Housing charity Shelter Scotland has launched a campaign to get the UK government to abolish bedroom tax.
‘Banish the Bedroom Tax Monster’ campaign calls on Scotland’s politicians in Westminster, Holyrood and in local authorities to do more to support households affected by bedroom tax.
A survey by Shelter found that nearly half of those in Scotland think the Scottish government should help household that have been hit by the task. 47% of people asked said the Scottish government should provide additional money to help those struggling to pay their rent.
Shelter’s analysis shows that at current levels, the discretionary housing payment available to councils can only help every one in 18 of the 82,500 household struggling from bedroom tax. However, the charity believe that if the Scottish government supported local authorities by making up to £20 million more available, they would have the means to help one affected household in seven, meaning an extra 7,000 households get help.
Shelter wants members of the public and Scottish politicians to back their campaign and support a six-point action plan for countering the effects of the bedroom tax. The plan includes a call for the UK government to introduce a new exemption from the policy for homeless people in temporary accommodation and for councils to support people who fall into rent arrears to move to cheaper accommodation.
Shelter’s director, Graeme Brown, said: “It is telling that whilst, according to recent polls, many people may support the need for welfare reform, nearly half of the people in Scotland back the Scottish government to do more to support those affected by the bedroom tax.
“At Shelter Scotland, in the six months since the bedroom tax and other reforms became a reality, we have seen the problems it is creating for homeless people trying to rebuild their lives, for families trying to provide a stable home for their children and for disabled people whose needs are overruled by these arbitrary rules.”
Graeme Brown added: “The bedroom tax looms large in the lives of those affected. For many it is like a monster living in their home.
“That is why we are launching our new campaign – Banish the Bedroom Tax Monster – which urges all of Scotland’s politicians to act now. Our six-point plan sets out six actions based on the first six months of this misguided and unworkable policy.
“The first opportunity to put this plan into action will be the upcoming Scottish Budget when John Swinney could lead from the front and start the ball rolling by committing £20m extra funding.”