Reforms to the support provided for housing costs – including the Social Sector Size Criteria (SSSC) (also known as the “Bedroom Tax” and the “Spare Room Subsidy”) and the household Benefit Cap – are causing financial hardship to vulnerable people who were not the intended targets of the reforms and are unlikely to be able to change their circumstances in response, say the Work and Pensions Committee in a report published Wednesday 2 April.
The SSSC is having a particular impact on people with disabilities who have adapted homes or need a room to hold medical equipment or to accommodate a carer. The Committee recommends that anybody living in a home that has been significantly adapted for them should be exempt from the SSSC. The Report further urges the Government to exempt all households that contain a person in receipt of higher level disability benefits (DLA or PIP) from the SSSC.
Expert witnesses giving evidence to the report were:
Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick, School of the Built Environment, Heriot-Watt University, Robert Joyce, Senior Research Economist, Institute for Fiscal Studies, and Professor Steve Wilcox, Centre for Housing Policy, University of York, Gavin Smart, Director of Policy and Practice, Chartered Institute of Housing, Duncan Forbes, Chief Executive of Bron Afon Community Housing, Community Housing Cymru, Danny Hardie, Welfare Benefits Adviser, Peabody Trust Housing Association, Aileen Evans, Managing Director, Grand Union Housing Group, Placeshapers, Carol Matthews, Group Chief Executive, Riverside, and David Ogilvie, Policy Manager, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, Steve Fothergill, Director, Industrial Communities Alliance, Councillor Sharon Taylor, Chair, Local Government Association Finance Panel, Local Government Association, Councillor Joyce McCarty, Deputy Leader, Newcastle City Council, and Laurence Coaker, Head, Housing Needs, West London Housing Partnership; Jennifer Barnes, Policy and Research Manager, Centrepoint, Carolyn Uphill, Chairman, National Landlords Association, and Chris Town, Vice Chairman, Residential Landlords Association, Steve McIntosh, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, Carers UK, Dr Sam Royston, Poverty and Early Years Policy Adviser, Children's Society, Paul Anderson, Policy Manager, Homeless Link, Anna Page, Policy, Public Affairs and Research Manager, St Mungo's, Andrew Fraser, Director, Public Health Science, Scottish Public Health Network and NHS Scotland, and Hilary Fisher, Director of Policy, Voice and Membership, Women's Aid, Geoff Fimister, Policy Researcher, Citizens Advice, Yvette Burgess, Unit Director, Housing Support Enabling Unit, Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland, Peter Tutton, Head of Policy, StepChange, Maria Zealey, Unit Manager, Surrey Welfare Rights Unit, and Joanna Kennedy, Chief Executive, Zaccheus 2000 Trust, Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform and Andrew Parfitt, Deputy Director for Housing Policy, Department for Work and Pensions, Kris Hopkins MP, Minister for Housing and Jennifer Ashby, Deputy Director of Welfare Reform, Department for Communities and Local Government
To view the report in full - please click the link below:
Jemima Constatine - Expert Witness Today