On Tuesday 12th November 2013 Teresa voted to repeal the Bedroom Tax, following a debate in the House of Commons, on the grounds that it unfairly penalises the vulnerable, and needs to be abolished as a matter of urgency.
The Bedroom Tax hits over 400,000 disabled people nationwide, and around 1,088 people across Erith & Thamesmead. For the vast majority of those affected, there is nowhere smaller to move to, hitting vulnerable people with an average bill of £720 a year through no fault of their own.
Instead of reducing the housing benefit bill, there is now a real risk the Bedroom Tax will cost more than it saves. More significantly, it is causing considerable stress and upset to those who are already struggling to make ends meet, and is further widening the gap between the richest and poorest across the country.
Teresa has consistently spoken out against the Bedroom Tax, which was introduced in April 2013, and believes it is a policy that punishes those in most need of assistance at a time when vital community services are closing due to a lack of funding. She believes that this policy will do nothing more than propagate misery and poverty, and that it would have been more effective for the Government to concentrate on addressing tax loop holes and tax avoidance instead of targeting vulnerable people.
“The Bedroom Tax was an ill-thought out policy which should never have been rolled-out across the country. People who are claiming housing benefit do so because they need the financial assistance, and limiting the amount they are entitled to on the grounds of the number of rooms in their house is absurd. Downsizing is not an option for a lot of people due to the lack of suitable housing, meaning they are placed in an impossible position.
The Bedroom Tax targets the vulnerable, and is leaving families up and down the country with nowhere to turn to and on the edge of spiralling debt from which they may never recover. If we wait until 2015 for it to be repealed the upset and damage caused may be so widespread that for many there may be no way back. It needs to be abolished now.
This week I voted to repeal the Bedroom Tax because I think that it is a policy designed to exploit the weak, and I do not think anyone with a social conscience, or an understanding of the struggles a lot of people are having to overcome every day, would support this policy.”
The next Labour Government will repeal the Bedroom Tax without extra borrowing. To cover the £470m cost of repealing the Bedroom Tax, funds have been earmarked from:
- reversing George Osborne’s recent tax cut for hedge funds announced in Budget 2013;
- reversing George Osborne’s shares for rights scheme which has been rejected by businesses, has opened up a tax loophole and will lead to £1bn being lost to the Exchequer according to the Office for Budget Responsibility; and
- tackling disguised employment in the construction industry.