Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Tenants urge minister to think again about 'bedroom tax'

Lisa and Brett say they have to sleep in separate rooms because of Lisa's illness Photo: ITV News

A disabled woman and her partner have written to Work Secretary Iain Duncan Smith begging him to rethink plans to cut benefits for social housing tenants who are deemed to have a spare room.

Lisa suffers from Cerebral Palsy and requires around-the-clock care from her partner Brett.

The couple live in a specially-adapted bungalow, and under new government plans they may be required to pay £21.85 per week for their second bedroom.

Watch ITV News Reporter Sejal Karia's original report from Lisa and Brett's home:

Their letter to Mr Duncan Smith points out they need the extra bedroom because Lisa's condition means they cannot share a bed:

Due to the nature of my disability I am in constant pain and my legs have a lot of spasms. In order for my partner to get some quality sleep in between getting up to help me and so he can care for me the next day, he sleeps in our second bedroom.

Lisa and Brett believe they are being unfairly singled out because they are a couple, and therefore expected to share a bedroom.

They point out that if her main carer was a relative, rather than Brett, they would be entitled to keep their second bedroom.

"There are other people in my area who ... have their sister or mother providing their overnight care [so] they are not affected by the new changes, but because he is my partner we have to pay."

The change could end up costing the local authorities a lot more money than the rent on a second bedroom if they have to provide the overnight care that the people like my partner do out of love ...

We would also like to invite you to come and meet us to see first-hand how the ‘bedroom tax’ is going to affect us and many others in similar situation.

Lisa and Brett wrote to Work Secretary Ian Duncan Smith urging him to rethink the measure Credit: REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

The Department for Work and Pensions responded to their letter advising them to check whether they are eligible for Discretionary Housing Payments to help them cover the cost.

The government says an extra £155 million has been set aside this year to help "vulnerable tenants", with £30 million specifically earmarked for disabled people and foster carers.

With over a quarter of a million tenants living in overcrowded homes and 2 million on housing waiting lists, we need to end the spare room subsidy and ensure a better use of social housing.

– spokesman, department for work and pensions

More on this story