I have been contacted by many Lewisham Deptford residents who are struggling to cope with the hated bedroom tax, which was introduced by the Coalition Government. In London alone 48.989 people have been affected by this unfair policy. Unfortunately Mr George's bill would not abolish the tax, but if passed it would protect the most vulnerable people, such as those with disabilities and people for whom the local council in unable to find suitable alternative accommodation.
The Labour Party has been clear and consistent in its opposition to the bedroom tax from the outset. It is an unfair and unworkable policy that causes misery to thousands of people by forcing them out of their homes.
Up to now the Liberal Democrats had repeatedly backed the Tories over this policy, but on Friday many of them voted with Labour. I was in the House to vote for the bill and the results were as follows:
Closure Motion (to stop the bill being talked out on Friday):
Second Reading (to progress to the next stage):
In spit of Conservative attempts to talk the bill out or to derail parliamentary process, the bill will now proceed to the committee stage. Labour will now seek to amend and strengthen the bill and we remain committed to scrapping the bedroom tax entirely if we win next year's general election.