The SNP has condemned Westminster’s “year of shame” on the bedroom tax, and once again pledged that the hated tax would be scrapped in an independent Scotland.
Over 82,000 households are estimated in Scotland to be affected by the tax, including 63,500 households with a disabled adult, and 15,000 households with children.
The Scottish Affairs Committee has belatedly begun to wake up to the damage the Bedroom Tax is having on vulnerable PEOPLE in Scotland, with its report published this month calling for the tax to be scrapped. The committee was warned that the bedroom tax risked "fundamentally undermining" Scotland's progressive commitment to reducing homelessness and ensuring everyone has the right to a permanent home.
Policy manager at the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations David Ogilvie said the Scottish Parliament could be justifiably proud of the country’s homelessness commitment, but said: "The ability to achieve its own targets is being fundamentally undermined by this (bedroom tax) policy." He added that homeless people could be left in temporary accommodation for far longer periods of time as people affected by the bedroom tax are moved into the few smaller properties available.
However, these criticisms come too late – given that 47 Labour MPs failed to turn up to Labour’s own debate to scrap the tax, in a vote which was lost by 26 votes. Among them were 10 Scottish Labour MPs – including Deputy Leader Anas Sarwar, who had previously demanded Nicola Sturgeon sign a bill to scrap the tax.
More than 30 Lib Dem MPs voted to uphold the government's hated Bedroom Tax - despite their own party members having condemned the policy at their party conference.
Commenting, SNP spokesperson for Work and Pensions Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP said:
“The Scottish Affairs Committee’s half-hearted call for the Bedroom Tax to be scrapped brings an end to a year of shame for Westminster.
"The Bedroom Tax is inherently unfair. People on the lowest incomes are paying the price for structural problems affecting the supply of affordable housing. The policy is also unworkable - instead of addressing the underlying issues, it undermines the ability of social landlords to invest in the kind of affordable housing that is so badly needed. This policy is imposed on Scotland, despite the fact over 90 per cent of Scottish MPs voted against it.
“One of the most significant gains of independence is that Scotland will have full control over its welfare system. That means only with a YES vote will we finally be able to get rid of the unjust bedroom tax and have a welfare state that reflects the views and votes of the people of Scotland."