Today I was able to vote on a Scottish Labour amendment to effectively end the much hated bedroom tax in Scotland. The amendment, which was lodged by our finance spokesperson Iain Gray, was voted on during the Scottish Government’s budget debate.
Labour has been consistently calling for the Scottish Government to make the right decision and fully mitigate the impact of the bedroom tax in Scotland. Today they finally listened.
The bedroom tax adversely impacts on those that need help the most. The policy is particularly hurting those with disabilities and those faced with no prospect of downsizing due to lack of housing stock. A Labour UK Government has committed to ending the bedroom tax throughout the UK and it was only when pushed by Scottish Labour that the SNP finally agreed to take at Holyrood.
Labour have been consistent in pushing for the Scottish Government to fully mitigate the bedroom tax in Scotland by providing sufficient resources to make the bedroom tax redundant in Scotland. If the Scottish Government had refused to back Labour’s call my colleague Jackie Baillie had introduced a member’s bill to address the situation but I am glad the Scottish Government has taken action in the budget.
Only last week there was an interim report, released by the Parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee, that highlighted the impact the tax is having on society throughout Scotland. The report followed extensive evidence sessions and research undertaken by the committee. The report called for the Scottish Government to explore further ways to mitigate the effect of the tax in the short term.
Thankfully today we saw movement on that issue and I was delighted that I was able to vote on Iain’s motion and support a budget that will effectively end a policy that is deeply unpopular throughout Fife.