Tuesday, 12 February 2013
No one would be heartless enough to pass on a bill immediately to a grieving parent. Or would they?
This is precisely what will happen after April. Government changes to housing benefit and more specifically the bedroom tax.
In April that’s when the “bedroom” tax comes into force.
If tenants rent a house and are on housing benefit they’d lose on average £11 per week if they were under-occupying by 1 bedroom. Those under-occupying by 2 bedrooms or more would lose on average £19 per week.
They’d have to make the money up themselves to pay the rent. But they wouldn’t be on housing benefit in the first place if they could pay the rent.
All families that are on housing benefit that suffer a child’s death and the bedroom is empty could find themselves under-occupying and subject to the bedroom tax.
No sooner that they’ve got over their grieving. They get their benefit cut. The missing child puts them into the situation that they’re under-occupying. And their local council is obliged to wield the axe.
A heartless act. But councils have no choice, the housing benefit regulations have been passed by the government and will come into force in this instance in April.
But here’s the rub. This could happen every time a child dies or goes missing and the parents are on housing benefit.
Surely, no government would deliberately introduce such a policy. Another example of the law of unexpected consequence. Perhaps the government should rethink its housing benefit reform and prevent additional suffering to grieving families.