Scrap bedroom tax or give Scotland its fair share

In the week that the Westminster Coalition’s bedroom tax hits Scotland, SNP MSP for South Scotland Joan McAlpine has called on the UK Government to ensure Scotland gets its fair share of funds to deal with both the human and financial impact.

Despite both Scotland and London having the same number of households hit by the bedroom tax, UK Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud is set to award London with £56.5 million of DHP compared to only £10 million in Scotland.

Commenting, Ms McAlpine said:

“The bedroom tax is a socially divisive measure that will increase social inequalities across Scotland. It’s a policy that the Scottish Government is totally against as it hits our most vulnerable citizens in these already challenging economic conditions.

“This is a policy devised in London on the basis of housing benefit increases and overcrowding. However, in inflation-adjusted terms, 93 per cent of the housing benefit increase is attributable to the situation in England whilst London has almost two and a half times the level of overcrowded households compared to Scotland.

“We have consistently made that case to UK Government Ministers if they proceed to impose their plans, as they are doing, then Scotland must get its fair share of funds to deal with both the human and financial impact.”

She added:

“The small levels of Discretionary Housing Payment in Scotland are unfair and woefully inadequate to deal with the impact and scale of this policy.

“It is indefensible that, though London and Scotland have the same number of households affected by this policy, London is to get more than five times the money to help alleviate its impact. Frankly that just adds insult to injury.

“The UK Government’s agenda is completely at odds with the values of the people of Scotland and the aspirations that the Scottish Government has for our nation. Only through independence can Scotland have the levers required to create a welfare system that is aligned to Scottish needs and values.”

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