Spare room subsidy (bedroom tax)
Housing benefit is money paid to help those who are unemployed or those who do not earn enough money to pay their rent. If someone has more bedrooms than the government says they need, they get on average £14–16 a week less towards their rent than last year. This might not sound much, but it could add up to more than £800 per year.
The government calls it the ‘spare room subsidy’, but it is better known as the bedroom tax. Because of it, thousands of disabled people are getting less housing benefit.
We were angry that David Cameron said that disabled people are exempt from the bedroom tax because we knew that it was hitting disabled people hard.
Disabled people often need the extra storage space a spare bedroom provides for special equipment, or for one parent to get a full night's sleep while the other provides night-time care for a severely disabled child.
We know that these changes to housing benefit are leaving disabled people at risk of losing their homes. And 9 out of 10 disabled people have told us they are cutting back on food and heating because of this reduction.
We joined together with a group of disability charities and wrote to the David Cameron to ask him to exempt disabled people from the bedroom tax.
We asked him to protect all disabled people who need a spare bedroom as a result of their disability or who have nowhere else to move to. Nobody chooses to have a disability — we don't think people who need an extra room because of it should be forced to cut back on food or heating.