For me the story in last week’s Shuttle (600 Wyre Forest homes hit by ‘bedroom tax’ ) shows just how important the election will be.
The election will be a clear choice between a Conservative government which believes that the burden of their cuts should fall on those least able to afford it, and a Labour government with a firm and costed policy to repeal the ‘bedroom tax.’ The 608 families who have been hit by this tax in Wyre Forest is the local tip of a national iceberg of hardworking people who are being financially penalised by an insensitive Conservative government.
Across the country no fewer than 375,000 children and 420,000 disabled people will be worse off as a result of this policy. All the evidence shows that rather than moving into smaller properties which do not exist, people affected by the tax are simply taking the financial hit on already thinly stretched financial resources.
The Papworth Trust shows that nationally a third of disabled people affected by the changes have been refused the limited discretionary payments available. As a result many are cutting down on food or not paying bills to meet the cost.
Evidence from Scotland suggests that the policy costs more than it saves and it has had the perverse effect of condemning three-bedroom affordable houses to demolition because the ‘bedroom tax’ makes them too expensive to rent.
On Tuesday, November 12, MPs were given the opportunity to support a Labour motion to repeal the bedroom tax. This attempt to overturn an unjust policy was defeated when no fewer than 252 Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs voted against it.
Amongst their number was Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier. From his comments in The Shuttle he seems both ignorant about the shortage of suitable affordable housing in Wyre Forest which residents are supposed to be able to ‘downsize’ into and completely complacent about the financial impact.
It would seem the local MP either does not know the impact the bedroom tax is having or simply does not care.
DR MATT LAMB Prospective Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Wyre Forest Fulmar Crescent Kidderminster
Kidderminster Shuttle: Does our MP care about impact of ‘bedroom tax?