EDUCATION and anti-youth crime projects in Glasgow will be hit by the controversial 'bedroom tax,' it was claimed today.

MSPs were told the new rules, which will mean thousands of families in social housing who receive housing benefit will either have to find extra cash or move to a smaller home, could wreck initiatives to give young people a better start in life.

The Scottish Parliament Welfare Reform Committee has been taking evidence on how the UK Government policy will impact on families in Scotland and what the Scottish Government can do to mitigate the damaging effects.

The Evening Times has reported on how the welfare reforms will hit families, disabled people and housing associations in a series of articles.

Today we report the concerns of a housing association in one of the city's deprived areas.

Cassiltoun Housing Association, in Castlemilk, warned the changes will make life difficult for teenagers who will be forced to share a room and reverse their existing housing allocation policies.

Clair Malpas, regeneration manager, said the landlord had a more generous allocation policy to make available homes with more bedrooms to allow children a room of their own.

The 'bedroom tax' rules mean two children of the same sex under 16 would be expected to share, and two children under 10 of either sex would also share.

She said: "We allocate bedrooms to children at an earlier age to help them have a place to study and to keep them off the streets.

"In social housing there is not a lot of communal family space other than the living room, where a child can study in quiet.

"Also if a 15-year-old boy is made to share with a three-year-old brother, later in the evening he can't be in his room when the younger boy is asleep, if he doesn't want to sit with his parents then he will be pushed onto the streets.

"There are different allocation policies but we know anecdotally that other housing associations have done what we have but they are now considering changing back.

"This would also penalise working tenants who do not receive housing benefit, who will fail to qualify for a larger home if the policy has to be changed."

Studies have shown that children in overcrowded homes have lower educational attainment, due to lack of personal study space, and it also can have a detrimental affect on early development, with reduced one to one parent child time, increased noise and an often chaotic environment.

MSPs were also told the plans would hit relationships between grandparents and grandchildren and could prevent some from acting as kinship carers.

An anomaly between Scotland and England could see thousands lose out and be prevented from looking after children in their extended family

Lisa Marshall, policy worker for Children 1st, said foster carers were to be exempt from the 'bedroom tax'. In England the definition of 'foster carers' includes kinship carers, but not in Scotland.

She said many grandparents, not yet of pension age are looking after grandchildren for lengthy periods of weeks at a time but are not officially kinship carers.

Ms Marshall, said: "There are 3800 known kinship carers looking after children but potentially another 20,000 do so on an informal basis who cannot provide evidence.

"There is confusion and anxiety among these people.

"If they have to move to a smaller home then they won't be able to be kinship carers. Kinship carers also are more likely to be at the lower end of the income scale."

Advice centres also said many people were uncertain what the new rules, due to be introduced in less than two weeks will mean, and how they will be affected.

Gill Westwood, from Citizens Advice Scotland, said: "Aside from the exemption issue there is a dearth of information available about how the new system will work in practice.

KINSHIP carers need clear information and advice on how the changes will affect them.

"It's estimated that there are around 20,000 children living in kinship care in Scotland, though only a small number of carers know they are entitled to various benefits and supports.

Next week the welfare Reform Committee members are having an informal meeting, in private, with Iain Duncan Smith the architect of the reforms, which have been branded "cruel and unfair" by housing bosses and politicians in Glasgow.

Mr Duncan Smith, the UK Conservative/LibDem coalition Government work and Pensions Secretary, refused requests to appear in public at a scheduled committee meeting.

The charities appearing before the committee said they would urge Mr Duncan Smith to scrap the 'bedroom tax' and to look again at the proposed sanctions on people who don't meet new rules on looking for work.

Richard Meade, of Barnardo's Scotland said: "People could lose benefit for up to three years, and they could lose their entitlement to passported benefits.

"This will impact on young people with children. We want him to ensure they cans still claim passported benefits."