Fed warns bedroom tax vote will increase poverty
The government’s rejection of proposals to protect vulnerable people from the bedroom tax risks pushing thousands of families in social housing into poverty, it has been warned.
David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said that a vote in the House of Commons which rejected Lords amendments to the Welfare Reform Bill penalised vulnerable families.
The government plans to use the Bill to cut the housing benefit of any working-age social tenant deemed to be underoccupying their social home - a bedroom tax that would see tenants lose up to £22 a week.
Last week the Bill returned to the Lords where peers voted for an amendment to exempt disabled people, war widows and foster carers with nowhere else to move to. This amendment was voted out by a margin of 316 to 263 in the House of Commons last night.
Mr Orr said: ‘The financial cost of this modest compromise would have been tiny - a fraction of the money lost yearly through administrative error in the benefit system.
‘But the social impact of rejecting it will be devastating. This bedroom tax will hurt some of Britain’s most vulnerable families, forcing many into poverty.
‘Discretionary housing payments are not an appropriate response. The funds are insufficient and won’t even be ringfenced to protect those they are supposed to help.
‘We will be working hard with housing associations to make sure these unfair proposals do as little damage as possible to the lives of social housing tenants.’