Imagine that you have a disabled husband. You are living in a 2 bedroom flat, which has been adapted to take account of his disability. You are his unpaid carer. But your circumstances are of no relevance to the government. You have a ‘spare’ bedroom, so you are ‘under-occupying‘. In fact, so far as the government is concerned it does not even matter if you have to sleep in the ‘spare’ bedroom because of you husband’s disability. You are still ‘under-occupying’ so you will get stung for 14% of your rent, whether you can afford it or not.

One particular carer makes the point that

“I am actually saving the government money by being his carer and not insisting that we use an external carer. If we did then the government would have to pay for the external carer.”

The only exception to the bedroom tax for disabled people is in the case where an external carer stays overnight.

“I was told that if I had an external carer I would be exempt from the bedroom tax, but the local housing said if I changed to an external carer now I would be classed as a cheat of the system. But I ask you, where is the sense in spending more money to save when we can stay the same and save more.”

In this and many other cases these homes have had thousands of pounds spent on them in adaptations. If they downsize then it will cost money to install adaptations in the new home. What is the sense in that?

“I have been told to downsize or pay the bedroom tax – insisting that I move from the property I have lived in for 25 years. As it stands we are on benefit which the government says is the bare minimum amount you need to live on. So when you take into account the bedroom tax I will receive less than the government says IS THE MINIMUM AMOUNT TO LIVE ON…”

No wonder it is now common for the poor to have to chose between eating and keeping warm.