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
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
The benefit cut for social housing tenants will put 'unbearable' pressure on families with a disabled child.
Bedrooms in some foster homes will be classified as vacant, but the government insists funding for foster carers will be protected.