Saturday, 07 March 2015

Lords fear bedroom tax will hurt disabled tenants

Peers have raised concerns about the impact of the bedroom tax on disabled people – and said discretionary housing payments will do little to help the problem.

Peers debated the housing benefit regulations in the House of Lords on Monday. The regulations introduce the bedroom tax, which will see an estimated 660,000 social housing tenants with spare rooms docked an average of £14 per week in housing benefit. The government estimates the policy will save £500 million a year.

The Department for Work and Pensions estimates 420,000 of the 660,000 affected will be disabled people.

The government has made an additional £25 million a year available for people who have had their homes significantly adapted and a further £5 million for foster carers, but peers believe this will not be sufficient.

Labour peer Lord William McKenzie said: ‘It is accepted that 420,000 of the 660,000 households affected… contain a family member with a disability. On what basis did the government consider the addition of a £30 million a year DHP pot to be sufficient to address the needs of a disabled tenant?’

Another Labour peer, Patricia Hollis, sarcastically described the £30 million of DHPs as ‘brilliant’. She said: ‘I calculate that my local authority might get £200,000 in DHPs. It has something like 20,000 families in social rented accommodation, half of whom may be pensioners and half of whom may be other tenants, and two-thirds of whom will be on housing benefit, so we are talking about 6,000 tenants, of whom perhaps half will be regarded as underoccupying.

‘That money will stretch to one year’s worth of help for 250 people at £750 a year.’

Liberal Democrat Lord Archy Kirkwood, said: ‘I was taken aback by the extent to which the client group [disabled people] will be affected by this policy change. I wish that I had known it during the passage of the bill.’

Welfare reform minister Lord David Freud said it does not necessarily follow that the daily lives of the 420,000 people are affected by their disabilities. He said: ‘Lords will accept that, as unpalatable as these measures are, we have found the best balanced way of reducing the housing bill, which is simply enormous now.

‘It requires a response from local authorities, housing associations and tenants but one that, in the majority of cases, these groups will be able to make. There will be hard cases.

‘Let us hope we have put enough resource into looking after various hard cases.’

Readers' comments (30)

  • Christopher Dale

    "Liberal Democrat Lord Archy Kirkwood, said: ‘I was taken aback by the extent to which the client group [disabled people] will be affected by this policy change. I wish that I had known it during the passage of the bill.'"

    It does help if you stay awake through debates Lord Kirkwood. Isn't one of your tasks to scrutinise proposed legislation and consider its potential effects? Either you were asleep, or didn't participate in debates through the shame of what your party has conspired in.

    As for Lord Freud, the HB bill will continue to soar thanks to your party's mistaken reliance on the private rented sector, so please don't dress the bedroom tax up as anything other than what it is - a measure to penalise the vulnerable. If you moved away from the prinicple of shovelling vast quantities of public cash into the hands of private landlords and built some truly affordable housing, then you may start to make headway. I won't be holding my breath.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • simon ryan

    i dont think it could of been said better iron fist , but you have to remember we have to make these cuts so politcians and lords can at least kip in comfort while they rip of and destroy the back bone of the country the people who built it in the first place

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Brian C Kent

    Iron Fist | 17/10/2012 9:21 am and simon ryan | 17/10/2012 9:56 am


    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Chris


    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Patricia Cross

    How convenient that Ex banker Freud did not give out the true facts of how this bedroom tax will impact on the poorer of society. It’s a bit late now for the lords to raise concerns now, they should never have allowed it to be passed in the first place. Do the lords care about the disabled, the sick, the unemployed. Do they hell.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I suffer with severe epilepsy and stand to lose my home of 12 years over this bedroom tax

    my first flat was 2 bed (that's all I was offered)and it was a rat infested hell hole (took 2 years to get re-housed).........because of the effect on my health it has I was then given a medical award to be moved, this award stated I needed a 2 bed

    this time i was given my current house and me and my partner have made it a home now we stand to lose it because we have a spare room that we didn't ask for

    £48 pcm we will have to pay to stay here

    on top of that I have ATOS to contend with every few months because in all their wisdom the decide I will be better in 6 months from a condition i was born with and next year I will have to fight for my DLA

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Bill Pearson

    We recently had two of our long serving tenants come to us regarding a letter they had received from the housing association regarding over occupation of a 3 bedroom house. They were offered a 1 bedroom flat. The lady has severe asthma and needs a separate bedroom. We gave them the forms for mutual exchange which were not available in the local office as there was the possibility of exchanging for a 2 bed house near them. Why was this not highlighted when they visited the local office? Lack of proper staff training yet again.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • i have been left disabled from no fault of my own, doctors butchered me and i have been house bound for nearly five years, my 20 daughter has just moved out of my two bed house which i have lived in for 18 years, i have now been told that i will have to move to god knows were because of all this, only one way out for me as ive been fighting for years with the doctors about my condition and has left me severely depressed, i know they have to make cuts, but hit the people who try and get into are country first etc. they give to much money away and should keep Britain safe and secure first.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • all this will do is make people avoid social housing and opt for private Landlords and this will cost them more in HB

    They should case these corporations like Startbucks who avoid millions in tax via loopholes and stop stealing what little us disabled have.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Good to see we can still blame immigrants and large corporates for the world's ills!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 per page | 20 per page | 50 per page

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

sign in register

Newsletter Sign-up




  • Downsizing with the bedroom tax

    17 July 2014

    The price for underoccupying a home is high for many vulnerable people. Jess McCabe visits Stoke-on-Trent to find out how landlords are attempting to help

IH Subscription