Saturday, 21 September 2013
Labour to scrap the bedroom tax? I’ll believe it when I see it
So Ed Miliband will announce this weekend that a future labour government will look to scrap the bedroom tax which I have attacked and talked about on this very blog. Labour has said it will reverse controversial changes to housing benefit if it wins the next election. Ed Miliband said the cut affecting social tenants in England, Scotland and Wales deemed to have spare bedrooms was unfair. Labour aims to fund its change by blocking tax cuts for businesses. Critics called the cut a "bedroom tax". The government argues it ends "spare room subsidies" unavailable in the private sector and that the £23bn-a-year housing benefit bill must be cut. The announcement comes with the Labour Party conference about to start in Brighton. 'Not working' Since April, social housing tenants deemed to have spare rooms have either had to pay more in rent or move somewhere smaller. For months Labour has argued the change is wrong, unfair and penalises disabled people in particular, but had not committed itself to reverse the policy if it was in power after the election. But Mr Miliband has now said the change would be paid for by scrapping a tax break for hedge funds and the Treasury's new shares-for-rights scheme. I would urge all supporters and all who oppose the bedroom tax to take this latest news with a pinch of salt. A huge one given Labours current agreement with the cuts agenda who say they feel the cuts are too far and too fast yet the cuts would continue under a future labour government. If the labour party are genuine which I am suspicious about of course given labours previous record in gov and in opposition in sacking many workers in local government. I will believe any scrap when I see it. Labour has pledged to do things in the past including renationalising the railways and still it is in private hands despite all the conference motions and pledges you could muster yet still nothing changes. If labour is genuinely against this policy called the bedroom tax then we should not see any evictions or any threats of an eviction from any labour council up and down the land. We will see if this happens or not. Of course I would welcome a labour party pledge to scrap the bedroom tax but I would urge caution I have seen similar pledges from labour in the past only to be left disappointed. Let’s not give up on the solidarity acting of defending people in their homes who are still under threat of eviction. We should go where no labour party member will in defending people in their homes offering solidarity and physical help as and where it is needed including human shields to prevent evictions. Despite this pledge reality goes on for many facing hardship from the bedroom tax. This will not change anything this next week for many a militant organisation is still needed to fight off the bedroom tax. No complacency can be afforded now a stepping up of all campaigns ageist the bedroom tax must commence forth now with the call now labour are promising to scrap this so lets not waste anytime and fight to keep people in their homes and safe from eviction. The bedroom tax is still not gone and we must not rest on our laurels we must keep up the pressure on all councils including labour councils to oppose the bedroom tax and all forms of it.