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MPs are right to attack welfare reforms

This opinion piece is over 8 years old
 

David Ogivie says MPs are right to criticise welfare reforms for failing people with housing support needs

David Ogilvie, policy manager at SFHA
David Ogilvie, policy manager at SFHA

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) endorses the House of Commons’ work and pensions select committee report calling on the UK government to review major areas of its welfare reform policy.

This hard-hitting report has made a string of recommendations around the bedroom tax, Discretionary Housing Payments and those living with disability.

This report acknowledges our many serious concerns about the devastating impact that welfare reforms continue to have on council and housing association tenants across Scotland

We wholeheartedly agree with the committee that the bedroom tax is a blunt instrument.

We are pleased to see this report acknowledges our many serious concerns about the devastating impact that welfare reforms such as the bedroom tax and the benefits cap have had and continue to have on council and housing association tenants across Scotland.

We would particularly wish to endorse the committee’s call for exemptions from the bedroom tax for disabled households, especially if their home has been specifically adapted around their needs.

Similarly, we are encouraged that the committee has agreed that where a household is under-occupying but there is no suitable and reasonable alternative accommodation available the bedroom tax should not be applied.

This is something the SFHA had successfully campaigned for at the bill stage, only to see that safeguard withdrawn at the eleventh hour by the UK government citing financial privilege.

We welcome the committee recognising that Discretionary Housing Payments are an inadequate way to provide extra support to some households, particularly where people have disabilities.

David Ogilvie is policy manager for the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations

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