Since the controversial policy was introduced in April 2013, it has had a disproportionate impact on disabled people, affecting two thirds of households that have disabled residents-some of whom need the extra space to store essential medical equipment or accommodate an overnight carer.
The ‘bedroom tax’ was intended to encourage people on housing benefit to downsize to a smaller property therefore making bigger homes more available for larger families. However the distinct shortage in the amount of smaller homes has made this policy untenable; one of the reports key findings revealed that only 5% of those 523,000 people affected moved into new, suitable accommodation due to the shortage.
Similarly the report also revealed almost 3 out of 5 of people affected (over 300,000 people) are now in arrears because of the policy and have made significant cutbacks to household basics such as skipping meals and turning off heating during winter months to reduce the energy bill.
More specifically, the report reveals a number of concerns raised by landlords and local agencies on the number of disabled people in adapted homes that have not been awarded Discretionary Housing Payment (which covers housing benefit and rent shortfalls) because the disability benefit they receive-which helps to cover extra costs of having a long-term disability or health condition, is considered as ‘income’ causing them to fail means testing.
In the latest development since the report’s publication the Liberal Democrat party have called for the tax to be scrapped ahead of next year’s General Election.
To read the report, which was carried out by Ipsos MORI and the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research on behalf of the DWP, can be accessed here.
To read Livability’s previous statement on the Spare Room Subsidy: