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‘Bedroom tax’ impact reduced for more than 260 Renfrewshire households

Renfrewshire Council’s Leader has welcomed the fact that more than 260 Renfrewshire households facing disability and illness have been spared from a ‘bedroom tax’ hit of around £150,000 a year.

In the cases of 263 people who receive Housing Benefit, the council has found that a ‘spare’ room isn’t in fact ‘spare’ because it’s either needed as an additional room for an overnight carer or can’t be used as a bedroom because it’s needed for storing medical equipment.

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council said: “I am absolutely delighted that in the case of 263 local residents facing illness or disability issues, we’ve been able to re-assess their case and deem that a ‘spare’ bedroom is not in fact ‘spare’ and is very much needed either for either an overnight carer or for storing medical equipment. This will save these households on average an £11 cut in their Housing Benefit each week – that’s around £572 over the year for each home.

“This is another step forward in what’s been a robust response to the ‘bedroom tax’ from Renfrewshire Council. We previously pledged that, where our tenants are working with us, we will not resort to eviction to collect rent, where arrears have occurred as a direct result of the under occupancy rules.

“I’ve always maintained that this benefit change is unfair, and we’ve now heard directly from UN official, Raquel Rolnik, that Under Occupancy Rules should be suspended to allow time to assess the human rights implications and re-design the reform. I completely share her view on this.

“We will do all we can to help Renfrewshire residents who are facing hardship as a result of the ‘bedroom tax and I would encourage anyone who feels that their ‘spare’ room can’t be used as a bedroom because of disability or medical reasons to contact our Benefits Team.”

Renfrewshire residents who would like to speak to someone about having a room re-assessed due to disability or medical equipment, or because of a overnight carer sleeping in a room, should call the Benefits Team on 0300 300 0204.

Residents who receive Housing Benefit and are having difficulty meeting their housing costs can apply for financial support to the council’s Discretionary Housing Payments fund: or call 0300 300 0204.

Under-Occupancy rules mean households are losing an average of £11 per week in Housing Benefit for one spare room – that’s around of £2,893 saved for the 263 households a week; amounting to around £150,000 over the year.