The House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee has published a report looking into Support for Housing Costs in the Reformed Welfare System.
We draw particular attention to the section on what the report describes as the Social Sector Size Criteria (SSAC). More commonly, this is known as the Bedroom Tax and in Government publications, the Department for Work and Pensions and Coalition MPs refer to it as the spare room subsidy.
Regardless of what it is called, we were shocked at some of the regional differences in the impact of the policy shown in the report. The evidence gathered in the report estimated that 60 to 70% of households affected in England have a disabled tenant and 80% of affected households in Scotland have a disabled tenant. It is particularly distressing to hear that 4 out of 5 households affected in Scotland are tenanted by a disabled person.
The report says ‘We are deeply concerned that the policy is causing severe financial hardship and distress to people with disabilities, many of whom will not be easily able to move.’
Particular attention was drawn to the estimated 100,000 households around the country affected where the property was adapted specifically to accommodate the needs of a disabled person.
The report recommends that the government should exempt households where a disabled person receives the higher rate of mobility or care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), and its Personal Independence Payment (PIP) equivalent. Aspire has consistently called for people who receive DLA or PIP to be exempt from SSSC.
At the very least, Aspire believes the government should follow the recommendations made in this House of Commons Committee report.