SFHA echoes UN Special Rapporteur’s call for repeal of ‘bedroom tax’
Published by SFHA for Scottish Federation Of Housing Associations in Housing and also in Central Government, Local Government, Universal Credit
The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has today (Wednesday 11th September) welcomed the findings of UN Special Rapporteur, Raquel Rolnik into the impact of the ‘bedroom tax’ on the human rights of people in low-income households.
The SFHA, which met with Ms Rolnik during her visit to the UK, believes that the ‘bedroom tax’ is a deeply flawed policy which is causing widespread disruption across the social housing sector in Scotland and agrees with her that it should be repealed immediately.
Mary Taylor, Chief Executive of the SFHA said:
“The ‘bedroom tax’ is having disastrous consequences on the lives of tenants and the businesses of social landlords. That is why we have been calling for it to be repealed.”
“The policy ignores the structural mismatch between the profile of housing stock and households. The plain fact is that tenants can’t readily downsize because there simply isn’t the supply of smaller, alternative properties for them to move into.”
“The ‘bedroom tax’ aims to reduce Housing Benefit spend, but it could actually result in higher spending as tenants are forced to migrate from cheaper, larger social rented properties to smaller but more expensive private rented sector properties.
“It is driving up rent arrears in the social housing sector, which is reducing the revenues available to maintain existing social housing stock. It is also increasing rent collection costs, which have to be paid from rental income. It is actually undermining the long-term viability of social housing providers across the UK.
Ms Taylor continued:
“Housing supply is not a tap – it cannot be turned on and off at will without having consequences in future years. Building one-bedroom units in the long run may be a big mistake – a reasonable supply is needed, but they should not be the main focus of development to create balanced communities. Housing investment has to be geared to meet both existing and future housing needs and this relies on a steady income stream.
“The bottom line is that we have a shortage of suitable, affordable homes to rent in this country. It’s a long-term problem which needs sensible solutions such as a long-term commitment to building the homes our country needs, rather than putting tenants at risk of poverty or potential homelessness via wrong-headed policies such as the ‘bedroom tax’.”
Media contact: Kirsten Walker on 0141 567 6221 or m: 0788 788 8348 or email@example.com
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1. The SFHA was established in 1976 and has around 119 members providing affordable housing and wider community services in Scotland, as well as a further 200 commercial members. The SFHA is owned by its membership and exists to support the work of housing associations and co-operatives in Scotland by providing services, advice and good practice guidance.
2. The SFHA is the voice of the principal builders and managers of new affordable housing for rent in Scotland. Housing Associations own and manage around 40% of the country’s affordable rented housing stock, over a quarter of a million homes across Scotland.
3. Housing associations and co-operatives are not-for-profit bodies regulated by the Scottish Housing Regulator.