Bedroom tax axed in Scotland: Holyrood rivals back SNP Government’s £15m plan to banish hated spare-room policy

ALEX Salmond is to banish the bedroom tax from Scotland.

The Scottish Government have agreed to cover the full cost of housing benefit cuts for Scots hammered by the vicious Con-Dem policy.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said yesterday they are “more than willing” to put in the extra £15million required.

The move – a stunning victory for the Daily Record-led campaign against the charge – will mean the misery-causing policy will effectively be abolished north of the Border.

Labour have been calling for the cash to be made available in the Scottish Government’s budget, which will be finalised in a Holyrood vote on Wednesday. And the details of the move are likely to be agreed in behind-the-scenes talks between Finance Secretary John Swinney and Labour finance spokesman Iain Gray. The deal would see Labour vote for an SNP budget for the first time since the Nationalists won power in 2007 – in a clear message of cross-party determination to rid Scotland of the bedroom tax.

However, there is still some debate over how extra cash will be allocated to bedroom tax victims. Sturgeon wants the UK Government to change the law so the money can be provided through her preferred method of discretionary housing payments (DHPs) distributed by councils. That would require the Con-Dems to lift a cap on the amount of money Holyrood can provide to council tenants who have fallen behind on their rent.

Labour would be happy with this method, but believe there are equally good alternatives if the UK Government should inconceivably decide to block the plan.

Sturgeon has now written to UK Welfare Minister Lord Freud asking for the cap to be lifted. She said yesterday: “The bedroom tax penalises some of the most vulnerable people in our society. We know that more than 12,000 children are affected and 80 per cent of households hit contain an adult with a recognised disability.

“We have already provided as much help as legally possible to those suffering from this unjust policy but we are unfairly restricted in what we can do. For example, despite Scotland having 20,000 more households affected by the bedroom tax than London, the DHP allocation for Scotland in 2014-15 is £35million less than London. The Scottish Government are currently spending up to the legal limit in order to mitigate the effects of the bedroom tax on people across Scotland.

“We are more than willing to put in the extra £15million, which would increase the amount of help available to a total of £50million. If Westminster lifts the legal cap – which they can easily do – we will be able to help the 76,000 people in Scotland who are suffering from this cut. In order to make this legally possible, Westminster needs to lift the cap for Scotland and UK ministers should act now.”

Under the bedroom tax, claimants lose 14 per cent of their housing benefit if a spare bedroom is deemed unoccupied. The cost ranges from £14 to £25 a week.


read the rest of this article by David Clagg in the Daily Record, here:

One thought on “Bedroom tax axed in Scotland: Holyrood rivals back SNP Government’s £15m plan to banish hated spare-room policy

  1. Pingback: Scottish anti-bedroom tax victory | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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