Monday, 26 September 2016

DWP rules out changes to bedroom tax

The Department for Work and Pensions has insisted there will be no change to the bedroom tax following reports that Iain Duncan Smith has asked officials to look at how the policy will affect disabled people.

The BBC reported last night that the work and pensions secretary has asked officials to look again at how the bedroom tax will affect disabled people. This followed concerns from several charities that disabled people who cannot share a bedroom and carers would be penalised.

However the DWP press office tweeted last night: ‘No change in spare bedroom policy, as with all reforms we will monitor closely as it comes in this April.’ A spokesperson for the department today insisted there is no plan to change the policy but its impacts will be monitored.

Under the bedroom tax social housing tenants of working age with spare bedrooms will have their benefit reduced by an average of £14 per week. The government estimates disabled people make up 420,000 of the 660,000 hit by the policy.

A court of appeal ruling last May found that housing benefit rules for private renters discriminate against disabled people. The Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 were found to be discriminatory because they do not allow benefit for an extra room where people cannot share because of disabilities. DWP is seeking to overturn the ruling, which lawyers warn could force changes to the bedroom tax policy.

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