Pressure is rising on the Tories’ sole MP in Scotland after accusations he misrepresented the views of COSLA on the bedroom tax at Westminster.
Reports in Friday’s Herald (Friday 22) made clear that COSLA president David O’Neill has written to the Westminster Government minister demanding a retraction of claims Dumfriesshire MP David Mundell previously made in the House of Commons that the concerns of local authorities had been satisfied following a meeting between COSLA and Lord Freud
Figures highlighted by the SNP recently demonstrated the significant mismatch between the number of people assessed by the DWP as needing one-bedroom social homes and the number of people who currently have them. With 60% of social housing tenants in Scotland ‘needing’ such properties but 26% currently living in one-bedroom social homes, the lack of availability means that the bedroom tax will be unavoidable for many people.
Commenting, SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said:
“These are extremely serious accusations and if David Mundell has misrepresented COSLA’s views at Westminster, then he must set the record straight as a matter of urgency.
“Like everyone else, Scotland’s local authorities have huge concerns over the utterly unfair bedroom tax that Westminster is preparing to implement, and to suggest otherwise is simply unacceptable.
“The fact is that the bedroom tax will leave tens of thousands of people in Scotland facing bills they can’t afford - and will only be able to avoid by leaving the communities they have lived in for years and secure smaller accommodation elsewhere, with all the disruption to families and sources of support that involves.
“No amount of manufactured claims of support will change the fundamental unfairness of the bills people will soon face, or the devastating impact it will have for tens of thousands of people in Scotland.
“The determination to pursue this fundamentally flawed charge shows just how out of step Westminster is with the needs of people in Scotland. Decisions over housing benefits are the kinds of decisions we need to make for ourselves in Scotland - a position supported by 64 per cent of people in the Scottish Social Attitudes survey - and only a Yes vote in next year’s referendum will secure the right for us to do so.”
Details of COSLA’s letter to David Mundell can be viewed here