Lib Dem president calls for change to 'bedroom tax' as MPs warn of 'hardship and distress'

Charlotte and Jayson Carmichael say a move to a smaller home would not be feasible. Credit: ITV News

The President of the Liberal Democrats has hinted that his party will withdraw their support for the so-called 'bedroom tax', after a committee of MPs said it caused "severe hardship and distress" for disabled people.

Tim Farron told ITV News' Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship said that the party would review the consequences of the policy, adding that leader Nick Clegg shared "the view that this is something that we want to see changed".

The removal of the spare-room subsidy has meant a reduction in benefits to social housing tenants with homes deemed larger than necessary.

The government says the reform - which has been heavily criticised by Labour but was supported initially by the Liberal Democrats - is "necessary to restore fairness" to the welfare system.

But the cross-party House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee said today that the measures unfairly hit vulnerable people, particularly those with disabilities.

Dame Anne Begg, the chair of the group, told ITV News:"Many of the people being hit by the so-called 'bedroom tax' are in vulnerable groups, very often people with disabilities who can't move house."

That is nothing new to Jayson and Charlotte Carmichael, who saw a cut in the benefit on their two bedroom home in Southport.

Jayson says the pair need to have two bedrooms because Charlotte - who has spina bifida - uses a special hospital bed which doesn't have enough room to sleep him too.

And while they receive a discretionary payment to compensate for the income they have lost, they cannot be sure how long that will continue.

Charlotte says the pair are already struggling, and feels it is "unfair" for the government to "target disabled people in this way".

Labour is pushing what is called a 'regret motion' over the issue in the House of Lords tomorrow, and has urged Lib Dem peers to turn their unease with the policy into votes against it.

And while the Liberal Democrat president says his party will push for policy to change in the future, Jayson says help is needed right now.

I hope something is done pretty soon - before the election [...] I'm feeling the pressure now and I don't know how I'm going to go on this year.

Read: Housing benefit change causing 'hardship and distress'