We have already seen a large number of bad decisions taken by this Liberal Democrat/Conservative Government that have had a negative impact on our community in Stockport.
But I think that the Bedroom Tax tells you all you need to know David Cameron, Nick Clegg and this Coalition Government.
Through this policy they are hitting families of soldiers serving our country, who will have to find extra money for their son or daughter’s bedroom, and foster families helping children in need of a home. They are making disabled people in council and housing association homes pay more when they need extra space due to their disability. Divorced parents whose kids come to stay are being affected. Grandparents will pay more. And, of course, let’s not forget that at exactly the same time as the Bedroom Tax comes into effect, thousands of millionaires are being given a tax cut of £100,000 a year.
Stockport will be affected by this policy, with up to 1,500 Stockport Homes’ tenants seeing a reduction in their Housing Benefit as a result of the Bedroom Tax. This equates to 13% of tenants and it has been calculated that this will cost them between £10 and £20 per week.
The sad fact is that there are currently in the region of 7,300 people on the housing waiting list and Stockport Homes have acknowledged there aren’t enough smaller homes to meet the demand of those who need to downsize.
So it’s clear that the bedroom tax isn’t about tough choices, it’s about the wrong choices.
That’s why I joined my Labour colleagues in voting to reject the Bedroom Tax in Parliament last week, but, sadly we were defeated in the vote by the Tories and Liberal Democrats. Clearly the best way to bring down the cost of welfare is to get people into work. That’s why Labour are calling for a jobs guarantee, to bring down the Job Seekers Allowance bill and end the prospect of a life on benefits.
The Bedroom Tax is now in total disarray. It’s bad policy, which is fundamentally unfair to the people of Stockport. Ministers must now admit they have got this horribly wrong and think again – before it’s too late.
This article has been written for the MP’s column in the Stockport Express and Stockport Times newspaper.