Comment on the bedroom tax


Commenting on news that the bedroom tax will not be applied to foster parents or members of the armed forces, Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess said:

“This is a small step forward, but will be a relief to foster parents and members of the armed forces who were due to be hit by the bedroom tax.

“However, initial estimates suggest this is probably only around 1 per cent of those in Scotland who will have their housing benefit reduced by up to a quarter in April as a result of the bedroom tax.

“That is why we want to see the bedroom tax scrapped. It is a policy that simply should never have seen the light of day.

“Even with today’s changes it is unacceptable – it continues to be unfair, still hitting tens of thousands of disabled tenants hard. Disabled people must be exempt, as must those in temporary accommodation and Women’s Aid refuges.

“The UK Government should withdraw the bedroom tax. But, if they persist as Westminster Ministers seem determined to do, there must be further major concessions.

“For example, Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are Westminster’s funding solution for not just the bedroom tax, but all housing benefit changes. Currently Scotland is to receive just £10m in DHPs. This is just 6.5 per cent of the total DHP allocation for next year despite having 16 per cent of the total number of people due to be affected by the bedroom tax in Great Britain. This needs to change.

“While we are doing what we can to help, this is policy is bring imposed by Westminster. Independence, with full powers over welfare, is the only way to stop unfair policies like the bedroom tax.”