EASTWOOD MSP Ken Macintosh has criticised changes to the welfare system which may single out foster carers for harsh treatment.
Under what has been dubbed ‘the bedroom tax’, social housing claimants who have spare rooms will see their housing benefits cut by 14% for one extra bedroom and 25% for two or more. The cut is particularly unfair on foster families.
The bedroom reserved for their foster child, whether current or in the future, will still be classed as ‘spare’, as foster children are not considered to be part of the family unit.
Families in Eastwood could see their housing benefit cut by between £10 and £20 a week. It is also thought that the plans may have an adverse effect on ‘kinship carers’. When a child is placed in the care system, the first approach can be to his or her next of kin. Often, these are grandparents. As a larger proportion of older people are reliant on the welfare system, the bedroom tax may mean that they have to downsize.
Ken Macintosh said: “There is already a lot of concern over the impact of this bedroom tax on older people who have lived in the family house all their life, but there is absolutely no justification for treating foster families or kinship carers in this way.
“We have so many vulnerable and neglected children and a pressing need for more foster parents to come forward yet the Government seems to be sending a message that these are somehow not proper families.
“The potential savings here are miniscule but the potential damage immense and I would urge the Conservatives to reconsider as a matter of urgency.”