Bedroom Tax Armed Forces u-turn welcomed but fight goes on against unfair policy

Local Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, has today (12th March 2013) welcomed a U-turn by Tory Work and Pensions Minister, Iain Duncan Smith, that will now exempt families with adult children who are in the Armed Forces but who continue to live with parents will now be treated as continuing to live at home, even when deployed on operations.

Tom has been campaigning against the Bedroom Tax for several months and raised the profile of this particular anomaly through his constituent, Alison Huggan, who has twin sons serving in the Armed Forces. Alison’s plight made newspaper headlines and national radio appearances.

Tom said:
“It has been a long fight to get the Coalition Government to admit this was an extremely unfair policy that showed a complete lack of respect to those serving in our Armed Forces and to their families. I am very grateful to Alison for helping me raise awareness of this issue and undoubtedly playing a part in forcing this U-turn.

“Labour supports sensible welfare reform but the Bedroom Tax is beyond unfair. Ministers claim they are trying to solve under-occupancy but David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith have been forced to admit that it is impossible for their plans to work because there aren’t enough smaller homes for families to move to.

Alison Huggan said:
“I’m glad the government has finally listened to some of the awful effects the Bedroom Tax could have had on my family. No one should be penalised because their children join the army.

“After months of worry I can finally relax knowing that my sons will have a bed to come home to when they return from operations.”

Tom added:
“The fight will continue for thousands here on Teesside getting hit by the Bedroom Tax to the tune of £728 per year. Whilst at the same time it is grossly unfair that 13, 000 millionaires will be getting an average tax cut of £100, 000. The Bedroom Tax is now in total disarray. Ministers must now admit they have got this horribly wrong and think again – before it’s too late.”

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