The UN Special Rapporteur's final report on her visit to the UK to investigate housing is published today see report here includes key recommendations:
Immediate suspension of the Bedroom Tax
Increased investment in council and other affordable housing
Strict regulation of the private rented sector
The report praises the history of UK housing provision, as an example to other countries. But it says current Government housing policy and practise is regressive against the standard of international human rights.
Tenants groups and anti Bedroom Tax campaign have welcomed the report, which is another serious blow to the Governments policies on housing and benefits.
Eileen Short, chair of Defend Council Housing, says:
The Bedroom Tax is dead and the Government must now be forced to bury it. It is unjust and unworkable and tenants have shown we can and will defeat it. Instead of subsidising a failing housing market, we need to cut rents, not benefits and invest in building a new generation of first class council housing.
Mass organised opposition to the Bedroom Tax has pushed the Scottish parliament to effectively abolish it in Scotland, with plans to refund every tenant affected - see press report .
Councils across England and Wales are refusing to evict tenants affected, and supporting calls for an end to the tax. And growing numbers of MPs are calling for immediate suspension see EDM 662
Anti Bedroom Tax campaigners are planning protests across Britain to demand an immediate end to the discredited policy. Groups from across Britain met in Birmingham on 18th January to Co-ordinate protests March/April 2014, aimed at ending the Bed Tax in 2014. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
The UN special rapporteur report recommends:
'the spare room subsidy should be suspended immediately and should be fully re-evaluated in light of the evidence of its negative impacts on the right to adequate housing and general well-being of many vulnerable individuals and households.' (para 80 (b) page 20)
'extend and expand grants and subsidies for social housing (for local authorities and housing associations) as these have been essential in responding to the housing need of the most vulnerable' (para 80 (c) page 20)
'increase regulation and enhance information and accountability in relation to the private rented sector: adopt regulatory tenancy protections including minimum length of contracts, restraints on rent increases and strict limits on eviction.' (para 80 (g) p20).
see report here