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NO TO THE BEDROOM TAX!
The Bedroom Tax refers to the situation in social housing where either Universal Credit or Housing Benefit won’t pay the full rent because it is considered the claimant has “too many” bedrooms. (Social housing means Council or Housing Association tenancies)
If this attack on our rights hits you – don’t accept it.
Situation in Scotland
If you live in Scotland then you have the right to have the bedroom tax fully covered by Discretionary-Housing-Payment (DHP). DHP is administered by local Councils and the Scottish Government has fully funded local authorities to cover the Bedroom Tax. This concession was won as a result of the grass-roots anti bedroom tax movement, which urged a refusal to pay the extra rent and declared resistance to evictions.
As the City of Edinburgh Council write: “The Scottish Government’s contribution will ensure that tenants in Edinburgh who have been affected by the Social Sector Size Criteria (under occupancy), will have their reduction in Housing Benefit mitigated by a DHP award on application.” Above is a quote from the Council’s DHP policy – see https://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/downloads/download/13942/discretionary-housing-payments and click on policy. This also applies to a reduction in Universal Credit housing costs due to the Bedroom Tax.
This of course applies everywhere in Scotland, the Scottish Government website states : “we fully fund the mitigation of the bedroom tax through DHPs, and so if you are affected by the bedroom tax and apply for a DHP you should receive one.” And the Child Poverty Action Group write: “the government in Scotland funds local authorities to use DHP to fully mitigate the effects of the bedroom tax and benefit cap. So if you apply for DHP in Scotland for a loss due to the bedroom tax or benefit cap, you should receive one.” (p 636 Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook 2023-24)
So if you live in Scotland and are hit by the Bedroom Tax (or the Benefit Cap), make sure your local council fully covers your rent through DHP. If you have any problems seek solidarity from ECAP or a similar group.
In Edinburgh you can apply for DHP online via the link at this page (please note the form is badly designed as it doesn’t let you save it as you go – and times out if you spend more than ten minutes on a page. Contact ECAP for support if needbe) Elsewhere in Scotland apply for DHP via your local Council.
Situation in England and Wales
The Bedroom Tax does not apply in all situations – seek advice from a welfare rights group. Exemptions include if you are getting pension age Housing Benefit and if you live in a dwelling adapted under a ‘sanctuary scheme’ for households at risk of domestic abuse, plus several more situations (see CPAG Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook, p 107 onwards and p365 onwards).
In all situations you can apply to your local authority for Discretionary Housing Payment to cover the Bedroom Tax. Seek support to do so.
Please note responsibility for Social Security is devolved to Northern Ireland and we regret we do not have info on how this issue applies in Northern Ireland.
[Last updated: July 2023]