New information has come to light in relation to Governments decision to apply a tax on ‘spare’ rooms where people on Housing Benefit would have to pay around £14. However, in the House of Lords, Peers voted by 258 votes to 190 to accept an amendment to the Welfare Reform Bill from crossbench peer Lord Richard Best to water down the proposals.

The government had been hoping to cut £500 million a year from the housing benefit bill but now Lord Best’s amendment allows tenants to receive full housing benefit if they have no more than one spare room or if no other suitable alternative accommodation is available.

Peers feared that the government’s stance would unfairly penalise tenants as there are not enough available properties for tenants to move into and that rent arrears would increase. Lord Best, speaking in the debate, said: “Let’s not go down the unchartered road that is likely to add to the hardship of hundreds of thousands of our poorest citizens.”

The House of Commons will decide whether to accept the amendment at a later date and we will let you know once a decision is made.

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