Sunday, 10 February 2013
Not Tough Choices, The Wrong Choices
Ed Miliband writes:
David Cameron’s bedroom tax tells you all you need to know about him and his government. He’s hitting families of soldiers serving our country who will have to find extra money for their son or daughter’s bedroom. He is making disabled people in council and housing association homes pay more when they need more space due to their disability. Divorced parents whose kids come to stay are being affected. Grandparents will pay more. And on the same day as this bedroom tax comes into effect he is giving thousands of millionaires a tax cut of £100,000 a year. This isn’t about tough choices, it’s about the wrong choices. It is a shocking illustration of who David Cameron puts first.
The Sunday People has led the way in revealing the reality of this unfair bedroom tax. It was this newspaper’s expose which showed how in the city of Hull 4,700 tenants are being hit by the bedroom tax for having an extra room when there are only 73 smaller council properties they could move into even if they wanted to. I raised this with David Cameron in the Commons on Wednesday and he was left unable to answer and flustered as even his own Conservative MPs began to realise the unfairness and idiocy of this new tax.
What many have yet to realise is that as well as being unfair this tax could end up driving up costs to the public purse. If families are made homeless it is the local council who have to pick up the bill by putting them up in expensive bed-and-breakfast accommodation. If they are forced out of their council or housing association homes and into privately rented homes the Government will have to pick up the bill in housing benefit which could cost more because of higher rent. It is the economics of a man who listens only to a small group of his rich and powerful friends.
In just a few weeks this bedroom tax will cause more misery and anger when its full impact is felt. The bedroom tax is a symbol of what people hate about this government: it is incompetent, out of touch and unfair. When this issue was debated in Parliament, Labour said this policy could never work while there wasn’t a reasonable offer of alternative accommodation for people. The Government ignored our warnings. But now Conservative MPs are beginning to realise this bedroom tax is a huge mistake. The Prime Minister should wake up and realise it too.