Clegg comes under pressure over Bedroom Tax

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  By a Newsnet reporter

As the Lib Dem’s UK Conference gets underway in Glasgow today, the SNP’s Glasgow MSPs have challenged Nick Clegg to use his time in the city to meet with people suffering under the Bedroom Tax.

The nationalist MSPs have joined together to write to the Lib Dem leader challenging him to step outside the confines of the conference bubble and see for himself the damage that Westminster’s Bedroom Tax is doing to people living in the city.

Newsnet Scotland has learned they will be joined in highlighting opposition to the hated measure by members of Clegg’s own party who will meet with protesters outside the conference centre.

Earlier this week the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Housing, Raquel Rolnik, publicly condemned the Bedroom Tax (calling for the policy to be abolished) after gathering evidence of the consequences of the tax in cities around the UK including Glasgow.

In his budget this week John Swinney announced an additional £20 million to help mitigate the worst effects of Westminster’s Bedroom Tax while the SNP remain the only party to have officially committed to abolishing the measure altogether when they gain the powers to do so in an independent Scotland.

Commenting, SNP Glasgow MSP Bob Doris said:

“The Bedroom Tax is one of the most appalling measures brought in by the Westminster coalition Government that Nick Clegg keeps in power – imposed on Scotland despite a majority of Scottish MPs voting against it.

“With Nick Clegg in town this weekend, he will surely never have a better chance to see just how much his Government is harming people in Glasgow and across Scotland.

“The UN’s Special Rapporteur Raquel Rolnik visited Glasgow to learn more about the Bedroom Tax and within days had strongly condemned the policy and called for it to be abolished.

“Now we are challenging Nick Clegg to follow in her footsteps and use his time in Glasgow to actually meet with some of the people being affected by Westminster’s Bedroom Tax.

“It is his party that has made the Bedroom Tax possible by propping up the Tories in Government, so it is only right that Nick Clegg ventures out from the conference bubble and comes face to face with the people in Glasgow paying the price of Westminster’s actions.

“The Bedroom Tax is a policy that should never have made it off the Tories’ drawing board. The SNP are the only party that has committed to abolishing the measure with the powers of an independent Scotland that only a Yes vote will secure.”

Meanwhile, members of the Liberal Democrat Party opposed to the Bedroom Tax are expected to welcome No2BedroomTax spokesperson Alan Wylie to the SECC by applauding his arrival. 

Mr Wylie will walk from Paisley to the conference centre in order to highlight opposition to the Bedroom Tax.  On his arrival, at around 12:50hrs, protesters will handover their BinTheBedroomTax placards to sympathetic Lib Dem delegates who, in a show of unity, will take them into the conference area.

The No2bedroomtax spokesperson welcomed the support of Liberal Democrats saying:

“This gesture by Liberal Democrat members is a sign that the tide is turning on this wicked tax.  We are now united in a coalition of the willing to end the bedroom tax once and for all.

“Tenants, Trade Unions, Disabled People, Housing Associations, Tenant Organisations, Political activists, SNP activists, Labour activists, Lib Dem activists are united in anger against the Bedroom Tax.

“We call on Liberal Democrat members to stand up for vulnerable tenants and vote against the bedroom tax in the motion that goes before conference on Monday evening.”

Ewan Hoyle, Convenor of Glasgow South Liberal Democrats explained why he and fellow LibDems felt the need to support the protest:

“The Liberal Democrat members want to find further ways to reduce the impact of the ‘bedroom tax’ on the most vulnerable.  We’ll be debating what measures the government can take on Monday.  There is however a strong feeling among many members that this simply should not have happened, and that’s why we’ll be welcoming the ‘bin the bedroom tax’ protesters today.”

The Bin The Bedroom Tax Group will hold a rally at Glasgow Green at 11.30hrs on Saturday morning

 

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