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  1. ITV Report

What is the 'bedroom tax'?

Those living in social housing who are deemed to have a spare bedroom will be asked to downsize or face a cut in benefits from April. Photo: PA Wire

So, what is the "bedroom tax"?

  • Under controversial plans, those living in social housing who are deemed to have a spare bedroom will be asked to downsize or face a cut in benefits from April.
  • Ministers want to cut housing benefit by 14% for those deemed to have one extra bedroom and 25% for claimants with two or more spare bedrooms.

How many people will this affect once brought in from April 2013?

  • The 'bedroom tax' will affect around 660,000 social housing tenants across the country.

Who will be affected by the changes?

  • 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 (who receives the extra benefit).
  • 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.

Source: The National Housing Federation

Who will not be affected?

  • Those who do not live in social housing
  • Houses where there is a room kept for a student studying away from home - as long as they are away for under 52 weeks (if receiving housing benefit) or 6 months (if claiming universal credit)
  • Most Armed Forces families
  • Most pensioners

Why do the government want to cut housing benefit?

  • The government says the proposals will save money and help deal with a housing shortage by encouraging people to move out of homes that are too big for them.

For more information on the "bedroom tax" and how it may affect you or your family, click here.