Thursday, September 12, 2013

Spare Room Subsidy

Mike German clears some of the myths on Liberal Democrat Voice:

Like many people reading the front page of the Guardian this morning, I was worried by the headline on the pronouncements by the UN special rapporteur on the removal of the spare room subsidy. But it is important to look behind the headline to see that these comments were based on a very brief visit from this adviser, who did not have the time for a detailed discussion with the Department for Work and Pensions to understand the policy. 

If she had done she would have been able to understand that this policy brings the rules for the social housing sector into line with those which Labour already introduced for private rented accommodation. Perhaps then she may have recognised that the policy is designed to tackle long council waiting lists and help those families stuck in overcrowded one bedroom flats – to find somewhere decent to live.

Most importantly, the rapporteur ignored the achievements of the Lib Dems in the coalition in arguing for extra Discretionary Housing Payments to ensure vulnerable people do not have to face extra costs. Because everyone’s situation is so different it is right that we have given local councils control over how this funding is best spent. We have also successfully argued for exemptions for groups such as foster carers. Finally, we have ensured that local authorities in particular need, can bid for extra funding over the course of this year. I will also be making sure that the Coalition sticks to its promise of monitoring the impact of this policy carefully over the coming months.


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