Foster carers will be exempted from the so-called “bedroom tax” the government has announced.
Under the changes to housing benefit, due to come into force next month, housing benefit claimants of working age who are judged to have too much space in their homes, such as spare bedrooms, will have their housing benefit cut. Claimants with one spare room will face a cut of 14 per cent, will those with two or more excess rooms will see a 25 per cent cut.
Foster carers often need a greater number of individual rooms than other families, and campaigners had claimed they would be unduly penalised by the changes. But Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith has now said foster carers, as well as the families of armed forces personnel, will continue to receive rent payments. Funding for an additional room will be paid to foster carers as long as they have been approved within the previous 12 months or have fostered a child within the same period.
There are an estimated 5,000 foster carers within the UK.
The benefit cut, labelled the ‘bedroom taxi’ by Labour, is likely to affect around 660,000 families, or approximately one third of the total number of housing claimants.
Photo by Nico Hogg via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence