By Martin Kelly
SNP Work and Pensions Spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP has written to Secretary of State Iain Duncan Smith urging him to scrap the bedroom tax in its entirety, following last-minute amendments to the policy.

After facing months of criticism from charities and others, Iain Duncan Smith said approved foster carers, children with disabilities and adult children in the Armed Forces will be exempt from the bedroom tax and allowed an additional room.

However the SNP has pointed out that many of the most disadvantaged people in Scotland will still be blighted by the policy.

Commenting Dr Whiteford claimed the last minute changes demonstrated just how weak the controversial policy was.

Dr Whiteford said:

“The most disadvantaged people in Scotland, including single parents and disabled adults, will still be deeply affected, despite over 90 per cent of Scotland’s MPs voting against this iniquitous measure - which is why welfare policy should be decided in Scotland, which 64% of the Scottish people support, requiring the powers of independence.

The Bedroom Tax is set to have a disproportionate effect in Scotland due to the application of the size criteria to local authority owned temporary housing. 

In Scotland over 50% of homeless temporary accommodation is local authority owned, compared to the rest of the UK where the bulk of temporary accommodation for homelessness provision is leased from the private sector, a problem which was recognised by Coalition Pensions Minister Steve Webb.

The SNP MP added: “Iain Duncan Smith has recognised there are major problems, so he should go one step further and scrap this unworkable and unfair piece of legislation. To ignore the plight of the many other people in society who will face the brunt of the bedroom tax is wrong and shambolic.”

The Labour described the announcement By Mr Duncan Smith as “rushed” and complained that it did not address concerns over households with a disabled person and the position of reservists.

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Liam Byrne said: "We have another rushed U-turn which offers nothing more and no protection for disabled children,"

Labour has already accepted that a Bedroom Tax is necessary and that the party plan to cut housing benefit costs, but have insisted they will restrict the benefit cuts to people who decline to move to smaller accommodation.  However critics have pointed out that Labour have yet to provide detail relating to how far people may be expected to move, into which type of areas and whether vulnerable householders living close to family or carers will be exempt.


# alexb 2013-03-13 09:27
I'm afraid you're wasting your time Eilidh trying to get I.D.S to scrap the tax, but what angers me more is the hypocritical attitude of the Labour party on this woeful, and has been proved, ill thought out piece of legislation. 35 Labour M.Ps with Scottish constituencies failed to turn up for the debate,or vote,on the Welfare Reform Bill, but now they "care". Don't make me laugh.
# clootie 2013-03-13 10:44
This will not impact on me.I have to be open about that.

However I'm old enough to remember when everyone I knew lived in "social housing" - a council house. At one time I shared a room with by granda and an uncle / my aunt had a room and my sister shared with my parents. Over the years the occupancy changed as people died or newly weds needed a room for a few years. It was a family house and I cannot see the justification to revisit this approach.

Building a 3 bedroomed terrace is probably little more expensive than a 2 bedroom terraced house.

We should be building affordable housing and closing the cash cow for private landlords.

How many council houses did Labour build when they were in power in Scotland - was it 6 or 7.(that's single figures not units)

Labour will keep this policy. A policy designed for an issue in England being implemented in Scotland.
# WRH2 2013-03-13 17:28
Clootie, although I never lived in an overcrowded house, I agree with what you say about not revisiting that past. Moreover, the idea of building one bedroomed accommodation is madness, complete waste of money. Two bedrooms should be the smallest as that at least gives people the ability to have friends and family stay over occasionally. And given there is a mismatch between the numbers of smaller properties and those who theoretically need them, this should not be implemented until that problem is first dealt with.
# Silverytay 2013-03-13 11:37
clootie I am in the same position as yourself .
This tax wont affect me but I was brought up in a 2 bedroom house where counting my mum & dad 8 of us lived .
The thought of someone like my dad who had to retire early due to having a heart attack being forced to move out of a house where he lived all his married life makes me sick .
I see that the tories are making last minute amendments to this bill but to my mind the whole thing should be scrapped .
When this bill goes through it will allow tory councils the authority to implement a form of ethnic cleansing by the back door .
# Rabbie 2013-03-13 13:00
Hou mony MP's bides in accommodation wi empty bedrooms peyed for bi us, the tax-peyers?
Are ony o thaim gaun tae see a cuttin doon o thair ain perks?
A widnae haud ma braith.
# Angry_Weegie 2013-03-13 14:51
So Westminster have decided that families with sons in the forces who are sent abroad to fight in one of their dodgy wars are not to be asked to move to a smaller house while the kids are fighting. Yippee!!

In addition, foster carers with an extra room set aside for foster children will no longer be penalised. Yippee again!!

Setting aside any general comment about the tax, how could any government in their right minds think that these were a good idea in the first place.

It may not be necessary to be 'aff yer heid' to be a Westminster minister, but it sure helps.
# gayle 2013-03-13 15:46
"Approved foster carers" - Sounds good doesn't it? Then you realise that you can't be approved to be a carer if you don't have the spare room to accommodate the child!

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