SHELTER Scotland has criticised the UK Government for deciding to press ahead with penalties for social housing tenants who ‘under-occupy’ their homes.
Says a spokesperson for the charity: “Last night, 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.”
Notes to Editors:
1. Shelter Scotland provides expert support services, online advice and a free national helpline for everyone facing housing and homelessness difficulties. For advice and support visit http://scotland.shelter.org.uk or call 0808 800 4444.
2. Spokespeople are available for interview – call the media office on 0844 515 2442. An ISDN line is available for broadcast interviews.
3. Follow Shelter Scotland on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/shelterinscotland Twitter – http://twitter.com/shelterscotland
Shelter Scotland believes everyone should have a home. We help people find and keep a home. We campaign for decent housing for all.
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Contact: Sabina Kadic-Mackenzie
Phone: 0844 515 2442