Eilidh Whiteford


Own Goal for Labour on Bedroom Tax

Sunday, 11 May 2014


The Scottish National Party has called on Scottish Labour to confirm their position on the Bedroom Tax following an evident split in the party during a Westminster debate. The Scottish Affairs Committee was debating recommendations of a report which said Bedroom Tax arrears should be written off and payments should be refunded.

During the debate SNP MP Pete Wishart challenged Ian Davidson MP on whether Labour would commit to the recommendations of the report. Davidson was left red-faced when he said he agreed with the recommendations but was slapped down by his colleague Stephen Timms, Shadow Minister of State for Employment, who said that while he thought it sounded like an nice slogan, a UK Labour government would not make the commitment.

Scottish Labour have a poor track record on the Bedroom Tax after 10 of its MPs failed to vote on their own debate which demanded the Bedroom Tax be scrapped immediately.

SNP spokesperson for Work and Pensions Dr Eilidh Whiteford said:

“This was a major own goal for Labour as it reveals they were not committed to compensating those affected by the Bedroom Tax and writing off the debts.

“The comments also highlight how Labour will say one thing in Westminster and something completely different in Holyrood.

“The Bedroom Tax is a deeply unfair policy which will be scrapped in an independent Scotland. It is a shame that Labour MPs did not feel so strongly on November 12 last year at their own debate in the House of Commons when there was a real opportunity to abolish this punitive tax. 47 Labour members didn't even bother to turn up including - shamefully - 10 Scottish Labour MPs .

"In contrast the SNP government is doing all it can to help mitigate the impact of this divisive tax and have pledged that funding for Discretionary Housing Payments will continue next year with another £20 million to help victims of Westminster’s Bedroom Tax.

"One of the most significant gains of independence is that Scotland will have full control over its welfare system. That means only with a Yes vote will we finally be able to get rid of the unjust Bedroom Tax and have a welfare state that reflects the views and votes of the people of Scotland."

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