Government wins 'bedroom tax' vote
The government has tonight comfortably won a vote on the controversial ‘bedroom tax.’
MPs voted by 316 votes to 263 not to accept an amendment passed by the House of Lords which would have watered down the policy, which will cut benefit for social housing tenants with one or more spare rooms. Lord Best’s amendment would have delayed the penalty for foster carers, war widows, disabled people and the sick with a spare room until suitable alternative accommodation became available.
Labour MP Frank Field said the policy, which the government estimates will cost 670,000 households £14 a week on average, would be ‘a recruitment sergeant to the money lenders.’
Stephen Timms, shadow employment minister, said: ‘Legal challenge to the government’s policy seems inevitable because it penalises people for a situation which it is impossible for them to change.’
Chris Grayling, employment minister, said: ‘We are housing large numbers of people in expensive temporary accommodation that should be housed properly and at the same time we are supporting a million empty bedrooms in the social housing sector.
‘This is something we simply cannot afford at the present time.’
Mr Grayling said the government had already made £30 million available in discretionary housing payments to help foster carers and those living in households which have been adapted for disabled access.
The bill will now return to the House of Lords.