom-tax MPs' views and to challenge them in the letters to editors columns and via Twitter. There are easily enough people likely to be negatively affected by the tax to make this into a high-profile national campain, especially as the National Housing Federation is blowing wind into the sails.

Noel Lynch   04/03/2013 at 13:41

It is difficult to find any credible motive for pursuing this agenda other than it being an easy target for the government to focus on. The arguments against this measure seem obvious to everyone but the MP's. Whenever MP's make bold statements about how they will clamp down on spongers and those making fraudulent benefit claims, there is naturally a wave of support from all tax payers. The expectation being that they will undertake to expose those who are selfishly working the system to their own benefit with total disregard for others, yet time and time again the ideas they come up with only target those who have a legitimate claim but can be "squeezed" in order to put a few pennies into the public coffers whilst bringing enormous distress to a vulnerable community.

Cllr Susan Prochak   04/03/2013 at 20:25

As already noted, this is a regressive move. It begs so many questions on an individual basis. Today I had a phone call from a resident, who will be hit by this tax and her extra bedroom is no more than a box room. Her son in two years' time will reach 16 when he qualifies for his own room. What does she do meanwhile?

Alex B   06/03/2013 at 09:46

Great article, well done.

Adam Busby   06/03/2013 at 10:04

Hi Cllr Susan Prochak, I understand that if a small bedroom is 70 sq ft or less it is classed as a BOXROOM, Therefore it cannot be charged bedroom tax, this is listed under The Housing Act 1985, section 326. The Housing Act 1985 cannot be changed by law.

Tim H   11/03/2013 at 10:28

Hello Adam Busby - any Act of Parliament can be changed - amended, repealed or replaced. That's a fundamental principle of our parliamentary system - no parliament's decisions can be binding on a future parliament.

Roger   08/04/2013 at 13:30

Oh spare me, a self accounted benefit (paid for by those of us stupid enough not to have 15 children on the State) is called a "Bedroom Tax" by mega-rich Labour Party members? Scuse me but I have paid more Council Tax for years because I choose to live in a larger house that I probably need. But I (note the "I") pay for that and not the taxpayer. Good to see the Labour Party supporting its core vote, those who scrounge off the working population. Took you 13 years to destroy our economy and now you whinge!!!!!

Roger   08/04/2013 at 19:04

Oh spare me, a self accounted benefit (paid for by those of us stupid enough not to have 15 children on the State) is called a "Bedroom Tax" by mega-rich Labour Party members? Scuse me but I have paid more Council Tax for years because I choose to live in a larger house that I probably need. But I (note the "I") pay for that and not the taxpayer. Good to see the Labour Party supporting its core vote, those who scrounge off the working population. Took you 13 years to destroy our economy and now you whinge!!!!!

Phil   22/07/2013 at 17:23

Live in an area of council estates as I do and you will realise how much grass roots support there is for this policy. It's always possible to find specific cases who will be negatively affected, and we should do our best to help where we can (something many councils are doing a competent job of). But for every one of these, there are dozens of families on the council waiting list living in crowded or expensive accommodation, who simply cannot understand why single people are being paid to live in larger family houses they no longer need or would qualify for if they applied for them today.

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