On 11th September 2013, a UN special rapporteur released her preliminary findings on social housing policies and procedures in the UK. Rachel Rolnik has told the government it ought to suspend and review its policy on the bedroom tax. It is understood that her final report will be published in March 2014 when it is presented to the Human Rights Council
Miss Rolnik has spent two weeks travelling throughout the UK, including Manchester, assessing policies and programmes addressing issues of social housing. As well as speaking with government officials, she has spoken with many social housing tenants who are greatly concerned about the impact of the bedroom tax.
Following the release of the findings, Mr Grant Shapps, Conservative chair, stated that ‘She has clearly come with an agenda and has biased her own position’. He also stated that Miss Rolnik was not invited to the UK by the government and the only officials she had met were from the wrong department.
Miss Rolnik responded and told reporters ‘I have meet officials from many departments, and the details of these meetings will be listed within my report’. She states that she met officials from the DWP, Communities and Local Government department as well as meeting Eric Pickles and Don Fraser, communities minister.
Commenting on the bedroom tax, she said that she had heard ‘dramatic testimonials’ about it’s impact across the country, in particular from grandparents who act as carers and disabled people. It is clear she has grave concerns as she stated that she has ‘serious concerns’ over the right to housing in the UK.
It will be interested to see the full detailed findings in March 2014.
By Victoria Finley, housing law team