What is the government's controversial 'bedroom tax'?

Those living in social housing who are deemed to have a spare bedroom will be asked to downsize or face a cut in benefits from April. Photo: PA Wire

What is the so-called 'bedroom tax'?

  • Under controversial plans, those living in social housing who are deemed to have a spare bedroom will be asked to downsize or face a cut in benefits from April.
  • Ministers want to cut housing benefit by 14% for those deemed to have one extra bedroom and 25% for claimants with two or more spare bedrooms.

How many people will this affect?

  • The 'bedroom tax' will affect around 660,000 social housing tenants across the country.

Who will be affected?

  • Separated parents who share the care of their children and who may have been allocated an extra bedroom to reflect this. Benefit rules mean that there must be a designated ‘main carer’ for children (who receives the extra benefit).
  • Couples who use their spare bedroom when recovering from an illness or operation.
  • Foster carers because foster children are not counted as part of the household for benefit purposes.
  • Parents whose children visit but are not part of the household.
  • Families with disabled children.
  • Disabled people including people living in adapted or specially designed properties.

Source: The National Housing Federation

Why do the government want to cut housing benefit?

  • The government says the proposals will save money and help deal with a housing shortage by encouraging people to move out of homes that are too big for them.