SFHA Statement: Scottish Labour ‘Bedroom Tax’ Bill
Published by SFHA for Scottish Federation Of Housing Associations in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities
The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), which has been actively campaigning for months for the repeal of the so-called ‘bedroom tax’, has said that it is deeply concerned about the Member’s Bill lodged today (Thursday 26th September) by Jackie Baillie MSP. The Bill proposes that anyone who falls into arrears as a result of the policy will not be evicted from their home
Mary Taylor, Chief Executive of the SFHA said:
“The SFHA has campaigned consistently and vociferously for the repeal of the unfair and unworkable ‘bedroom tax’ because there is a shortage of suitable smaller properties for those affected to move into. However, we are deeply concerned by the Member’s Bill which proposes preventing evictions for bedroom tax arrears.
“Housing associations and co-operatives are tirelessly and proactively doing all that they can to help tenants who are struggling financially as a result of the ‘bedroom tax’.
“Evictions are only ever a last resort. However, rent arrears fundamentally threaten the financial position of housing associations. Since associations are not for profit and charitable social businesses with a responsibility to a wide range of tenants, preventing landlords from evicting will ultimately affect more tenants than the ‘bedroom tax’. Evictions are a sparingly used but necessary ultimate sanction.
“The real problem is the unjust ‘bedroom tax’ which unfairly penalises people on low incomes and threatens the financial stability of social landlords. Tenants are already protected by the test of reasonableness and proportionality applied by sheriffs to repossession actions.
“Unless the Scottish Government can provide financial support which would protect the viability of social landlords, we cannot support this Bill.”
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2. The SFHA was established in 1976 and has around 119 members providing affordable housing and wider community services in Scotland, as well as a further 200 commercial members. The SFHA is owned by its membership and exists to support the work of housing associations and co-operatives in Scotland by providing services, advice and good practice guidance.
3. The SFHA is the voice of the principal builders and managers of new affordable housing for rent in Scotland. Housing Associations own and manage around 40% of the country’s affordable rented housing stock, over a quarter of a million homes across Scotland.
4. Housing associations and co-operatives are not-for-profit bodies regulated by the Scottish Housing Regulator.