In April 2013, an estimated 82,000 households in Scotland were affected by the under occupancy penalty for social housing – often referred to as the ‘bedroom tax’. These households have experienced an average reduction in housing support of around £11 per week, a loss of £53 million annually across Scotland. In the six months after the change, over 1,600 affected people sought advice on the ‘bedroom tax’ at a CAB in Scotland, and we are starting to get a picture of the social impact of the policy.
80% of the households affected in Scotland (65,600 households) have at least one adult who is disabled. The only significant exemption on grounds of disability is a room for an overnight carer for either the named tenant or spouse, meaning that the majority of people with disabilities are not exempt. Despite the High Court judgment on the issue, the legislation has not been altered and disabled children are still not automatically exempt. There are therefore tens of thousands of disabled people, many who have already been affected by other benefit changes, who have been affected by the ‘bedroom tax’. This briefing outlines the situations and experiences of disabled tenants who have sought advice on this issue at a citizens advice bureau.