These concessions show that the government is worried about the backlash over this charge and are recognising that there are far more “exceptional” cases where people need their “spare” room, than cases where they don’t and could move. Over 50 demonstrations are being held on Saturday, with Birmingham’s being held from 1pm in Victoria Square.
These exemptions remove some people but there are still many disabled people who will be charged for their “spare” room which is used for an adaptation or for equipment storage or for a partner/family member who is also a carer to sleep in. There are still separated parents with visiting children who will have to pay to keep a room for their child to stay in – and grandparents in the same situation with grandchildren. There are also people who have lived, worked and raised a family in a community that will be forced to move because there are no smaller properties available on their estate.
No mention has been made as to whether the Discretionary Housing Payment fund will be reduced, as £5m was intended for Foster Carers (*see update). This fund is supposed to cover all the exceptional cases of people who clearly do need extra rooms or those who should be allowed to remain living in their community, but was never likely to be enough. Join us on Saturday and help to ensure that it is not needed at all.
update: It has now been made clear that the DHP fund will be reduced by the £5m that was intended (but not ringfenced) for foster carers.