The Ministerial statement and widely reported U-turn on the Bedroom Tax does nothing to alleviate concern about the impact of the Bedroom Tax on disabled people.
Couples where one individual has to sleep in a hospital bed and the couple cannot share a room will be penalised for having an “extra” bedroom.
The bedroom tax, due to be implemented in April, will penalise households in social housing deemed to have more bedrooms than they require. About 670,000 households will face a 14% cut in housing benefit for the first bedroom deemed surplus to requirements and 25% for two or more bedrooms. The government estimates the average household affected will lose £14 a week (Source: Guardian).
The Government seems to say that everything is fine because disabled people will be able to apply for discretionary housing payment from their local council and any shortfalls will be addressed – everything is hunky dory. WRONG!
On Page 68 of the 2012 Autumn Statement, the Government makes a positive move to exempt people in supported accommodation from the bedroom tax but they pay for it using money allocated for Discretionary Housing Payments!
That’s a £15 million reduction in Discretionary Housing Payments up to 2017 and front loaded so that £10 million is taken out in the first two years!!!
However, DHP is a funding pot that people have to apply for every year, it is non-statutory and if it runs out, that is it. Reducing it is concerning and makes the future uncertain for disabled people.