The Department for Work and Pensions has said pensioners claiming housing benefit now will not be affected by the Government's "bedroom tax".
We want to reassure pensioners claiming housing benefit that they will not be affected by this policy now, or when Universal Credit begins, even if one partner is below pension age.
He confirmed however that this would not apply to new claimants after that time.
A poll for the Sunday People newspaper found that voters believed - by a majority of 46% to 35% - that the principle of the change was "only fair" at a time of economic austerity.
But clear overall majorities said that its implementation should be delayed for a rethink on how to implement it (52%), that it should only apply if people refused smaller homes (60) and that it should not apply at all to Army families with children away on active service (77%).
Some pensioners with spare rooms will be hit by reductions in housing benefit under what critics dub the Government's "bedroom tax", the Department of Work and Pensions confirmed.
Existing claimants in homes where someone of working age also lives have been spared the welfare cut, but new claimants under the Universal Credit scheme will face deductions.
Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne told the Sunday People, which uncovered the different status of new claimants, that the prime Minister needed to "get a grip".
Ministers promised to protect pensioners from the bedroom tax, but thousands are set to lose out.
David Cameron had better get a grip fast, before this scheme descends into total chaos.
A new ComRes poll for The Sunday People reveals that a significant minority of the British public want the so-called 'bedroom tax' to be abandoned.
- 45% of those interviewed said the benefit cut should be abolished, and David Cameron should think of other ways to save money.
- Of those interviewed 65% of Labour voters want it to be abolished.
The poll revealed widespread public concern about how the policy would be implemented.
- Six in ten (60%) of the public say no one should lose housing benefit unless they refuse to move into suitable smaller accomodation
- More than three quarters (77%) think that Army families should be excluded from paying, if their children are away on tours of duty.
A new ComRes poll for The Sunday People reveals that most of the British public want David Cameron to delay the so-called 'bedroom tax' due to come into force in April.
- 52% of those interviewed said David Cameron should delay the 'bedroom tax' from going ahead.
- 35% of those who think it should be delayed are Conservative voters.
- 28% think it should go ahead in April
A family living in social housing with a severely disabled daughter have been told they must pay extra for her to have her own room, under the government's new so-called 'bedroom tax'.
Dianne and Tony live in a three bedroom home with their two daughters: 3-year-old Shanice and 15-year-old Stephanie. Stephanie suffers from severe mobility, speech and language problems and requires 24-hour care.
The government says the girls should share a room, but the family say this is simply not possible, and the changes will mean they will be put under "unbearable" financial pressure.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has defended controversial plans to charge social housing tenants for spare rooms in their homes, or ask them to move into smaller homes saying it will help those on social housing waiting lists, and families living in overcrowded homes. A spokesman said:
We are giving councils an extra £155m this year so that they can help their vulnerable tenants including £30m to support disabled people and foster carers.
?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.
Foster carers are among the people who are likely to be hit by what critics have dubbed the government's 'bedroom tax'.
Under the new guidelines, any extra bedrooms in foster carers' home will be regarded as spare rooms, even if they are occupied by children in their care.
ITV News' Correspondent Sejal Karia reports:
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) say they do not want the new charges for social housing tenants with a spare room (the so-called 'bedroom tax') to discourage people from becoming foster parents. A spokesperson said:
We've provided £30 million to councils to ensure that groups like foster carers and disabled people are protected. We don’t want this measure to discourage people from becoming foster carers, and an additional £30m was allocated to the discretionary housing payment budget from April 2013.
The £30 million is part of a broader £155 million budget to support people in difficult situations, and is specifically targeted at two groups:
- disabled people who live in significantly adapted accommodation; the extra funding will enable them to remain in their existing homes
- foster carers, including those who need to keep an extra room when they are in between fostering