Is this confirmation that Labour plans to abolish the Bedroom Tax?

September 6, 2013 7:36 am

There has been much debate recently over whether Labour would abolish the Bedroom Tax if the party wins the next General Election. But it now seems that the party is about to make such a commitment. Last weekend the Sunday People reported a Senior Labour Source saying:

“Labour WILL repeal the Bedroom Tax. The only question remaining is when. But the sooner it’s ­buried, the better. It’s not just cruel and inhumane in impact but it’s ­turning out to be the economics of the madhouse.”

Now Anas Sarwar – Scottish Labour’s Deputy Leader – appears to have gone further, telling STV that a future Labour government would abolish the Bedroom Tax. Sarwar said:

“If we had a UK Labour government, we wouldn’t have the bedroom tax because we wouldn’t have introduced it. If we had a Scottish Labour government, we would have mitigation of the bedroom tax, so we wouldn’t have the impact.”

“We have been clear. If we were in power tomorrow, we would abolish the bedroom tax.”

Whilst that’s still carefully worded (“if we were in power tomorrow” rather than “when we’re in power”), it’s perhaps the closest a senior Labour politician has come to confirming that Labour will seek to repeal the bedroom tax. If the party is committed to abolishing it, then such a pledge would likely come at Labour conference in two weeks time.

  • BillFrancisOConnor

    Terrific news. This iniquitous tax needs to be confined to the dustbin.
    Perhaps we could cover the cost of its abolition by raising the top rate of tax back up to 50p?

    • David Battley

      Do not estimate the political difficulties in reversing this policy: portraying it as an unfair tax has been a successful policy for the PLP which has some resonance with the wider public.

      However this only plays out as far as talking about it, because the action of “repealing” it works against us equally hard since it will be presented in some sections of the media as a “spare bedroom subsidy for those who don’t work, paid by those who do”, which will work strongly against the party on the key battleground territories of welfare and economic credibility.

      • BillFrancisOConnor

        I don’t care how difficult it is we should get rid of it. It is punitive and attacks those who can least afford it.

      • FMcGonigal

        “for those who don’t work, paid by those who do”

        This is incorrect as it also applies to working people who are on housing benefit. But I agree it is how it will be presented in some sections of the media.

        • David Battley


      • David Parker

        This illustrates precisely why the Labour Party is struggling to achieve an absolutely decisive lead over a conservative party which is deeply unpopular. Less time should be spent worrying about what the Tory press will say and more in projecting an unambiguous vision of a Labour Britain and the principles which will underpin future policy. Take the Tory Press on.

        • David Battley

          Taking them on is easy; forming a majority government after accepting that you lose some votes as a result of doing so is hard, but this is the age-old question of ideology vs electoral-ability.

          Some might also quote Milton…

          • David Parker

            I don’t actually think it is that easy nor is it a question of ‘ideology vs electoral ability’ . A sustained attack on the assumptions which permeate the Tory media will require more determination, co-ordination and incisiveness than the Shadow Cabinet has displayed collectively thus far. But if done it will gain more voters than it will lose.

    • jp99

      It is not a tax -there is no need to lie, whether or not you approve of it. How does that help. It is a subsidy by other taxpayers that is being removed.

      • BillFrancisOConnor

        Private activity on contributor’s record, false name, ‘my telegraph’ home blog, the bedroom tax is a subsidy, 10 likes -enough said?

  • charles.ward

    So would it be abolished for private tenants as well?

  • Hugh

    Perhaps I’m missing something, but surely he’s just restating the present Labour position, which is glorious:

    “We oppose the bedroom tax as unfair and economically unviable (because it will cost more than it saves). If we were in power today, therefore, we’d scrap it. However, we need to see the state of the economy nearer the election before we can commit to saying we will definitely scrap it in 2015″ [because we might not be able to afford scrapping something that we argue is costing more than it saves].

    Labour: home of conviction politicians.

    • jp99

      Thank you. No change in how Labour behave then. Conviction politics until it comes to the crunch. I have principles, but I can change them if necessary, as the real Marx said (or words to that effect).


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