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Thursday, 17 July 2014

Lib Dems commit to spare room subsidy reform

The Liberal Democrats have said they plan to significantly reform spare room subsidy rules. The plans will see those already in the social rented sector only lose their benefit if they are offered a suitable smaller home and turn it down. It would also permanently exempt disabled adults.

It comes after a government report published this week showed changes to how housing benefit is paid are not delivering the outcomes we had hoped despite Discretionary Housing Payments

Commenting Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander said: “As a Liberal Democrat I want everyone to have the opportunity to have a secure and decent home. We brought in changes to how housing benefit is calculated in the social housing sector with the best of intentions. “However, a recent report shows people are having to cut back on household essentials despite the help offered through Discretionary Housing Payments."

"Therefore, we have reviewed our position so only those already in the social rented sector who turn down suitable smaller homes will see a reduction in their benefit. These commitments will be in the Lib Dem manifesto and we will push for it as government policy right away. This change, combined with a commitment to build 300,000 houses a year in the next Parliament, will build on the progress we have already made to address Britain’s housing problem.”

Responding to the news the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Rachel Reeves, said: "This is unbelievable hypocrisy from Nick Clegg. The Lib Dems voted for the bedroom tax. There wouldn’t be a bedroom tax if it wasn’t for the Lib Dems. And in February when Labour tabled a bill to scrap the bedroom tax, the Lib Dems were nowhere to be seen. This just goes to show why you can’t trust a word the Lib Dems say - it is clear the only way to cancel the bedroom tax is to elect a Labour government next year."