Tuesday, 24 September 2013



At a time when this Government is standing up for a privileged few by giving a tax cut to millionaires, it’s appalling that vulnerable people, many of them disabled, are being plunged into arrears and debt as a result of David Cameron’s Bedroom Tax.

Labour has announced that in Government we will repeal the Bedroom Tax. We’ll pay for that by reversing Government measures including the recent tax cut for hedge funds, the shares for rights scheme (which opened up a massive £1 billion tax loophole) and tackling tax scams in the construction industry.

This will provide a glimmer of hope to the over 400,000 disabled people hit by David Cameron’s cruel and unfair measure.

The move also demonstrates what life under Labour will be like. Not borrowing more in these tough times, but using Labour values to guide a different set of Labour priorities.

The fact remains that the Bedroom Tax does not deal with the problem that it’s supposed to solve, that of under-occupation. In fact, the Government’s costings on the amount raised from the Bedroom Tax explicitly assume that people do not move into smaller properties.

Labour will deal with under-occupation by funding local authorities who are able to help people with the costs of moving to suitable accommodation, using the funding set aside by the Government through Discretionary Housing Payments for dealing with the problems caused by the Bedroom Tax.

In tough times, Labour will make tough choices on all spending – including social security. Ed Miliband has set out that we won’t borrow to pay for this or any social security change.

It is because Labour is serious about getting the social security bill down that repealing the Bedroom Tax is the right thing to do. As well as being cruel and unfair, growing evidence shows that the Bedroom Tax costs more than it saves, partly because those forced to move to the private rented sector will end up costing more in Housing Benefit.

Housing Associations say that tens of millions of pounds are likely to be lost through the build up of arrears.
There will be many tough choices ahead for Labour, like cutting the winter fuel allowance for the wealthiest pensioners.

But what is distinctly Labour, is our belief that we need a recovery that benefits everyone, not just a few at the top.

Our approach to bringing social security down will be to ensure that more people are in work. That is why we want to help to make work pay by introducing a lower 10p starting rate of tax – paid for by a mansion tax – and to repeat the tax on bankers’ bonuses to pay for a compulsory jobs guarantee for young people.
I’m ready to make tough choices. But it will be in a distinctly Labour way.

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