UN 'bedroom tax' apology

UN Special Rapporteur for housing Raquel Rolnik has apologised for using the term "bedroom tax" when she criticised the Government for what it terms the "spare room subsidy". The Conservative party complained to Ban Ki-Moon about the remarks.

UN rapporteur sorry for using term 'bedroom tax'

The UN Special Rapporteur for housing Raquel Rolnik has apologised for using the term "bedroom tax" when she criticised what the Government has officially termed the "spare room subsidy".

In a discussion with Conservative Party chairman Grant Schapps on Channel 4 News, she said:

Bedroom tax is a nickname that everyone is using and I apologise for using the nickname that everybody in the UK, since the first day that I arrived here, was using.

– raquel rolnick, un special rapporteur

Read: Tory chairman: UN showed 'bias' in 'bedroom tax' probe

Tory chairman: UN showed 'bias' in 'bedroom tax' probe

The chairman of the Conservative party Grant Schapps has asked the UN Secretary General to look into why one of his rapporteurs made disparaging remarks about the so-called bedroom tax months before a report on the controversial policy was due.

Read: UN investigator: 'Bedroom tax' a 'shocking' policy

In a letter to Ban Ki-Moon, Mr Schapps accuses Raquel Rolnik of showing "political bias" on a fact-finding mission to the UK:

I believe that the Special Rapporteur's report has been influenced by political bias and suggest that the UN withdraw her claims pendign a full investigation.

Ms. Rolnik's investigation lasted for less than 12 days. In the course of this investigation, not once did Ms. Rolnik request a meeting with the Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions, nor anyone within the Department ... nor did she request any detailed policy analysis from the Department.

– Grant Shapps, Conservative Party Chairman

He also accuses her of taking part in a photo opportunity with a Scottish newspaper, the Daily Record, which has "actively campaigned" against the policy.

Read the whole letter here

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UN investigator: 'Bedroom tax' a 'shocking' policy

The Government's so-called "bedroom tax" is a "shocking" policy which should be scrapped, an United Nations investigator has said.

Housing benefit claimants deemed to have spare rooms have had their benefit cut. Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire

Housing benefit claimants have their benefit cut by 14% for those deemed to have one extra bedroom and 25% for claimants with two or more spare bedrooms.

In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, Raquel Rolnik, who has been on a fact-finding visit to Britain, said: "My immediate recommendation is that the bedroom tax is abolished."

"I was very shocked to hear how many people feel abused in their human rights by this decision and why - being so vulnerable - they should pay for the cost of the economic downturn, which was brought about by the financial crisis."

Ms Rolnik's visit - at the invitation of the Government - has taken in trips to London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast and Manchester.

Read: What is the government's controversial 'bedroom tax'