Axe the bedroom tax now, Byrne tells NHF conference
Published by Brian Church for 24dash.com in Housing
Council of Regional Ministers meets for first time
Liam Byrne, Labour’s shadow secretary of state for work and pensions, has unsurprisingly called for the bedroom tax to get the chop.
"We have got to have this bedroom tax dropped now,” the local MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill said at the National Housing Federation annual conference at the ICC.
Byrne, famous at the last election for leaving a sardonic ‘no money left’ note, said Labour would work well with housing associations after winning the next election.
“In government we want to pioneer new ways of working with you (housing associations) and with local authorities” to reduce the welfare bill, he said.
Byrne added that parties had to listen to warnings from housing associations that direct payment to residents was a “huge risk”.
Byrne said he represented a constituency blighted by poverty but added he was a financial realist.
“I know we will have difficult decisions we have to make when we are in government,” Byrne said, adding “I’m someone who believes there isn’t moral credibility” without financial viability.
In view of his call to axe the bedroom tax, Byrne was later challenged to give a commitment on behalf of the Labour Party.
South Yorkshire Housing Association chief executive Tony Stacey asked Byrne how soon it would be before Labour came out and explicitly pledged itself to repeal.
“We think this (tax) is iniquitous, the survey work we’ve done shows there are no homes for 90% of the people hit by this tax to go,” Byrne said. “We’re determined to see and find a way to get this dropped…We will be very straight with people with what we can and can’t do (in office). We’ll have to prove that it (the bedroom tax) is costing more than it saves.”
Byrne added Labour was absolutely determined to make this case.
READ NEXT »