Government suffers defeat over Bedroom Tax

Michael Dugher MP
Michael Dugher MP

The abolition of the Bedroom Tax moved a step closer last week as Barnsley East MP Michael Dugher joined other MPs to vote against it.

The Government suffered a humiliating defeat in the House of Commons as Mr Dugher helped to inflict the defeat during a debate in parliament.

The Bedroom Tax has caused hardship for hundreds of thousands of people across the country, costing low-income families an average of £700 a year. Two thirds of those hit by the Bedroom Tax have disabilities and 60,000 are carers.

Mr Dugher said that in Barnsley alone, 3,224 people had been affected and in the wider region more than 47,535 people have been hit in Yorkshire and The Humber – forcing many into debt and having to rely on food banks.

He said ministers claimed the Bedroom Tax would lead to large numbers of people moving to smaller properties but in July a government report found just six per cent hit by the Bedroom Tax were moving and the policy had led to 60 per cent of people falling behind with their rent.

Labour MPs helped to win the vote by 306 votes to 231. Mr Dugher said although the Bill falls short of the full abolition that Labour wants to see, Labour will now seek to amend and strengthen the Bill in order to abolish the Bedroom Tax altogether.

He added: “David Cameron and Nick Clegg’s cruel and unfair Bedroom Tax has hit the poorest and most vulnerable in our community. Today was the first step towards abolishing it all together.

“Despite the clear evidence that the Bedroom Tax is causing misery, hardship and forcing thousands to rely on food banks, the Lib Dems and Tories have voted again and again in favour of it.

“The Labour Party will continue to do whatever it can to fight this unjust and unworkable policy, and will now seek to amend the Bill in order to scrap it altogether.”