BEDROOM TAX EXEMPTION BILL goes to next stage despite Tory opposition

580_Image_bedroom_tax_protest_LMHBarbara Keeley MP presented a 10 minute rule bill to the House of Commons on Tuesday 14th October with the aim of exempting carers and those needing overnight care from the Bedroom Tax. The Bill was co-sponsored by Denton and Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne.

Figures from the Department of Work and Pensions tell us that 60,000 carers are affected by the Bedroom Tax. That figure is just for those people in receipt of a Carers Allowance or those with an underlying entitlement to Carer’s Allowance. Other carers who work part-time are also affected by Bedroom Tax.

One of the Government’s policy objectives for the Bedroom Tax was to “improve work-incentives for working-age claimants”, meaning that people could move into work or try to work more hours to pay the Bedroom Tax. This is an inappropriate objective for unpaid family carers, many of whom are cutting back their hours or giving up work to enable them to care.

Andrew Gwynne MP said:

“The Bedroom Tax puts an additional financial burden on carers and fails to take into account why the health and care needs of the person cared for may result in the need for an additional bedroom.

“I was very glad to co-sponsor this Bill. It speaks volumes about the Tories that one of their MPs, Bury North’s David Nuttall, tried his very hardest to stop this Bill.”

Barbara Keeley MP said:

“The failure to exempt carers from the Bedroom Tax shows the Conservative-led Government’s complete disregard for fairness.

“The 60,000 carers affected include many of those with the heaviest caring workload. They are already caring for 35 hours a week or more and to expect them to start work or to work extra hours to pay the Bedroom Tax is completely unrealistic. Many carers have given up well-paid jobs to care for their loved ones and expecting them to find”

“My Bill is a simple, common-sense measure to protect carers from some of the worst effects of the Conservative-led Government’s policy. Labour has pledged to abolish the Bedroom Tax if we are elected in 2015 but I am bringing this Bill forward now so that we can improve the financial situation of carers more quickly.”

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