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Labour bid to repeal Bedroom Tax voted down by Lib Dems

Diana Johnson MP today voted with Labour MPs in an attempt to abolish the unjust and unworkable Bedroom Tax, imposed by the Coalition Government.

The Hull North MP believes that households affected by this tax, including around 6,000 households in Hull, simply can’t wait until 2015 for it to be repealed.

In the Commons vote this evening most Lib Dem MPs joined their Tory Coalition partners to scupper the bid to repeal the Bedroom Tax by 252 votes to 226.

The Bedroom Tax hits over 400,000 disabled people nationally and around 80,000 people in the Yorkshire and the Humber region, 50,400 of them disabled.

For the vast majority of those affected, there is nowhere smaller to move to, as vulnerable people are hit with an average bill of £720 a year through no fault of their own. Instead of reducing the housing benefit bill, there is now a real risk that the Bedroom Tax will cost

more than it saves, as local authorities see increases in rent arrears, empty properties and homelessness.

The next Labour Government will repeal the Bedroom Tax, without extra borrowing.  To cover the £470m cost of repealing the Bedroom Tax, funds have been earmarked from:

  • Reversing George Osborne’s recent tax cut for hedge funds announced in the 2013 Budget;

  • Reversing George Osborne’s ‘shares for rights’ scheme, which has been rejected by businesses, and has opened up a tax loophole that will lead to £1bn being lost to the Exchequer, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility; and

  • Tackling disguised employment in the construction industry.

Diana Johnson MP said: “The Bedroom Tax is leaving the most vulnerable families up and down this country with nowhere to go and on the edge of spiralling debt. These people simply can’t wait until the next Labour government in 2015 for it to be repealed. They need it repealed now. That‘s why I voted today to do just that.
“As ever Lib Dem MPs backed the Bedroom Tax and voted with their Tory Coalition friends to keep this penalty against disabled people and the poorest families - just as Lib Dems and Tories voted together to give tax cuts to hedge funds and millionaires.

“Despite today’s setback, Labour is still pledged to repeal the Bedroom Tax in government in 2015. We’ve set out a clear plan to pay for axing the Bedroom Tax by closing down tax loopholes and avoidance by the richest, and by reversing the tax cut to hedge funds, so that extra borrowing will not be needed to fund social security.

“I want more efficient use made of space in social housing and savings in Housing Benefit, but this needs to be done by first providing enough suitable alternative social housing and by dealing humanely with the many different individual circumstances in which families live.

“Around 6,000 Hull households in council and social housing are hit by the Coalition’s Bedroom Tax. At the end of October, Hull City Council had only 25 smaller one or two bedroom dwellings available for them to move into.”

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