Labour pledge to protect those affected by bedroom tax

Labour members of the administration on Dumfries and Galloway Council has pledged to ensure that no one in the region loses out this year as a result of the introduction of the bedroom tax.

Under new proposals from the council revealed this week, everyone who has their housing benefit cut by the Tory government as a result of the bedroom tax or the benefit cap will be compensated by the council with Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) to the full value of the cut for a full year. The payments will be backdated until April 2013.

Leader of the council, Ronnie Nicholson said: “One of the key priorities of the new Labour SNP administration is to protect the most vulnerable in our local communities. Right across our region, nearly 2000 households have been the victims of the bedroom tax. I know this will come as a relief to thousands of people across our region who have been penalised through no fault of their own by this hated tax. There is now no reason whatsoever why anyone should be evicted from their home as a specific result of the bedroom tax. I would call on all housing associations to put on hold any action they are currently taken against any tenant due to the bedroom tax.”

“Ideally, we want to repeat this year on year. However, whether we are allowed to will depend on the UK Government’s rules in relation to Discretionary Housing Payment and whether they and the Scottish Government will provide any funding to councils for this after March 2014. Sadly we still haven’t been told whether they will or not and we wont find this out until January.”

The proposal has also been welcomed by Dumfries and Galloway Russell Brown, who said: “The bedroom tax has been one of the biggest blights on thousands of people in our region who are are having to choose between paying their rent or putting food on their family’s table. This is a real common sense move by the council because it is doubtful that the bedroom tax will actually save money. The hard pressed council tax payer would be left to pick up the bill for people who become homeless as a result of being evicted.”