Friday, 5 September 2014

Lib Dem Andrew George wins vote to reform Bedroom Tax

Cornish Lib Dem MP Andrew George today saw his Bill to reform the bedroom tax passed in the House of Commons. Andrew was first out of the hat in the annual ballot to select backbench MPs to promote changes to the law and he chose reform various welfare provisions including the bedroom tax.

The bedroom tax is the name given to the penalty imposed on people in receipt of housing benefit but who have more bedrooms than they need. Andrew's proposal will see a halt to penalties being imposed on those who cannot find a smaller property and those who have had significant adaptations to their home to help with disabilities.

The problem faced by many people in Cornwall is that there are simply not enough properties for people hit by the bedroom tax to move into. Most of my constituents who are affected tell me that they would move if a suitable home was available. Others have had adaptions, often costing tens of thousands of pounds, made to their current home. These would have to be made again if they moved.

In the vote today, Liberal Democrats were supported by Labour MPs. North Cornwall MP Dan Rogerson joined Andrew George in voting to reform the bedroom tax. The third Lib Dem MP in Cornwall - Steve Gilbert - is away on Parliamentary business. The Conservatives voted against the Bill and two Cornish Conservatives - Sarah Newton and Sheryll Murray - also spoke against reform. Throughout proceedings, Conservative MPs tried all sorts of underhand tactics to avoid a vote including at one point asking for the House of Commons to sit in secret.

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