BEDROOM TAX to hit most vulnerable – My article for the Stockport Express

Stockport ExpressWe 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.580_Image_barnet_bedroom_tax[1]

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.

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7 thoughts on “BEDROOM TAX to hit most vulnerable – My article for the Stockport Express

  1. Hello Andrew,,
    We at ‘Stockport against the Bedroom Tax’ (as part of ‘Greater Manchester against the Bedroom Tax’)
    are delighted to hear of your support.. I hadn’t realised you had actively argued against and voted against
    the bill when it went through.It’s most heartening to know that – thank you!

    We are currently actively campaigning against the imposition of the ‘tax’, and have enlisted support from
    most of the Labour councillors. At the June council meeting , our request for no evictions based solely on
    arrears of bt seemed to be taken on board, but we have not seen the minutes as yet, and a written reply
    promised to one of the tenants has not been received..

    We are running a petition for tenants and supporters, which is to be updated to include a request to M.P,’s
    to demand repeal of Sections 11 and 12 of the Welfare Reform Act 2013 , together with consequential legislation of
    the Housing Benefit Act, Section 32. and Rent Officers’ Directions, Article 4,.plus Sections 25 and 26 of the Universal
    Credit Regulations 2013, and Schedule 4 to those regulations.*

    To this end, we have had several meetings in Reddish, and tonight will be holding our first meeting in Brinnington,
    at 7.30pm outside the library on Northumberland Road. I’m not sure if Brinnington is within your constituency,but
    you would be most welcome to attend -if not this meeting, as I realise it’s very short notice , but future events we
    are planning on a Stockport-wide basis., including a rally and march in the town centre on September 2nd.

    Any message of support would be appreciated
    You could become Champion of Repeal of the Bedroom Tax Laws, in the footsteps of your predecessor Cobden, with his Repeal of the Bread Tax/Corn Laws, with Stockport taking the lead against unfairness again.
    Best wishes,
    Caroline Oldenburg

    *Many people don’t realise that the ‘ tax’ applies equally to private tenants, as well as those in Social Housing.
    The latter is dealt with at Part t5 of Scedule 4 to the UC Regulations. However, Part 4 of Schedule 4 makes clear
    that the cuts apply to all tenants:For private tenants it will be effected via the cap on local ‘fair rents’which will
    now include an extra cap on the allowable amount, parallel to that in the Social Housing, for those with a ‘housing cost’
    included in their Universal Credit. You may well be already familiar with this: if so, forgive my re-iteration, but I thought
    it

    • Yes but I am a Stockport MP and this article was written for the Stockport Express newspaper… I’m well aware it’s a national issue. It’s just as big an issue in the Tameside part of my constituency too. Incidentally, this appalling policy is expected to hit around 660,000 working-age tenants according to estimates from the National Housing Federation. Hope that answers your query?

      Still no apology? ;) Thought not.

  2. What really pisses me off about the labour party and comments like ” I joined my colleagues to vote against the bedroom tax” why were you not there when the welfare reform debate in parliament took place, only 30 MPs were there, and even now you have cocked up! The latest changes which took place on Friday the 1st March, no soldiers families will face changes. Get your facts straight! Oh! In case you forgot, it was labour who introduced the welfare reform, Blairites and Co. There is not one truthful politician in this land. at Least Michael Meacher tried to fight this condem party. You keep toeing the party line Mr Gwynne. You are one bloody big Hypocrite

    • I think you need to get ALL your facts straight before going off on a mindless rant on my blog :
      1) I SPOKE in the welfare reform bill debate when it went through the Commons, and specifically raised points on the unfairness of this bedroom tax.
      2) And I voted against it then too.
      3) Oh and by the way, tell me again which soliders’ families won’t be affected? I have one mother of a serving soldier living in Dukinfield who came to my advice surgery on Friday.
      Apology perhaps? ;-)

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