British tenants and disabled people who gave evidence to a United Nations mission welcome the recommendation from Raquel Rolnik, the UN special rapporteur on housing, to abolish the bedroom tax.
In a special evidence session held in Manchester on Saturday, Rolnik, who was in the UK to investigate the housing situation in the UK, heard graphic first hand evidence from carers, sick and disabled people, a grieving widow, grandparents, separated parents and a former soldier all struggling due to the Bedroom Tax.
‘The Bedroom Tax is an abuse of my right to a family life and to our human rights,’ one tenant said in evidence.
The Anti Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Federation invited Ms Rolnik to hear first hand the indiscrimate and unjust impact of the Bedroom Tax and why we are demanding it must be abolished.
Eileen Short of the Anti Bedroom Tax Federation of which DPAC is a founding member says:
‘The Bedroom Tax must be repealed, arrears written off and landlords repaid for this crass injustice. A growing movement of defiance will resist any evictions, and demand an end to this war on tenants.’
The Tories have responded with anger to the UN recommendations with Grant Schapps, according to reports, incandescent with rage. The DWP have questioned Ms Rolnik’s ability to make findings on the basis of “anecdotal information and meetings”.
Evidence that the bedroom tax is unfair and discriminates against disabled people is so well established, Ms Rolnik, the UN’s housing expert, did not need long to see that it breaches human rights.
A judicial review earlier this year found that the government’s ‘under-occupation penalty’ did discriminate against disabled adults but the judge was not prepared to ‘micro manage’ government policy and found that under the letter of the law the government had discharged its duty in carrying out an equalities assessment irrespective of the outcome of that assessment.
Numerous reports have evidenced the impact of the bedroom tax on disabled people and the ineffectiveness of Discretionary Housing Payments in mitigating the harm. (http://www.aragon-housing.co.uk/about-us/news/100-days-of-the-bedroom-tax/; http://www.papworth.org.uk/news-detail.php?aid=438).
Some of the most compelling evidence heard by Ms Rolnik came from those tenants, many of them disabled, who are personally affected. The callous way the Tories and the DWP can disregard this evidence shows just how nasty this government really is.
Watch the powerful testimonials: