Today we have a very important debate in the House of Commons on the Government’s hated and unfair bedroom tax. As the Labour opposition we have put down a motion which calls on the Government to abolish it with immediate effect.
In my constituency, 1,531 council tenants are affected, and the total amount of rent arrears they have been forced into is £210,000. There are also 434 tenants living in housing association properties who have been hit. To make matters worse, many of these families have also been affected by cuts in council tax support.
It is simply wrong to penalise people who are on the lowest incomes and try and force them out of their family home; in some cases, the place where they have lived for many years and raised a family. Most people are trying to hang on - in any case there aren’t enough smaller properties for them to move into even if they wanted to – but every week they are being hit by this tax.
The chorus of protest against the bedroom tax is growing and I hope that Parliament will join in today and pass our motion so that we can send a very clear message to the Government. And if they don’t listen, then if Labour wins the general election, we will scrap it.