Tagged: Andrew George

Tory MPs accused of plotting against anti-‘bedroom tax’ bill

Tory MPs have been accused of a timewasting plot to save the bedroom tax– and threatened with an all-night sitting to defeat them.

The Bill that would scrap the measure for most people affected has begun its committee stage, with its supporters hopeful of success before next May’s general election.

It would ease the pain for thousands of households in the North-East, who have lost housing benefit after being deemed to have spare bedrooms – but who are unable to ‘downsize’.

But Conservative MPs on the committee are guilty of “snide tactics” to get it bogged down in irrelevant debate, said the Bill’s Liberal Democrat sponsor.

Meanwhile, No.10 is trying to slam on the brakes by refusing to grant the “money resolution” required by any backbench Bill, Andrew George said.

Now Mr George has vowed to defeat the timewasting when the committee sits again next Wednesday, to ensure the bedroom tax moves closer to the axe before Christmas.

He told The Northern Echo: “The Tories are trying every snide tactic in the book to stop my Bill – points of order to delay the start and amendments to get the committee meeting on a different day.

“But we will sit through the night next week if we have to and show we have more stamina than they have. They can bring their sleeping bags.

“The Tories have been trying for years to repackage themselves – but the mask has slipped. They are still the nasty party, willing to kick the poor and disabled.”
> Of course, the Lib Dems at no time supported the introduction of the Bedroom Tax… did they ? Must be an election looming or something…

A money resolution is normally granted “within days”, Mr George said, but had still not been granted – yet the Bill cleared its first stage way back on September 5.

The Affordable Homes Bill would end the removal of the so-called ‘spare room subsidy’ from disabled tenants and those who cannot be found a smaller home – the vast majority.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that just two per cent of County Durham tenants affected had moved to a smaller home – just 21 of 1,009 households.

At that point, in April, 417 of the remaining tenants had been plunged into arrears after losing up to 25 per cent of their housing benefit, an apparent insight into the hardship caused, And North-East town halls have shelled out almost £6.5m in emergency help after being hit by the ‘bedroom tax’, running out of Government funds.

Ministers claimed the measure would free up houses for large families on waiting lists, but critics said the lack of smaller properties meant it was impossible to move.

Mr George named Jacob Rees-Mogg (North East Somerset) and David Nuttall (Bury North) as the Conservative MPs carrying out the filibustering.

The Northern Echo attempted to speak with the pair, but no-one answered the telephone in Mr Nuttall’s office.

Mr Rees-Mogg denied he was timewasting, insisting it was not possible to debate the Bill before the money resolution came forward – something which was out of his control.

The MP said: “The committee is being held too early. It is a waste of parliamentary time until the money resolution is available. It is procedurally impossible.”

Source –  Northern Echo,  24 Oct 2014

Bedroom Tax One Step Closer To Abolition After Tories Are Defeated In Crucial Vote

The ‘bedroom tax’ came one step closer to complete abolition today (5 September 2014), after the Tories were defeated in a House Of Commons vote.

Liberal Democrat and Labour MP’s joined forces to deal David Cameron one of his most humiliating defeats so far, by 306 votes to 231.

The private members bill, brought forward by Liberal Democrat MP Andrew George, demanded that ALL social housing tenants should be made exempt from the hated housing policy, unless they refuse an offer of a smaller home.

Under changes introduced by the government in 2013, social housing tenants are required to contribute toward their rent, if they are ‘under-occupying’ their home, through a deduction in the amount of Housing Benefit they can receive. The exact deduction is dependent upon the number of ‘spare bedrooms’ in the property: 14% for one spare bedroom or a 25% deduction in Housing Benefit for two or more.

It’s only the second time the coalition partners have voted against each other and prompted calls for the pact to be broken up immediately. Tory MP  accused the Liberal Democrats of being “devious and untrustworthy”, after the party initially voted in favour of the ‘bedroom tax’ when it was first introduced. He angrily declared that the coalition had “officially come to an end”.



Bringing forward the bill, Liberal Democrat MP Andrew George said:

“We have had long enough to tell how these regulations have had an impact. It is quite clear that if we are to ensure that…the vulnerable are properly protected, the rules should be changed so that existing tenants are not penalised when they cannot move into smaller accommodation because this is not available in their locality.”

Virtually every Labour MP was present for today’s crucial vote, said the Shadow Defence Minister Vernon Coaker, and the victory will now path the way for the bill to move to the next stage. The BBC’s parliamentary correspondent Mark D’Arcy said that there was a “fighting chance” the ‘bedroom tax’ could now be completely abolished, before the next general election.

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, has reiterated Labour’s pledge to scrap the ‘bedroom tax’, if the party wins an outright majority in next years general election.

The Government should scrap the hated Bedroom Tax following the overwhelming vote by MPs against the cruel tax on bedrooms today”, she said.

“David Cameron and Nick Clegg’s cruel and unfair Bedroom Tax has hit hundreds of thousands of people across the country causing misery, hardship and forcing families to rely on food banks. If the government won’t ditch the Bedroom Tax, then the next Labour government will.”

> Great that its happened… just a shame that the Lib Dems and Labour only find they had consciences when there’s a general election in the offing. Earlier action might have saved a lot of heartache for many people.

Source – Welfare News Service,  05 Sept 2014