UN Special Rapporteur says ‘bedroom tax’ should be suspended

Date: 11th September 2013
Category: General measures of implementation

The UN Special Rapporteur on housing expressed serious concern about deterioration in the enjoyment of the right to adequate housing in the United Kingdom.

In a press statement, Raquel Rolnik highlighted that the UK has much to be proud of in the provision of affordable housing, yet suggests that the UK Government revisits some policy decisions with direct and indirect impacts on housing as a human right.

She warned against the combined impact of various official measures, recent and past, that "have eroded and continue to erode one of the world's finest systems of affordable housing".

Raquel Rolnik commented on the 'bedroom tax', stressing: "The so-called bedroom tax has already had impacts on some of the most vulnerable members of society... During these days of my visit, the dramatic testimonies of people with disabilities, grand-mothers who are carers for their families, and others affected by this policy, clearly point to a measure that appears to have been taken without the human component in mind".

The human rights expert acknowledged that times of economic crisis allow for difficult policy decisions to be made, but warned that "international human rights standards on the right to adequate housing clearly call on governments to avoid jeopardizing the protection of the most vulnerable in the face of fiscal pressures."

Article 27 of the UNCRC ensures that "States Parties recognize the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child's physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development".

The impact of the 'bedroom tax' on children and young people's right to an adequate standard of living was addressed by Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People in April 2013.

  • Read the full article from Third Force News here.

The Housing Support Enabling Unit, based in Edinburgh, helps providers to demonstrate the impact of housing support and to raise awareness about the role housing support plays in helping people to secure and maintain appropriate housing. They have produced a helpful '"Bedroom Tax" Fact Sheet', which is accessible below.

  • Download the factsheet here.