Nearly a quarter of those due to be affected by the so-called “spare bedroom tax” will be single parents, according to new research. Government figures show that 150,000 of the 660,000 people expected to have their benefits reduced because they have at least one unused room are lone parents under 60, Labour claim.
The average amount taken from each person per week is £13, which amounts to £676 a year, according to the party’s analysis.
The claim comes amid new concerns that disabled people will also be disproportionately affected by the change in benefit rules, due to be introduced in April.
New rules state that housing benefit and universal credit claimants deemed to have one unused bedroom in their council or housing association home will lose 14% of their housing benefit and those with two or more will lose 25%.
The Department for Work and Pensions estimates that 660,000 people living in social housing will lose an average of £728 per year as a result of the change.
Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne said: “David Cameron promised to stand up for parents, but his bedroom tax is a £100m tax bombshell for single mums and dads.
“The bedroom tax has now been exposed as a chaotic disaster, but it’s not too late for the prime minister to do the decent thing, admit he has got this wrong and think again.”
The planned changes will also affect hundreds of thousands of disabled people, according to the National Housing Federation.
A fund to help people eligible for disability living allowance was given a £30m boost this year by Cameron. But an analysis of figures by the federation claims that this will leave a £100m shortfall which will have to be made up by claimants.
David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: “The bedroom tax is ill-thought and unfair as thousands of disabled people will have no choice but to cut back further on food and other expenses in order to stay in their own homes.”