SNP group slam council decision to put payrises before bedroom tax victims

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  By a Newsnet reporter

The SNP group in Aberdeen city council have submitted an emergency motion calling on the Labour-Conservative coalition which governs the city not to evict anyone who falls into arrears as a result of the bedroom tax, if they take all reasonable steps to pay.

The council rejected a previous motion calling on Aberdeen housing department stop bedroom tax evictions, but at the same time they passed a motion raising the salaries of senior administration members.  

The emergency motion reads:

That Aberdeen City Council resolves that where tenants who are subject to the Bedroom Tax and are doing all they reasonably can to avoid falling into arrears, the council will use all legitimate means to collect rent due, except eviction.

The current Aberdeen administration is now the most expensive in the city’s history, with the salaries of senior members of the administration over £40,000 higher than under the previous administration.  The salary increase comes at a time when public sector workers are subject to a pay freeze imposed by the Westminster government.

All SNP-run councils have committed to implementing a no eviction policy, following the lead of SNP run Dundee City Council. The SNP group in Aberdeen City Council is calling on the administration to give Aberdeen tenants the same protection from this devastating policy.

SNP Group Leader Cllr Callum McCaig said:

“The bedroom-tax is a devastating policy being pursued by the UK Government. Local councils cannot do everything to protect people but the council can do this: they can remove the threat of eviction. When a council tenant runs into arrears through no fault of their own because of the bedroom-tax then the council should not be evicting them.

“The Labour-led administration has chosen today to put themselves and their salaries before the needs of the citizens of Aberdeen. They are failing to take action they could on the bedroom-tax whilst putting up their own salaries up.”

Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart – a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee – said:

“This is probably the most ill thought-out policy since the Poll Tax, and Labour’s complete inability to stand up for the people of Aberdeen – while lining their own pockets – is as baffling as it is shameful.

“Almost 2000 people in Aberdeen are to be affected by this iniquitous tax – a tax which 90% of Scottish MPs have voted against, yet is still to be imposed on Scotland.

“As long as decisions about welfare are made in Westminster, Scotland will continue to have unfair and damaging policies forced on it by governments that we didn’t vote for. That is why Scotland needs to have the powers of independence, so that we can make decisions in and for Scotland.”