|What is the spare room subsidy?|
| The spare room subsidy is the extra housing benefit that people in social housing receive for bedrooms they don’t need.|
By contrast, housing benefit recipients renting in the private sector only receive benefit for each bedroom they actually need.
|What changes are you making?|
|We have ended the spare room subsidy by reducing housing benefit for people in social housing who have spare bedrooms. This is not a ‘bedroom tax’ – it is a reduction benefit for people with spare rooms who don’t need them.|
|Why are you making these changes?|
| To make the whole system fairer. People renting in the private sector only get housing benefit for the number of rooms that they need. They have to make choices about the kind of property they can afford. It is only right that people living in social housing face the same rules.|
The changes will also ensure we make the best use of our social houses. Under Labour, people were subsided for spare rooms they didn’t need, while at the same time there were millions of families on waiting lists or in overcrowded homes.
Our changes will encourage people with spare rooms to downsize, freeing up social houses for larger families who need them. In the long run, housing associations will be encouraged to build homes that are the right size for people in the area.
|What will happen to people in social housing with a spare room?|
|People with one spare room will have a 14% reduction in housing benefit. Those with two or more spare rooms will have a 25% reduction. The average reduction is £14 per week.|
|Who is exempt?|
| People exempt from these changes include pensioners and people with disabilities who need round-the-clock care.|
Liberal Democrats also successfully campaigned to exempt foster carers, families of members of the armed forces and families with severely disabled children.
|Can people choose to stay in their house?|
|Yes. Some people will choose stay in their house, but pay a bit more rent. They could make up for the benefit reduction for example by working more hours (1 in 6 households affected are in work) or taking in a lodger, which will also help people struggling to find any housing – especially young single people.|
|How are you helping people to move?|
|For those who want or need to move, we have trebled the ‘Discretionary Housing Payment’ budget, giving more money to councils to provide extra support to people who need it most.|
|What about people with disabilities?|
|Around 30% of people in social housing receive disability benefits, but not all of these will require an extra bedroom, so will be able to move. We have also set aside £25 million to support disabled people living in social houses with lots of adaptations.|
|What are you doing to increase the number of homes?|
|Labour failed to provide enough social housing when they were in Government, cutting the number of social homes by 421,000. As part of the Coalition, Liberal Democrats are on track to building 170,000 new affordable homes, creating jobs and building a stronger economy in a fairer society.|