Why the Bedroom Tax must now be scrapped

The spare room subsidy more commonly known as the bedroom tax was an attempt to try and encourage social housing tenants living in properties with spare rooms to downsize. The intention was to free up larger properties for families on the waiting list, currently living in overcrowded housing. This is similar to what Labour introduced for privately renting tenants on local housing allowance in 2008. The wider issue is of course the housing crisis brought about by a chronic lack of affordable housing built under last government. To address this in government we have now increased the number of new affordable homes being built to the fastest rate in 20 years.

To mitigate against any adverse affect of the bedroom tax would have on local residents Liberal Democrat ministers argued that Councils should be given extra money in the form of a discretionary housing payment fund, this money was to help those most in need. Unfortunately in the last year the Labour administration only spent £94,425 of the £383,941 allocated to it from the government for this purpose. This is money that could have helped those most in need has been wasted by the Labour run Council.

An interim report into the policy shows that only 4.5% of people affected have actually downsized, whereas 6% of people affected have been forced to incur extra debt on credit cards or personal loans to afford their rent. This clearly shows that the policy has not been achieving its aims, and is not helping to enable more people to get on in life. This fact coupled with the local Council’s incompetence in using money allocated by the government to help local residents has led us to the conclusion the bedroom tax should be scrapped and replaced with a fairer policy.
Alisdair Calder McGregor – Liberal Democrat PPC for Calder Valley
Mohammad Ilyas -Liberal Democrat PPC for Halifax
Cllr Janet Battye – Leader of Calderdale Liberal Democrat Council Group
Cllr James Baker – Deputy leader of Calderdale Liberal Democrat Council Group