Ealing Council’s ‘Foster to Avoid Benefits Cut’ Call Condemned

Many people fostering a child received leaflets telling them to avoid losing benefits in case they have empty bedrooms. This move of the London council was criticized severely.

The government plans which started functioning from 1 April promise housing benefit cut for those social housing tenants who have a spare bedroom.

The deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was the person who first expressed his discontent.

The explanation of the council was that foster care applicants would be investigated and if financial gain turned out to be their main aim they will not be approved.

When the deputy prime minister took part in the weekly radio phone-in on LBC 97.3, a caller who called herself Lisa shared that she had received a letter of those mentioned above which suggested that she could “subsidize” the loss by taking in a foster child.

The opinion of Mr. Clegg was that this would not help people solve their money problems and cover the £14-a-week cut in benefit.

“I think it is not right for Ealing Council to take what was an exemption that we announced a couple of weeks ago when we said foster families will not be covered by this and then to use that locally to say ‘why don’t you turn yourself into a foster family?’,” he said.

The Ealing Council spokeswoman said that according to them welfare benefit changes may and will prevent many people who thought of becoming foster parents, from taking children.

She explained that they have sent these leaflets in order to inform foster families about the changes. She added: “We have a very rigorous assessment process and if financial gain was the sole motivation the applicant would not be approved.”

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