The coalition, with just a handful of cowardly abstentions, narrowly defeated Labour’s bid to overturn the ‘bedroom tax’, or spare room subsidy as ministers prefer to call it.
I know that it is hated because so many of my hard-pressed constituents have written to me about it.
They rightly believe that it is unjust, discriminates against disabled and sick people, carers, separated parents, grandparents, the low paid and the poorest.
They also know it will not reduce homelessness or housing benefit spending as the government claims, and puts financial and social strain on communities, landlords and local authorities. It is fast becoming Cameron’s poll tax.
Under the scheme tenants with a supposedly spare room lose 14 per cent of housing benefit, and those with two lose 25 per cent.
Overall, the government is clawing back £1.9m from amongst the neediest folk in Northumberland.
Over 3,400 social housing tenants are losing an average of £12.17 a week.
No wonder 778 affected tenants are in arrears, 62 per cent of them for the first time ever. Demand for three-bedroom social homes has plummeted and there aren’t enough smaller properties for ‘bedroom tax’ victims to move to.
Ed Miliband has pledged that the next Labour government will scrap the ‘bedroom tax’.
We will clobber rich scroungers, not the vulnerable.
David Cameron’s failed economic policies mean further borrowing won’t be an option so to ensure we can cover the maximum £470m cost of repealing the bedroom tax, we will set aside funds raised by closing tax loopholes and cracking down on avoidance.