SNP decline opportunity to protect Scots from Bedroom Tax

Scottish Labour has called on the SNP government to introduce emergency legislation to prevent tenants from being evicted due to the bedroom tax and to provide funding to councils and housing associations to help them cope with the loss of income as a result of the changes coming into effect on Monday. This was rejected by Nicola Sturgeon.

Repeated calls for the SNP government to work with Labour to provide protection for all social housing tenants across Scotland have been ignored. No financial provision has been made available to Scottish housing associations to help mitigate the impact of the bedroom tax and councils are being left to pick up the vast majority of the costs. Scottish Labour has previously sought to amend the Local Government Finance Order to provide financial support for councils and housing associations. This was voted down by the SNP.

Scottish Labour’s Jackie Baillie MSP, said:

“Most of us can agree that the Bedroom Tax is wrong. But it is coming into effect on Monday and so far, tens of thousands of households which will be affected have received no guidance or support from the SNP government.

“Housing associations will also feel the effects of this change, but no support has been put in place. We also know that despite the rhetoric, SNP councils have not actually abandoned evictions. The SNP’s Dundee councillor Jimmy Black confirmed to Parliament yesterday that his council would evict someone who fails to pay and who doesn’t co-operate with collections, or someone who turns down an offer to move to a smaller property.

“We can’t have a postcode lottery across Scotland. This is too big to be left to individual councils to deal with. The SNP government needs to introduce legislation to give all social tenants protection from eviction where arrears amass due to income lost through the bedroom tax. But importantly, councils and housing associations, stretched to the limits now, can’t be left to make up the financial shortfall. We need to support them with additional resources.

“If need be, we said that Parliament should be recalled from the Easter recess to consider and pass emergency legislation. Scottish Labour would have worked with the SNP to find resources to help plug the financial gap that the Bedroom Tax will cause and to ensure speedy passage of any new legislation. It is regrettable that Nicola Sturgeon decided to play politics and not take action to protect our most vulnerable.

“This issue is so serious, it is above party politics. Our most vulnerable need us to act to stop the horrendous impact of the Tory Bedroom Tax. Labour stood ready to make this happen. The SNP government has the power to act now. They have refused to act. Telling people to wait until after 2016 for something to be done is simply unacceptable.”

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6 thoughts on “SNP decline opportunity to protect Scots from Bedroom Tax

  1. I am disgusted at this bedroom tax i have been unemployed for over a year and cant get a job through no lack of trying i have only been in my home a year and 8 months in which time my sons have moved out i worked hard to get my house the way i wanted it i am receiving 117.00 per fortnight job seekers electric want 113.00 pounds per month and i now need to find around 80.00 per month to pay my rent or move to a 1 bedroom flat which means my sons cant come to stay and also there are no 1 bedroom flats in my area i have been backed into a corner and as i also need to pay a phone bill to gain access to universal job match or have my money stopped i do not even have money for a loaf of bread left from my monthly allowance i am not sleeping and i am totally stressed and im sure there are many more like me i think this bedroom tax is a disgrace i am basically stuffed and have no idea where to turn

    1. If you haven’t already done so, please contact your own MP as soon as possible.

  2. Cabe’s comment clearly shows how this heartless policy will affect the people who can least afford it.

    Reallocation of social housing to reduce overcrowding for some is a laudable aim, but if the coalition cared for the poor at all it would carry this out as a decade long project, hand-in-hand with a programme to build the 1 bedroom properties needed, and allowing tenants the time to move when it suited the circumstances of their lives.

    The coalition’s way of doing this leaves no doubt that they do not care about the poorest.

    Cabe’s post is notable for one another reason – it does not mention the SNP at all, unlike the article above. Scottish Labour’s attempt to draw blame to the Scottish Government over a Conservative/LibDem UK Government policy is probably the most unattractive bit of politicking I’ve ever seen from them.

    Pledging not to evict those whose arrears are caused by the bedroom tax is a good thing; all SNP led councils have agreed to it whilst some Labour councils have refused. However, it only helps a tiny fraction of the people who will suffer because of this change.

    On an issue as serious as this Labour should be doing everything they can to work with the SNP and Greens, to fight the Conservatives and LibDems.

    Which do you think would be Cabe’s preferred option: a) that the Scottish Government do a bit more to help counteract the bedroom tax, or b) that the UK Government don’t introduce it in the first place?

    1. Scottish Labour’s attempt to draw blame to the Scottish Government over a Conservative/LibDem UK Government policy is probably the most unattractive bit of politicking I’ve ever seen from them.

      Right enough. Because it’s not as if SNP members ever blame Labour and its support for the Union for Tory policies affecting Scotland…

    2. Garve,
      I assume from your last paragraph that you think its OK for the Scottish Government to do nothing to help people, as long as its something really bad that the UK Government has introduced?

      We should be doing everything at our disposal to protect people like cabe from the effects of this – whether thats councils working with affected tenants to prevent eviction, or Holyrood changing the law and providing additional resources – especially to Housing Associations.

      I’ll call out any Labour council that refuses to help – care to name them? If you’re thinking of Aberdeen, it wasnt the Labour group that refused help, but the incompetent manner in which the SNP proposed their motion (allegedly at the behest of SNP HQ and against their own advice) which made it fail standing orders…..

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