The Committee has called on the Scottish Government to announce its plan to “meet all bedroom tax charges, write off all arrears, and refund all payments made”
MPs will meet with Dundee Councillors and officials, local housing associations and the Scottish Government Minister for Housing and Welfare, Margaret Burgess MSP on Monday 10 March 2014, to discuss the impact of the “Bedroom Tax” and what must now be done to fully mitigate its effects.
Previous evidence to the Committee has made clear that the Scottish Government has, and has always had, full powers under the existing devolution settlement to cancel the impact of the Bedroom Tax on tenants in Scotland.
Ian Davidson MP, Chair of the Committee, said:
“Having heard the Scottish Government could have dealt with the bedroom tax fully at any time since its introduction, we have been taking evidence in Scotland on real impact, to date and going forward, of their failure to do so.
“With the recent Scottish Government admission that they have the money - and we know they have, and have always had, all the powers they need – to mitigate the entire cost of the bedroom tax, some councils have been taking steps to mitigate the effects, such as looking to write off rent debts as well as stop further costs. But what about the “moral hazard” of penalising those who did not go into debt but instead scrimped and scraped, suffered hardship, borrowed money, or used up savings to pay the extra costs? The witnesses we heard said the only fair, equitable way forward would be to reimburse all the bedroom tax that has been paid.
“All of these problems have been created by the Scottish Government’s delay - we now know that they could have addressed this at any time since the bedroom tax was introduced but as they did not, households and councils have been have been left to deal with it at great personal and administrative expense. The Scottish Government has the power and the money to resolve this mess. The only question is why they haven’t. We will be very keen to press the Scottish Government Minister on exactly how the Scottish Government will put in place a plan to meet all bedroom tax charges, write off all arrears, and refund all payments made.”