Tax is ‘grossly unfair’

Shelter Scotland has slammed the UK Government for deciding to press ahead with penalties for social housing tenants who ‘under-occupy’ their homes.

On Wedesday, the House of Commons voted to overturn House of Lords changes to the controversial Welfare Reform Bill, one aspect of which is to deduct housing benefit from tenants of councils or housing associations who have one or more spare rooms. The UK Government has now confirmed it is pressing ahead with the penalties, despite real practical difficulties in doing so.

Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, said: “This decision is grossly unfair and shows the UK Government is simply failing to listen to the voice of reason being put forward by housing professionals, social landlords, MSPs and individuals.

“Penalising low-income people for having an extra room assumes that there is a ready supply of smaller properties for them to move to. This is simply not the case. So the only consequence will be people stuck in homes with mounting rent arrears and a further descent into debt.

“Even at this late stage, we urge the UK Government to modify its proposals”