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  Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith has been accused of running scared of public scrutiny of the controversial Bedroom tax ahead of his visit to Scotland.

Despite making a trip north of the border, the Conservative Minister has refused to give public evidence to Holyrood’s Welfare Reform Committee.

The Westminster Work and Pensions Secretary who is scheduled to appear at a conference today charging £545 per head for delegates to attend, has agreed to a meeting with the Welfare Reform Committee – but only behind closed doors.

His repeated refusal to appear in public follows a similar stance by Lord Freud – the reported architect of Westminster’s Bedroom Tax – who also refused to publicly defend the policy when visiting Scotland.

Commenting, SNP MSP Kevin Stewart who sits on the Welfare Reform Committee said:

"Iain Duncan Smith has had to be dragged kicking and screaming to attend a closed door meeting, and is still refusing to answer questions about the iniquitous Bedroom Tax in public.

"The only conclusion that people in Scotland can possibly draw is that he is running scared of public scrutiny because he cannot defend this indefensible policy - which is utterly irrelevant to Scottish circumstances.

"There are over 100,000 households across Scotland set to be hit by the Bedroom Tax next week, all of whom are facing a real financial burden.

"The people facing the prospect of this attack cannot afford to stump up fees of £545 to hear Iain Duncan Smith justify what he is doing, so why is he refusing to appear in public so that people can hear what he has to say?

"The fact of the matter is that this is a deeply unfair policy that people across Scotland find utterly abhorrent - which is why a clear majority of people in Scotland support Holyrood having responsibility for welfare and pensions policy, not the Westminster system.

"The SNP are committed to abolishing the Bedroom Tax in an independent Scotland, and it is a clear demonstration of why we need the Scottish Parliament to have the full powers over welfare that only a Yes vote in September 2014 can secure."

The so called Bedroom Tax has caused widespread anger amid claims that it will hit the most vulnerable in society.

The SNP has pledged to scrap the controversial policy should Scots vote Yes in the 2014 independence referendum.  However the Labour party backs the Bedroom Tax in principle and is proposing its own for people who refuse to move to smaller accommodation, if it is available.

The SNP has announced that any council under their control will refuse to evict anyone who finds themselves in arrears due to benefit cuts caused by the new legislation, which is due to come into force at the start of April.  Some Labour councils are believed to be following the SNP lead.

Scottish Labour has called on the Scottish government to introduce an emergency law forbidding the eviction of tenants who fall into arrears as a result of the Bedroom tax.


# John Souter 2013-03-27 08:40
Reference to the silly woman in the video.

The setting of LHA rates for housing benefit in the private sector has in fact increased rents as landlords have matched rents to the maximum allowable rent for their local areas.
# alexb 2013-03-27 09:27
Quoting John Souter:
Reference to the silly woman in the video.

The setting of LHA rates for housing benefit in the private sector has in fact increased rents as landlords have matched rents to the maximum allowable rent for their local areas.

I believe that's Helen Goodman, M.P, John, a member of Labour's front bench. And now today we have the Labour party in Scotland calling on the Scottish Government to introduce legislation to outlaw this iniquitous tax. What hypocrites.
# Breeks 2013-03-27 09:48
Does anybody know whether Mr Duncan Smith has plans to introduce the Bedroom Tax a year earlier in Scotland?

Trust the Tories to make us all feel young again eh? 24 years younger, like its 1989 all over again.
# Massan_Gow 2013-03-27 12:03
Not yet, but remember now the precedent has been set with the Workfare case they might decide to retrospectively introduce legislation so that it started here in 2012.
# Davy 2013-03-27 11:11
Well, according to "Jackie Ballie" on radio Scotland this morning its all the SNP's fault. "Anyone surprised."
# hektorsmum 2013-03-27 11:59
Sadly not at all. Having listened to "SNP Accused" or as it is better known the BBC Scotland out take on the news this morning, I am not at all surprised.
How do you counteract these lies which are being constantly fed to those who use this for their news?
# proudscot 2013-03-27 11:57
Gary Robertson did ask her a few awkward questions, but she mainly just ignored these and chuntered on regardless, turning her interview into an anti-SNP blame game.

What Robertson did NOT question her on, was why Labour in both Westminster and in Holyrood have abstained on almost every Tory/LibDem policy from Workfare to Welfare cuts, rather than vote against these attacks on the poor and vulnerable of our society.

Labour the party of the poor and the workers? Not Baillie's and Lamont's lot up here, nor Milliband and Curran's lot in Westminster!
# clootie 2013-03-27 13:35
I must have missed the announcement by Labour that they would withdraw the bedroom tax if the gained power at Westminster.

If not are Labour in Scotland proposing a mitigation policy which will apply under either the Toty/LibDem OR a Labour government.????

It's quite a simple question. The SNP have stated they will remove this welfare attack. Will Labour promise the same.
# bunter 2013-03-27 13:46
Lunchtime BBC Scotland news, main article has eleanor bradford and her pal J baillie cotacting everyone and anyone with an NHS complaint enabling another negative NHS story.
They just keep chip chip chipping away.
# From The Suburbs 2013-03-27 15:17
Absolute cracker on Bedroom Tax, in Scottish Parliament this afternoon near start of BBC TV coverage, by Nicola Sturgeon on Jackie Baillie's Emergency Question.

Turns out neither Jackie Baillie or Johann Lamnont has signed Labour's petition on the subject.

However BBC had Mike Wade from the Times to defend Labour's lack of resolve south of the border on the bedroom tax.

This was followed by from Westminster Torquil Chrichton ex Daily Record to slate the SNP without any of his Labour friends saying where they would get £50 million from the already savaged Scottish budget.
# ogan86 2013-03-27 16:22
I see he got a good heckling -
# James01 2013-03-27 18:13
This whole Bedroom Tax affair should have been a PR disaster for the Labour Party, but as a result of having the Scottish media on their side it hasn’t. Now the BBC and the rest of the Unionist press are attempting to somehow blame the SNP for this fiasco, it’s absolutely astonishing, I really fear for Scotland’s future.
# gayle 2013-03-27 18:13
Bedroom Tax Protest this Saturday at 12:00 Edinburgh.

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