SNP government would axe bedroom tax
A Scottish National Party government would axe the bedroom tax north of the border within a year of Scottish independence.
Alex Salmond made the pledge during first minister’s questions in the Scottish Parliament yesterday.
Mr Salmond said: ‘This government will abolish the bedroom tax if we are elected as the first government of an independent Scotland.
‘Not only will we abolish it, we will do so in the first year of that independent Scotland.’
Mr Salmond’s comments came two days after a report by an advisory group set up by the Scottish Government which said an independent Scotland would have to continue using the UK’s welfare and benefit system for at least five years following the 2014 referendum.
Despite this, Mr Salmond insisted the government would still be in a position to axe the tax at a cost of £60 million a year.
Johann Lamont, the Scottish Labour leader, said: ‘Independent experts have said that it would be impossible to get rid of the bedroom tax on day one of independence if we continued with the welfare position as advocated by the UK.
‘It is nonsense on stilts and everyone but this lot, SNP members, knows it.’
Under the bedroom tax, social housing tenants of working age deemed to have spare rooms have their benefit cut.
According to the Department for Work and Pensions’ impact assessment the under-occupation penalty affects 80,000 people in Scotland, who are hit with an average benefit reduction of £12 per week.