New statistics show that the Bedroom Tax has cost low-income families an average of £1,260 since it was introduced in April 2013.
Around 500,000 people have to pay the Bedroom Tax – and two thirds of these (330,000) are disabled and 60,000 are carers. That’s why today Labour have called for a vote that could effectively abolish the tax before Christmas.
Rachel Reeves, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary explained the importance of this vote:
“The Bedroom Tax is costing low-income families over £1,200, deepening the cost-of-living crisis for people who are struggling to make ends meet.
“The Government’s own independent report into the Bedroom Tax found fewer than five per cent of people had moved to another home in the social rented sector and 60 per cent of people had fallen behind with their rent. The Bedroom Tax has failed – it’s yet another example of Tory Welfare Waste.
”I urge MPs from all parties to do the right thing and vote with Labour to scrap the Bedroom Tax in Parliament today. Thousands of people who are struggling to survive can’t afford to spend another Christmas paying this cruel and unfair tax on bedrooms.”
As well as calling for this vote, Labour are also holding an opposition day debate on food banks today – making a year since the last opposition debate on the subject.
In this time, the number of people forced to use food banks has been on the rise. Maria Eagle, Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, will ask Ministers why this is the case. She is expected to say:
“Since the last Opposition Day debate we had on this subject a year ago, things have got worse. There has been a 38 per cent increase in the number of people seeking food aid from the Trussell Trust’s 420 food banks over the last six months. 492,641 people have sought food aid in that time. 176,565 of them are children.
“It is shocking that 45-60 per cent of the ever increasing need for food aid we see is primarily caused by the actions of the Department for Work and Pensions. Yet Ministers have done nothing since our debate last year to tackle the benefit delays and changes which are causing so much of the problem.
“DWP Ministers are indifferent. They do nothing. The employment minister said “there is no robust evidence linking food bank usage to welfare reform.” That is because she refuses to collect the evidence or research it.
“Either they’re indifferent and incompetent. Or they’re indifferent and venal because in reality Ministers don’t care about the problems their policies and actions are causing.
“The Chancellor has already said that he will be looking for further savings from the welfare budget. This will inevitably mean a further weakening of the social security safety net. This Tory plan to recreate 1930s Britain, along with its hunger, low pay and non-existent rights at work coincides with changes to the labour market making it tougher to make ends meet, even for someone who is in work.”