Today (26th February 2014) in Parliament Labour held an Opposition Day Debate on the recently discovered loophole for the Bedroom Tax in the government’s legislation that exempts people who have been claiming housing benefit at the same property continuously since 1996.
The government has laid a Statutory Instrument to close this loophole. Labour used an Opposition Day to force a vote on a cross-party motion that, if it had been won, would have the effect of annulling this instrument.
Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, Tom Blenkinsop, said:
“The hated Bedroom Tax has been flawed from the start and the policy is increasingly unravelling. The Coalition government has claimed that only 3,000-5,000 people fall into this loophole, but Freedom of Information investigations carried out by Labour’s Shadow DWP team suggest that the number could be far greater – in the North East alone it is estimated that the number of claimants exempted is 1,300.
“Coalition MPs on Teesside, James Wharton and Ian Swales, showed their true colours today by failing to support the motion – many of their constituents have been hit by the Bedroom Tax and will rightly feel let down by their representatives in Parliament.
“The Bedroom Tax is a cruel and unfair measure that hits some of the most vulnerable in our society, and, for the vast majority of those affected, there is nowhere smaller to move to. Instead of scrambling to close loopholes in their own legislation and bringing more people within reach of the tax, the government should be reversing it. That is something that only Labour has pledged that they will do.”