May 18 2013 Latest news:
Lizzie Dearden, Reporter
Monday, March 11, 2013
Nearly two thirds of Redbridge residents expected to be hit by the new “bedroom tax” are disabled, it is predicted.
Calculations by the National Housing Federation, which represents social housing providers, show that 63 per cent of people who could lose money under proposals have a disability.
From the start of next month, working-age housing benefit and universal credit claimants living in social housing will lose benefits if they are deemed to have a spare bedroom.
Foster children will not be counted so any room they occupy would be subject to the tax.
But disabled tenants who need overnight carers will be allowed an extra room.
Those with one “extra bedroom” will have 14 per cent of the benefit paid towards rent cut and those with two or more will lose 25 per cent.
Using Department of Work and Pensions figures, the National Housing Federation calculated that 885 Redbridge households would be affected, with the average annual loss being £777 with one extra room and £1,387 for two or more.
The DWP estimate that 63 per cent of affected Housing Benefit claimants are disabled – equating to 558 in Redbridge.
Redbridge disabled parents’ forum Interface is concerned about the impact on families.
Member Mary Busk said: “We know the broad reasons for this national change, but it will impact adversely and negatively on families with disabled children.
“They may have adapted bedrooms or their behaviour and lack of ability to sleep may mean that having a separate bedroom is the only way to survive as a family, as is the case in many of our own families.”
Interface has written to work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith on the issue.
The DWP is giving councils an extra £155million this year to help tenants, including £30m for disabled people and foster carers.
A spokesman said: “It’s only right that we bring fairness back to the system, when in England alone there are nearly two million households on the social housing waiting list and over a quarter of a million tenants are living in overcrowded homes.”