25 reasons your MP must kill David Cameron’s Bedroom Tax

No thank you: A demonstration against bedroom tax in Newcastle Upon Tyne
No thank you: A demonstration against bedroom tax in Newcastle Upon Tyne

In the House of Commons, MPs face a critical vote on the Bedroom Tax – called by Labour.

The party is using ‘Opposition Day’ to bring forward a motion on the tax that calls for an immediate end to the policy.

It also asks the House to regret its “pernicious effect on vulnerable, and in many cases disabled, people” and calls the government reverse tax cuts for the wealthiest people instead.

What the government calls the ‘spare room subsidy’, has become known as the Bedroom Tax – because social housing tenants have their benefits docked depending on how many bedrooms they have.

If families are deemed to have one spare room, their housing benefit is cut by 14 per cent, or around £60 a month. If they have two or more spare rooms, the cut is 25 per cent.

For families on the breadline, this is a dramatic loss of income.

The Coalition says it’s trying to help solve the housing crisis – but it won’t because there is a desperate shortage of smaller homes for people to move into.

So the Bedroom Tax is incompetent as well as cruel.

No wonder campaigners are calling it David Cameron’s Poll Tax – an attack on the most vulnerable families in the country.

Here are 25 reasons MPs from every party must vote against the tax today…

1 It doesn’t work.

If you are deemed to be a social tenant with a “spare” bedroom you have to move or pay. Most people can’t do either. In Merseyside, 26,500 households are affected by the tax, but only 155 have been able to move.

The rest have to find an average of £709 per year from their food and heating budget.

2 It attacks the most vulnerable people in society.

Of the 660,000 people affected, most live in the poorest parts of the country, and two-thirds are disabled.

3 It has led to people taking their lives.

Mother-of-two Stephanie Bottrill – who suffered a crippling illness – committed suicide after realising she couldn’t pay the Bedroom Tax.

4 It is forcing families to resort to payday loans and loan sharks.

In Barrow, Cumbria, 219 out of 289 tenants affected by the cut have not been able to pay rent since the policy came into effect. Meanwhile, across the country 50,000 people are facing eviction.

5 Empty properties have increased by 29% in some areas.

In South Shields, there are entire streets empty because council tenants are afraid to move into larger homes.


Victims: Paul Rutherford with his disabled Grandson, Warren

6 Around 375,000 children are affected by cuts that impact on daily essentials.

Foodbank use has tripled since welfare changes came in.

7 Making people homeless will cost the country more.

Emergency accommodation is by far and away the most expensive way to house people.

8 Homes are not just bricks and mortar.

Widow Julia Jones, 59, pleaded with David Cameron not to force her to move – her husband’s ashes are buried in her garden under rose bushes friends gave instead of wreaths.

9 It is breaking down the social fabric of our country.

Grandparents can no longer have their grandchildren to stay, single parents are losing children’s bedrooms, people who do informal care for disabled people are having to stop.

10 Rent arrears have rocketed across the country.

Councils are issuing mass summonses unseen since the Poll Tax. This month Southwark council issued a mass summons to 8,000 people, criminalising thousands who had never been in rent arrears.


Victims: The Heard family, from Horley, have to pay an extra £90 per month

11 It attacks families like the Heards in Surrey.

Danielle Heard, 22, has spent a lifetime battling multiple cancers – but now her family is being punished for needing a safety net.

12 The solution is to build homes.

A chronic lack of new social housing has led to an emergency the policy is doing nothing to solve. The Right to Buy scheme is not working.

13 It is a form of social cleansing.

It will see more and more social tenants dumped in areas where unemployment is rife.

14 The UN says it is taking a heavy toll on “the most vulnerable”.

It recommends the tax should be abolished.

15 The rooms are not always spare.

A bedroom is not spare when carers sleep in it, when couples can’t share a bed for health reasons, or when it houses vital medical equipment.

16 Disabled teens like Warren Todd could have to go into a care home, at a cost of £5,000 a week.

His grandparents will no longer be able to care for him.

17 The fund to help affected families – Discretionary Housing Payment – is inadequate.

And it is set to shrink by 33% next year to just £100million.


Victim: Bedroom Tax has been attributed to a woman’s death

18 Victims are being ignored.

David Cameron said he would look at individual hardship cases. Despite receiving thousands of letters, he has done nothing.

19 It wastes council taxpayers’ money.

Families are being asked to leave houses that have had thousands of pounds spent on adapting them for disabled people.

20 It is unpopular.

Most people believe the Bedroom Tax is unfair if there is a shortage of smaller properties.

21 Housing Associations may have to demolish three-bedroom homes.

Even Danny Alexander’s dad, a Scottish housing association chairman, calls it a “particularly unfair” measure.

22 It’s against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Article 25 includes housing as part of the “right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of family”.

23 Nick Clegg is involved.

The infamous breaker of promises claims he’s going to hold a “review” into the Bedroom Tax – but the final report isn’t due until after the next election.

24 The Bedroom Tax was never intended to free up larger homes.

It is just a cynical attempt to cut the benefits bill.

25 It was designed by Iain Duncan Smith.

His welfare “reforms” are callous, pointless and are harmful to the most vulnerable people in society.

What you can do about it today

The Daily Mirror is protesting outside the Commons today with Disabled People Against Cuts, We are Spartacus, the WOW Petition and Unite the Union. Come and lobby your MP.

Meet at Old Palace Yard, 12.45pm. Email your MP before the 1pm debate and tell them why they should vote against the Bedroom Tax.

Follow the vote live with Mirror Online. Then tomorrow, find out how your MP voted – and hold them to account.

Join the action on twitter by tweeting @dailymirror and using the hashtag #bedroomtax

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