The minister in charge of the controversial 'spare room subsidy' welfare reform will not be in the Commons to defend it today.
Ed Miliband has revealed that Labour would scrap the coalition's controversial 'bedroom tax' if his party won the next General Election.
A disabled woman and her partner have written to a minister urging a rethink on plans to cut benefits for tenants deemed to have spare rooms
TUC figures suggest one in three council tenants affect by the so-called bedroom tax have been tipped into rent arrears.
Since the reform was introduced in April, 50,000 households in 114 local council areas can no longer afford to pay for their accommodation - 31% of those affected, the False Economy group claimed.
The figures, obtained by the TUC-backed False Economy campaign using freedom of information requests, showed some parts of Britain suffering far more than others.
- Barrow: 75%
- Clackmannanshire: 67%
- Tamworth: 52%
- South Kesteven: 51%
- Rotherham: 50%
National Housing Federation chief executive David Orr - who will set out his criticisms in a speech to the Federation's conference - said:
This is the most damning evidence yet to show that the bedroom tax is pushing thousands of families into a spiralling cycle of debt.
If these figures are replicated nationwide, over 330,000 households could already be struggling to pay their rent and facing a frightening and uncertain future.
What's more, people can't even move to smaller homes to avoid the bedroom tax because there aren't enough smaller properties out there.
Housing associations are working flat-out to help their tenants cope with the changes, but they can't magic one-bedroom houses out of thin air. People are trapped.
What more proof do politicians need that the bedroom tax is an unfair, ill-planned disaster that is hurting our poorest families? There is no other option but to repeal.
Ministers say private sector renters do not get spare rooms for free, and argue the change will save around £500 million annually.
Tory chairman Grant Shapps previously wrote to UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon demanding an apology after his special rapporteur on housing Raquel Rolnik said the reform was causing "great stress and anxiety" to "very vulnerable" people.
The National Housing Federation found that a quarter of tenants affected by the reform in 38 housing associations it questioned went into arrears for the first time between April and June.
Just over half (51%) of the 63,578 tenants of 51 housing associations were unable to meet their rent payments in the first months of the new system.
One in four households hit by the so-called "bedroom tax" has been pushed into rent arrears for the first time, the body representing housing associations said.
National Housing Federation chief executive David Orr said the figures underlined demands for the housing benefit cut to be scrapped to prevent families entering a "spiralling cycle of debt".
Under the Government's welfare reform, social tenants deemed to have more bedrooms than they need have had their housing benefit reduced.
Labour would abolish the spare room subsidy if elected in 2015, the party's Scottish welfare spokeswoman has said.
We are very clear. Labour rejected this approach when it was put to them in government, for social landlords. We have campaigned for its abolition.
– Jackie Baillie told BBC Radio Scotland
Yes we will abolish it. My understanding is that you can expect an announcement relatively soon.
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:
– raquel rolnick, un special rapporteur
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.
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.
In a letter to Ban Ki-Moon, Mr Schapps accuses Raquel Rolnik of showing "political bias" on a fact-finding mission to the UK:
– Grant Shapps, Conservative Party Chairman
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.
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.
The Government's so-called "bedroom tax" is a "shocking" policy which should be scrapped, an United Nations investigator has said.
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.
Protesters have taken part in a mass sleep out across the country against the Government's so-called 'bedroom tax' and other welfare changes.
This picture sent by an activist was reportedly taken in Penzance, Cornwall.