BEDROOM TAX HITS STOCKPORT – My article for the Stockport Express

Protest bedroom taxThere are more than 2,900 people in Stockport facing money troubles and a fall in living standards thanks to Iain Duncan-Smith’s Bedroom Tax.

Of those, around 1,500 are Stockport Homes tenants who are, on average, each losing £13 a week. Even more shocking is that the number of Stockport Homes rent accounts that are in arrears has increased by 192 since the Bedroom Tax came in, with the total value of arrears so far totalling £45,000. And it is all the doing of this dastardly Government propped up by their lackeys in the Liberal Democrat Party.

The Labour Party has refused to accept this, and tabled a motion in the Council to condemn the Bedroom Tax and call for it to be stopped. To the surprise of nobody, the Lib Dems and Tories amended it to remove the call for it to be scrapped. This does not raise my eyebrows nor my suspicion, and I suspect it raises the eyebrows of very few people in Reddish and across Stockport. The Tories and Lib Dems have not exposed themselves for what they are – they have always been admirably open about their unpleasantness. They are loud and clear in their opposition to helping people get on with assistance from those who can provide it. Kicking people down is all in a day’s work for the Tories and Lib Dems.

But we are told there is some reprieve from this attack on the vulnerable. The Council have developed a non-eviction policy for Stockport Homes tenants affected by the Bedroom Tax; yet there are numerous conditions and caveats which have watered it down just as much as our motion was watered down in the meeting of Stockport Council. The Lib Dems simply refuse to stand on the side of those who are simply trying to get on in life. Both of the Lib Dem MPs in Stockport voted for the Bedroom Tax. And for what? A few minor positions in a Government that will reach its natural – read: short – lifespan in a few short years.

I joined my Labour colleagues in voting against the Bedroom Tax in Parliament. It is just a shame the Lib Dems in Stockport refused to join me.

This article has been written for the MP’s column in the Stockport Express and Stockport Times newspaper

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