MSPs urged to support 'bedroom tax' cash plea

CAMPAIGNERS are looking for MSPs to back their call for more cash to help people with the 'bedroom tax'.

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The 'bedroom tax' has caused outrage among tenants across Glasgow, sparking city protests
The 'bedroom tax' has caused outrage among tenants across Glasgow, sparking city protests

MSPs on the Welfare Reform Committee were today hearing a plea for £50million to be allocated to mitigate the full impact of the benefit cuts, people in Scotland are experiencing.

The Scottish Government has provided £20m to top up the £13m from the UK Department of Works and Pensions to make Discretionary Housing Payments to tenants affected.

However, campaigners are arguing for the Scottish Government to find the full amount lost to tenants who have had their benefit cut if they are deemed to be under occupying their home.

The No2Bedroom Tax campaign is calling for a temporary funding measure to ­ensure no-one loses their home as a result of rent arrears or run up debts because they can't meet the shortfall.

Alan Wylie, spokesman for the campaign group, is due to speak to the MSPs today.

He said: "Labour and the SNP have united this week in disgust against the 'bedroom tax' and they have announced that they wish to find a 'legal way' to end this nasty and ­vindictive policy.

"I truly believe that the No2BedroomTax petition ­offers the simplest and most effective way of ending the 'bedroom tax' in Scotland.

"These funds would protect every tenant in Scotland."

"Society in Scotland has wholeheartedly rejected the 'bedroom tax'. I plead with the Scottish Government, the figurehead of our country, to take a stand and protect all tenants in Scotland from this form of heinous cowardly conservatism and consign this policy to the political scrapheap."

John Swinney, Finance Secretary, announced the £20m for this financial year in his budget last October, and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed it would be ­repeated again for next year.

Labour, however, called on a no evictions policy and Welfare Spokeswoman Jackie Baillie has published a Bill, and is seeking the Government to support it.

She said if the Government provides the cash necessary to mitigate the full impact, her bill would not be needed and she would withdraw it.

Officials from housing associations and local authority landlords will also appear before the committee and give their opinion of the petition.

Previously housing associations have been against a no evictions policy, stating it is always a last resort but is an essential measure that must be available.

It is feared the income of ­social landlords would be affected and the ability to provide services like repairs and maintenance would be reduced.

stewart.paterson@eveningtimes.co.uk

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