In a letter to the Welfare Reform Committee, Iain Duncan Smith says: “On the issue of arrears, it is simply too early to say that they are increasing because of the removal of the spare room subsidy.”
This claim is directly contradicted by:
- Data collected by COSLA and the Scottish Government, published in July, showed there had been a 400 per cent increase in local authority requests for Discretionary Housing Payments to help people pay their rent in the first month after the bedroom tax was introduced.
- Evidence from the Housing Regulator reported in October that arrears had increased by £800,000 across registered social landlords.
Commenting, SNP MSP Linda Fabiani, who is also a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee, said:
“Iain Duncan Smith has blundered yet again on a topic he should be up to speed on – he was the man who implemented the iniquitous Bedroom Tax in the first place.
“The letter, which highlights the need for a Yes vote this September, shows that he is in denial on the devastating consequences of the Bedroom Tax on vulnerable people across Scotland.
“This comes after the announcement by George Osborne that, on the Treasury’s current forecasts, £12 billion of further welfare cuts will be made by Westminster in the first two years of the next UK Parliament. He suggested housing benefits for under-25s would be cut, affecting 32,000 households across Scotland - and plunging another 20,000 children in Scotland into poverty.
“Why should Scotland continue to have policy decisions made by people like Iain Duncan Smith and George Osborne? It is clear we cannot trust the flawed Westminster system with the welfare state.
“With a Yes vote an SNP Government in an independent Scotland will scrap the Bedroom Tax.
"This September Scotland has the opportunity with a YES vote to rid itself of this unfair Westminster system that targets vulnerable people, and create the fairer, wealthier country we all want to live in."