Tory slams bedroom tax 'hysteria'

SNP and Labour politicians have been accused of creating hysteria over the bedroom tax, according to a Tory MSP.

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Alex Johnstone said because of the referendum there was a need for the SNP to "outflank Labour in its heartlands" by promising there would be no reforms to the welfare system.

He said welfare reform was needed even more in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK.

In a debate on welfare reform in the Scottish Parliament, the Tory housing spokesman said Scotland had created dependency.

He said: "We have had the hysteria over the bedroom tax, but we have saw no effort to deal with the tens of thousands classed as overcrowded who need a new house.

"Talking about under occupancy, it was the last Labour Government that introduced the burden on those in the private rented sector."

Leading the debate Scottish Government welfare minister Margaret Burgess said that the Scottish Parliament needed powers over welfare.

She said: "The UK welfare changes and cuts are not the answer and neither are food banks. They should never become part of the welfare state."

Jackie Baillie, Labour's welfare spokeswoman said there was a need for reform but not how the UK Government was doing it.She said: "I have no problem with reforming the welfare state but what is happening is a smokescreen for cuts."

Mr Johnston rejected the SNP and Labour claims. He said: "Welfare reform is something which is vital for Scotland there is a need in Scotland more deeply embedded than in the rest of the UK.

"Scotland's mistake of fostering dependency has not been good for those left dependent."

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