Foster carers will not be penalised by the so-called bedroom tax, after a change in policy.
Foster families will not see their housing benefit reduced. Image: Morguefile
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith today announced that approved foster carers would be allowed to receive the same level of housing benefit in the future if they had an additional room.
Changes taking effect on 1 April will see social housing tenants lose 14 per cent of their housing benefit entitlement if they are considered to have a spare bedroom.
But Duncan Smith said that anyone who had fostered a child, or been approved as a foster carer in the last 12 months, would be able to retain a spare room whether or not a child is currently placed with them.
Robert Tapsfield, chief executive of the Fostering Network, welcomed the decision.
“This is fantastic news. This change of policy means that foster carers can sleep easy knowing that they will not be punished for providing homes for some of the UK’s most vulnerable children,” he said.
“We are particularly pleased that it will also impact on those in privately rented accommodation as they have already been hit with penalties for ‘under occupancy’ for 18 months.”
Duncan Smith announced the change in a statement to Parliament.
The Department for Work and Pensions is due to issue guidance to local authorities about the changes to housing benefit.
SOURCE: Children & Young People Now