Bedroom Tax forcing disabled Scots to go without food and heating


  By Martin Kelly
Benefit cuts imposed due to the controversial Bedroom Tax is leading some disabled people in Scotland to go without basic essentials such as food, heating and clothes according to a leading charity.
The shocking revelation comes from a Capability Scotland report that lays bare the impact of the UK Government’s controversial policy on the most vulnerable.

The report details the effects of the policy which penalises those deemed to have a spare bedroom with some people facing having to find an extra £25 due to having bedrooms usually used for carers being not occupied.

According to Capability Scotland, the new legislation will hit local authorities who have paid for home aids and adaptations with the investment potentially going to waste

Dana O’Dwyer, chief executive of Capability Scotland, said: “It’s blatantly obvious that the UK Government has not thought this reform through properly.

“We are facing a situation where people are being forced out of homes which have been specifically adapted to meet their needs, into smaller properties which will then also need to be adapted to make them accessible.

“We hope that the Scottish Affairs Committee will consider this report carefully and do everything in its power to mitigate the effects of this appalling ‘tax’ for disabled people and their families in Scotland.”

The report follows an Anti-Bedroom Tax rally held in Glasgow on Saturday which attracted three thousand people.  The rally heard calls for a general strike from union officials in protest at the UK government’s austerity measures and separate calls for civil disobedience in order to protect those facing evictions caused by a cut in benefits.

Further protests are planned including one at this Saturday’s Scottish Conservative Party conference at the Albert Hall in Stirling.

Commenting on the report by Capability Scotland, deputy convener of the Welfare Reform Committee Jamie Hepburn described as “appalling” evidence from the charity that disabled people were going without basic essentials.

SNP MSP Mr Hepburn said: “This policy, as described by the chairman of the Scottish Human Rights Commission this week, is one of the most compelling human rights issues in Scotland – clearly shown in this new Capability Scotland report.

“Westminster is hurting the life chances of people who depend on the support of the welfare state with this policy – despite over 90 per cent of Scottish MPs voting against it.

“If Scotland was an independent country with our own constitution, where economic and social rights are embedded, we would never face something like the bedroom tax and the only way to achieve this is with a Yes vote next September.”

Despite opposing the new legislation, the Labour party has refused to pledge it will scrap the Bedroom Tax if re-elected to power.

All SNP local authorities have pledged not to evict any tenants who are unable to pay their rent as a result of the Bedroom tax.  However, several Labour led local authorities in Scotland, including Aberdeen which is facing a local by-election, have refused to introduce a similar non-eviction policy.