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2016 National Retired Members Conference
4 October 2016

An article published in the Independent on 30 September 2016 revealed measures which will be introduced in April 2018 that will result in thousands of pensioners being hit by a new bedroom tax. This is despite the Government’s promise to protect the elderly from the hugely controversial benefit cuts.

Pensioners are poised to lose at least £300 a year because their homes will be deemed to be “underoccupied”, slashing their incomes or forcing them to move away from family and friends, or to flats that are unsuitable for older people.

In some cases the financial pain will be greater – one housing association has identified pensioners in part of the North who are set to lose a staggering £1, 700 a year.

This hardship is the result of housing benefit in social housing being limited to the level of the Local Housing Allowance, the cap used in the private sector. Caroline Abrahams, charity director of Age UK, said: “Imposing the cap on older tenants will not only cause them anxiety and distress, it is also pointless given the lack of affordable housing options available to them”.

Conference instructs the National Retired Members’ Committee to work with the NEC to oppose these proposals and include the issue in any ongoing campaigning being undertaken by UNISON against the bedroom tax.