Bedroom tax protests

Hundreds of people have staged a protest in Trafalgar Square against changes to the benefits system.

The so called bedroom tax, which is introduced next month, would see welfare payments deducted from households judged to have extra rooms.

Bedroom Tax: How much do you stand to lose?

The cut will be a fixed percentage of the Housing Benefit eligible rent. The Government has said that this will be set at 14% for one extra bedroom and 25% for two or more extra bedrooms.

The Government’s impact assessment shows that those affected will lose an average of £14 a week. Housing association tenants are expected to lose £16 a week on average.

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Bedroom Tax: Who will be affected?

All claimants who are deemed to have at least one spare bedroom will be affected. This includes:

  • 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.
  • 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.

Bedroom Tax: What do the changes mean?

The size criteria in the social rented sector will restrict housing benefit to allow for one bedroom for each person or couple living as part of the household, with the following exceptions:

  • Children under 16 of same gender expected to share.
  • Children under 10 expected to share regardless of gender
  • Disabled tenant or partner who needs non resident overnight carer will be allowed an extra bedroom

Mother seeks exemption from 'bedroom tax'

Tania Poppleton lives with her daughter in West London
Tania Poppleton lives with her daughter in West London

A mother is pleading to be exempted from the so-called "Bedroom Tax", so she can preserve the room of her son who died at the age of 10.

Tania Poppleton has a housing association home in Hampton, west London.

As we've reported before here on ITV London, rule changes are coming into force in April.

They mean that Tania and other families like hers will lose some of their housing benefit if they have rooms that are deemed to be un-used or spare.

She has said she has lost all faith in the system, because it fails to show any compassion for real people or individual stories. It simply wants to 'put her in a box' - whether she fits into it or not.

Department for Work and Pensions defends bedroom tax rules

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has defended their decision to implement a bedroom tax, but acknowledge that there are circumstances where some tenants should be exempt.

They told ITV News London that councils do have a discretionary fund to give to people who are "vulnerable" which is usually people who need a spare bedroom for a carer to stay or to store medical equipment.

They advised Tania to apply to the council and see if she qualifies as "vulnerable".

We are giving councils an extra £155m this year so that they can help their vulnerable tenants. It's only right that we bring fairness back to the system - when in England alone there are nearly 2 million households on the social housing waiting list and over a quarter of a million tenants are living in overcrowded homes.

– A DWP spokesperson

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