Should Wales be able to ditch the ‘bedroom tax’?

Extracts from the constitutional convention’s recent online discussion on the ‘bedroom tax’.

As part of the IWA’s Constitutional Convention, we held an online discussion on the ‘spare room subsidy’, and asked whether Wales should have the power to ditch the ‘bedroom tax’.

Below are some extracts from the debate. To read the whole thing click here.

…Wales should be afforded the same powers as Scotland to look at other ways of addressing under occupancy. The current way this is dealt with leaves people poorer, at risk of eviction and often going without food and heat to ensure they have a roof over their head…

There are no good arguments to continue the removal of the spare room subsidy. Its false economy in low value areas where tenants can move to a small property in the private rented sector and the cost to the taxpayer is more.

In Scotland households who lost out on housing benefit through the ‘Bedroom Tax’ to could access compensation through Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP). (See here for more info:
Should Welsh Government have been mitigating the ‘spare room subsidy’ too?

…Wales currently only receives £6.5m DHP so if WG had the funds they could now add an additional £10m and wipe out over 50% of the RSRS.

…Poor expensive housing in Wales is the norm today. If this tax is not abolished then the government need to be looking at increasing it’s social housing stock quick smart…

Housing Associations have signed a pact with WG to deliver 10,000 new homes by April 2016 – they are on track to meet this target, however, there will still be a huge gap between the demand for and the supply of social housing.

We found the original DHP application form from the LA [Pembrokeshire], was totally inadequate for filling in the financial breakdown. Guidance was minimal and it is highly likely that applications that were turned down may have been accepted had the form been more detailed, or better guidance given…

…Bedroom tax has directly caused an increase in the housing benefit bill according to the DWP figures released last week [17 Feb I think], so has failed in all its targets.

…Of course Wales ought to have power to mitigate it…The problem with mitigation is that the money will have to be taken from other areas of expenditure.

The discussion is still ongoing. Please add your thoughts and comments to the discussion here.

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