UK welfare policy: impact on disabled people

Analysis of the impact of Personal Independence Payments and changes to employment and support allowance.

This document is part of a collection

6. Bedroom Tax

From April 2013, DWP introduced a reduction in Housing Benefit for working-age households judged to be under-occupying their property in the social rented sector (a similar reduction was introduced to the housing element of Universal Credit). The reduction in Housing benefit or UC housing element is 14% for those with one spare room and 25% with two or more spare rooms. The UK government refers to this change as the 'removal of the spare room subsidy', but it is more commonly known as the 'bedroom tax'.

The Scottish Government has been mitigating the bedroom tax since 2013 through funding Discretionary Housing Payments for those affected and has announced it intends to use its powers under the Scotland Act 2016 to abolish the bedroom tax for those on Universal Credit.

DWP statistics of households claiming housing benefit and subject to the bedroom tax [40] show, that as of May 2017, 40,900 households affected by the bedroom tax are also in receipt of Employment Support Allowance. This represents around 57% of the total number of households (71,000) affected by the bedroom tax through Housing Benefit in Scotland. On average, households claiming ESA lose around £12.50 per week in housing benefit (£650 per year), although this loss may be mitigated through Discretionary Housing Payments.

Previous analysis produced in June 2013 and using the Family Resources Survey data from over a number of years up to 2011/12, suggested that around 80% of households affected in Scotland contain an adult with a 'Disability Discrimination Act' recognised disability. [41]


Back to top