'Bedroom tax could cripple me', says father
Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities, Local Government
'Bedroom tax could criple me', says father
Housing association Bromford is calling for choice and incentives for customers, not penalties, as a planned ‘bedroom tax’ is discussed in the House of Commons today.
If unchanged, 670,000 social tenants - two-thirds containing a disabled family member - face losing an average of £13 per week because they are deemed to have one or more additional bedrooms.
Bromford - which manages 26,000 homes - is concerned that under current plans, low-income families across the country will be hit because their homes are deemed too large.
The group has highlighted the case of one of its tenants Jamie Cater from Welshpool who moved to a three-bedroom home with his son and daughter, Ewan and Leigh-Ann, after his previous flat was deemed unfit for purpose by social services.
Ewan is autistic and needs his own room. Jamie said: “If this goes ahead, it would force Ewan and Leigh-Ann to be in the same bedroom. This would have such a detrimental effect on Leigh-Ann – when they were together previously, Ewan created so much damage.”
As Jamie has also split up with the children’s mum, he is required to provide a minimum amount of hours respite and without adequate accommodation he wouldn’t be able to see his children.
He said: “I love my children, I don’t want to lose them. I don’t know how I would provide a good life for them – I’m out of work and this tax could just cripple me.”
Bromford argues that Jamie is in a no-win situation. If he moves to a smaller home he loses respite opportunities, if he stays he loses money and can’t afford to support his children.
“It’s disgusting, it’s not fair, especially with a special needs son.”
More than 70 family, disability and housing organisations have written a joint letter to MPs urging them to back an amendment to the Welfare Reform Bill that would exempt families with only one 'spare bedroom' from housing benefit cuts in 2013.
Welfare reform minister Lord Freud has pledged an additional £30 million a year to the discretionary housing payment budget from 2013-14, in support of the introduction of the size criteria into the social rented sector from April 2013.
He said the cash - which could assist around 40,000 cases - would be used to keep foster carers and disabled people who have adapted properties in their homes.