Rachel Reeves

Member of Parliament for Leeds West

If the government won’t ditch its hated Bedroom Tax, then the next Labour government will

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Today MPs will have the chance to vote to change a government policy which has caused hardship for hundreds of thousands of people. The Tory-led government calls it the 'Social Rented Sector Size Criteria', while everyone else calls it the Bedroom Tax.

Since 2013 David Cameron and Nick Clegg’s Bedroom Tax has cost 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.

Ministers claimed the Bedroom Tax would lead to large numbers of people moving to smaller properties. But in July a government report found just 6 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.

A few months ago I met Tony from Manchester. Tony suffers from kidney disease. The room where he keeps his dialysis machine is considered by the Tory-led government to be a 'spare room' so he's been charged the Bedroom Tax. Is there a crueller measure than one that targets vulnerable people and threatens to force them into debt?

The proposal which we’ll debate today would reduce the number of households who pay the Bedroom Tax. But we want to go much further and help people like Tony who are struggling to make ends meet as a result of the Bedroom Tax.

Sadly, the Lib Dems and Tories have voted again and again to impose their Bedroom Tax on the country. So if the government won’t ditch its hated Bedroom Tax, then the next Labour government will.

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