Bedroom tax amendments fall short

Angus MP Mike Weir has supported calls by his SNP colleague and Work and Pensions Spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP for the UK government to abandon the Bedroom Tax. Dr Whiteford has written to Secretary of State Iain Duncan Smith urging him to scrap the bedroom tax in its entirety, following last-minute amendments to the policy.

In a Written Ministerial Statement Iain Duncan Smith said approved foster carers, children with disabilities and adult children in the Armed Forces will be exempt from the bedroom tax and allowed an additional room. However many of the most disadvantaged people in Scotland will still be blighted by the policy

Commenting on the matter Mr Weir said: “Although welcome these last-minute amendments, just weeks before the policy is to be implemented, shows how weak this legislation is. The most disadvantaged people in Scotland, including single parents and disabled adults, will still be deeply affected, despite over 90 per cent of Scotland’s MPs voting against this iniquitous measure - which is why welfare policy should be decided in Scotland, which 64% of the Scottish people support, requiring the powers of independence.

“Angus Council have indicated that around 600 of their tenants will be affected and the National Federation of Housing Associations have indicated that the total numbers affected in Angus will be more than double that.

“The Bedroom Tax is set to have a disproportionate effect in Scotland due to the application of the size criteria to local authority owned temporary housing. In Scotland over 50% of homeless temporary accommodation is local authority owned, compared to the rest of the UK where the bulk of temporary accommodation for homelessness provision is leased from the private sector, a problem which has been recognised by Pensions Minister Steve Webb, although he has not brought forward any suggestions to tackle it.

“Iain Duncan Smith has recognised there are major problems, so he should go one step further and scrap this unworkable and unfair piece of legislation. To ignore the plight of the many other people in society who will face the brunt of the bedroom tax is wrong and shambolic.”