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Disabled Children Bedroom Tax Amendment Defeated In Lords

January 30, 2014

An amendment to the bedroom tax exempting disabled children from the bedroom tax was defeated in the Lords by 185 votes to 154.

The amendment was moved by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch:

57BC: Before Clause 80, insert the following new Clause—

“Welfare of children: housing benefit

(1) The Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations 2006 are amended as follows.

(2) In regulation B13 (determination of maximum rent (social sector)), inserted by regulation 5 of the Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations 2012—

(a) in paragraph (5), at beginning insert “Subject to paragraph (5A)”; and

(b) after paragraph (5) insert—

“(5A) The relevant authority shall make a determination that the restriction to one bedroom under paragraph (5) does not apply if it is in the interests of the welfare of a child or the children living in the dwelling to make such a determination.””

Currently, following Burnip v Birmingham City Council, the bedroom tax rules do not apply where two children cannot share a room because of disability.

This amendment would have allowed local authorities to put the welfare of the child first when assessing the appropriate occupancy level in a home. So far the bedroom tax has resulted in an estimated 150,000 families with children being affected. Research shows that children who are forced to move home, away from settled communities and their schooling, suffer health problems and have poorer educational outcomes whilst families who stay put suffer an average loss of income of £14 a week, with much higher losses for many, impacting on their ability to feed and clothe their children.

You can view the House of Lords debate at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201314/ldhansrd/text/140129-0002.htm#14012963000540

Disability Rights UK, in its response to draft bedroom tax regulations, wanted the protection to be extended to all children on Disability Living Allowance, whatever the component, at the very least, but also recommended that the law be changed to include all disabled children where it would be inappropriate for them to share a bedroom because of their disability. You can find out more at http://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2013/november/bedroom-tax-law-fails-disabled-children

5 Comments leave one →
  1. paul rooney permalink
    January 30, 2014 5:19 pm

    more tory shame as well as child and disability abuse. also another lamentable failure this week by house of lords who are all receiving £300 a day plus food and drink allowances to safeguard children and the most vulnerable in OUR society

  2. Hazel permalink
    January 30, 2014 5:47 pm

    Shame on this uncaring government I hope karma will hit them hard

  3. January 30, 2014 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t “do what it says on the tin” – if it’s meant to exempt disabled children that amendment is atrociously poorly worded. Authorities could interpret it as they chose, kindly or harshly. If I were in the Lords I’d be tempted to vote against it for being legislative nonsense: you cant help wondering if it was deliberately badly drafted so it could get headlines without achieving anything.

    It’s also sad to see this only being fought over social-sector housing. Most people hit by the bedroom tax – to correct earlier comments here it’s a Labour creation, not a Tory one – were hit five or six years ago, when it came in for the majority of people living in rented accommodation.

    I’d rather see it rolled back across the board than there just being a special exemption for the minority who are in social sector housing.

  4. January 31, 2014 2:02 am

    Reblogged this on lezlow2012 and commented:
    sad

  5. judy brooker permalink
    January 31, 2014 8:10 pm

    …. and just in case anybody is thinking of protesting this persecution of the U.K.’s most vulnerable the government is readying itself for any discontent by introducing water cannons! This despicable, draconian government needs to go!

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