Bedroom tax has come about as part of a recent welfare reform. It is designed to cut the amount of benefit people can receive if they have a spare bedroom.

From April 2013 tenants of working age who live in a council or housing association home and are deemed as having a spare bedroom, will have their housing benefit cut.

Anyone who is renting in the social housing sector, who receives housing benefit and is classed as having a spare bedroom, will be affected.

Originally thought to be included in the benefits cut were families with disabled children. In a recent rethink though, ministers are publishing guidance to local authorities which will allow parents with severely disabled children, who are unable to share a room with their siblings, exemption from the so called bedroom tax.

Exemptions will only be applicable in relation to certain disabilities and will be paid for centrally rather than from the discretionary fund which is available to local authorities.

For those who are affected by bedroom tax, housing benefit will be cut at 14% for those with one extra bedroom and 25% for those with two or more spare rooms. For those families where the local authority agrees that an extra bedroom is needed because their child’s disability means they are unable to share, a spare room subsidy will be granted. This, in effect, will counteract the bedroom tax for families in these circumstances.