By Mark Aitken
NEW figures show the sick and disabled will bear the brunt of the Tories’ hated new tax.
EIGHT out of 10 people hit by the Tories’ hated bedroom tax are disabled.
New figures reveal the sick and disabled are the main victims of changes that could force anyone with a spare bedroom out of their home unless they have their housing benefit cut.
The tax is part of the Government’s blitz on benefits, under which the sick and disabled are being reassessed for work and housing benefit.
Council or housing association tenants with spare bedrooms face moving to a smaller home or losing up to 25 per cent of their housing benefit.
Around 105,000 Scots households will be hit by the tax in April, including 83,000 who have an adult with a disability, according to the Scottish Government
Scottish Housing and Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess warned that the benefits cut will hit the most vulnerable people.
“I cannot overstate the appalling impact this bedroom tax will have on people in Scotland.
“For example, eight out of 10 households that will be hit include an adult with a disability.
“This is compelling evidence that the UK Government must take into account as it looks again at how the bedroom tax affects disabled people.
“It is deeply worrying that we have got to this stage, with the policy about to implemented in April.
“The UK Government only now seem to be waking up to its potentially damaging and disproportionate effect on disabled people.”
Dana O’Dwyer, chief executive of disability campaigners Capability Scotland, said:
“It’s not benefit cheats who are being targeted, it’s those who need a room for specialist equipment or whose severely disabled child must sleep separately from their siblings.
“The policy will also affect those whose home has a spare room simply because it was the only fully accessible property available to them following an accident or illness.”
Meanwhile, a housing charity has urged the Scottish Government to provide £50million of support for people hit by the bedroom tax.
The plea follows the pledge by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon last week to scrap the bedroom tax in Scotland if the country votes for independence.
Shelter Scotland have also called for a guarantee that Scottish tenants would not be evicted for bedroom tax arrears.
Director Graeme Brown said:
“We agree with the Scottish Government that the UK Government must reverse these cuts and that Scottish ministers are not able to mitigate all the impact of these reforms.
“But Scottish ministers are not powerless to act to protect council tax payers who will have to foot the bill of increased homelessness or those vulnerable tenants at risk of losing their home.
“That’s why we think the Scottish Government should make up to £50million available to help mitigate the impact of the first year of the bedroom tax and give practical help to all set to lose out.”
This month, the Sunday Mail highlighted the plight of a disabled mum who faces losing a quarter of her benefit money.
Iris Henderson, 59, who was born with dwarfism, faces losing the cash unless she moves out of her specially adapted house.
Iris has lived in her three-bedroom home in Cumbernauld for 35 years and has spent thousands of pounds adapting it to make life easier.
Yesterday, Iris, whose story we told two weeks ago, said the tax showed the Tories’ contempt for the poor.
“David Cameron and George Osborne have no idea of what it is like to live with a disability. People with disabilities will be condemned to a life of isolation. They won’t be able to get out because they’re worried about paying for this bedroom tax.
“Going for lunch or to the cinema with friends can be a lifeline but people won’t be able to afford that if they are hit by the bedroom tax.
“They will be stuck at home. How would Mr Cameron like to stare at four walls, day in and day out?
“I will lose £72 a month in benefits. That will have a big impact on my quality of life.
“The bedroom tax is something that has been cobbled together without very much thought for the impact it
will have on disabled people. Some people might take their own lives.
“It is difficult enough to live in constant pain without this added burden.”
The Con-Dems’ assault on the vulnerable has also closed factories that employ disabled workers.
Remploy plants across the UK have been axed with the loss of 1752 jobs.
Factories in Motherwell, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Dundee, Stirling, Clydebank, Leven and Cowdenbeath have closed.
Wheelchair factory worker George Scollen, 58, was found dead at home on the day his workplace in Springburn, Glasgow, shut its doors.