Shelter calls for bedroom tax talks

A HOUSING charity wants £50 million from the Scottish Government to tackle the impact of the so-called bedroom tax.

Shelter Scotland’s call is part of a three-point plan it wants to discuss in an “emergency summit” of ­social landlords.

The charity is concerned about UK Government welfare changes, including housing support. Under the reforms, tenants will lose a portion of their benefit if they are deemed to be under-occupying their home.

Shelter director Graeme Brown called for Scottish housing and welfare minister, Margaret Burgess, to set up the summit. “We agree with the Scottish Government that the UK Government must reverse these cuts and that Scottish ministers are not able to mitigate all the impact of these reforms,” he said.

“But Scottish ministers are not powerless to act to protect council tax payers who will have to foot the bill of increased homelessness or those vulnerable tenants at risk of losing their home.

“That’s why we think the Scottish Government should make up to £50 million available to help mitigate the impact of the first year of the bedroom tax and give practical help to all set to lose out.”

The reform will hit almost 100,000 households from April, the charity warned. The three-point plan also calls for a guarantee that no-one should be evicted for bedroom tax arrears or deemed intentionally homeless if they are evicted for that reason.

The Scottish Government has calculated that eight out of 10 households hit by the change include an adult with a recognised disability.

Burgess has raised her concern with UK Government welfare secretary, Iain Duncan Smith.