Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Miliband urged to take a stance on bedroom tax policy

The Labour leader is being urged to take a stance on whether the party would scrap the bedroom tax if they came into power after a Scottish Labour shadow cabinet member said it would be abolished by the party.

The pressure on Ed Miliband comes after Jackie Baillie said on a BBC Scotland radio programme that Labour would abolish the tax, saying an announcement would be made ‘relatively soon’.

The SNP has said Mr Miliband should clarify what his party’s policy is.

Linda Fabiani, who sits on the Welfare Reform Committee and challenged Ms Baillie’s comments, said: ‘Labour is mired in confusion when it comes to the bedroom tax – it’s like the dance of the seven veils. There appears to be different policies and views from Labour spokespeople in different parts of the UK. Miliband needs to get a grip on this.’

Her comments came before two rallies in Glasgow against the changes to housing benefit, which took place over the weekend.

On the programme, Ms Bailie was asked: ‘Would a Westminster Labour government abolish the bedroom tax?’

She said: ‘We are very clear. Labour rejected this approach when it was put to them in government, for social landlords. We have campaigned for its abolition.

‘Yes we will abolish it. My understanding is that you can expect an announcement relatively soon.’

However, a UK Labour spokesman said the claims were against the party’s UK policy.

Readers' comments (14)

  • Peter Wicks

    For three long years this bloke has kept his mouth shut, so what makes the world think he will do anything or say anything to stop the Bedroom Tax cos the man is a waste of space.

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  • Well I would say he has hardly the chance.

    Nick Clegg was supposed to be perfect, as, with Cable and the rest.

    They have gradually turned into additions that are of use to this Government. Agreeing with most things.

    We have "food banks" and nothing was asked why? Legal aid is no longer the same, causing many to have no rights within the law.

    This Government has reduced the working class to their knees.

    I have read enough reports from the Conference, I find the whole subject distasteful and arrogant.

    As a grandmother, I have great respect for those trying to live through these times.

    I wish a future much better for all, this is hardly living.

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  • Mike Batt


    I can't see them abolishing it.

    I reckon they will amend it though.

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  • Daedalus

    I don't understand why he doesn't pledge to abolish it. He would gets lots of brownie points and increase his standing in the polls.

    Of course he wouldn't have to actually abolish it if he came to power. I think that there is some parliamentary rule about opposition pledges not being enforceable (and come to think of it government pledges are not enforceable either!)

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  • Pop Quiz

    Please list the Tory policies reversed or abolished by Labour during the past 30-years.

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  • It shouldn't have taken you that long to list all of them!

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  • He shouldn't need urging!!

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  • Rick Campbell

    OMG -- People can't figure out why Labour have kept their gobs shut.

    Perhaps because they know that the Tries know that Labour were looking at something similar nearly a decade ago.

    From Hansard January 2004 :

    Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when the local housing allowance will be extended from the nine Pathfinder authorities to all local authorities. [R] [146690]
    Malcolm Wicks: There will be a comprehensive evaluation of local housing allowance Pathfinders including interviews with claimants, landlords, local authority staff and stakeholder organisations, as well as an analysis of administrative data. This is already underway. The findings of the evaluation will inform decisions on the national extension of the allowance. It is envisaged that local housing allowance will be extended to all local authorities in 2006.
    Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reasons the local housing allowance applies only to the de-regulated private sector. [R] [146691]
    Malcolm Wicks: We hope to implement a flat rate housing benefit system in the social sector, similar to that anticipated in the private rented sector to enable people in that sector to benefit from the choice and flexibility that the reforms can provide. We aim to extend our reforms to the social rented sector as soon as rent restructuring and increased choice have created an improved market.
    Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how the rent of those tenants whose rent is higher than the local housing allowance will be paid; [R] [146692] (2) whether there will be a hardship payment to prevent the eviction of those tenants whose rent is higher than the new local housing allowance. [R] [146693]
    Malcolm Wicks: Tenants whose rent is higher than their local housing allowance will be expected to make good the difference with their landlord. This is no different to what happens under existing rules. During the Pathfinder stage, no claimant will be worse off financially at the point of change as they will be covered by a form of transitional protection. There will not be a hardship payment to tenants whose rent is higher than their local housing allowance. Tenants will have the choice to shop around and look for a cheaper property in such circumstances.
    Labour did bring in limits on spare rooms for people in private rented property in 2008. It is clear from this that their plan was to later on introduce this for people in Council Houses and other Social Housing. The delay was because they wanted the rents to raise to be close to those in the private sector. "as soon as rent restructuring and increased choice have created an improved market."



    I'd love to take the credit for finding this but credit is due to another source:

    http://johnhemming.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/labour-did-pilot-and-plan-bedroom-tax.html

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  • I hope Ed Miliband reads what is written here. I hope soon someone has the courage, to do what should be done.

    Affordable Housing is not affordable, food banks are not morally acceptable, in the context they are being used.

    Bedroom Tax, a tax on those who can least afford it. Would not trying to get more homes built, and the option to move, firstly tried?

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  • simon ryan

    if he doesnt abolish it then i hope he at least brings pensioners, pheadophiles and sexuall offenders { who at the moment are excempt from this horrible tax} under the same rules as those who are suffering the brunt ,bbut its very unlikelly

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