The 'Bedroom Tax' is no such thing

May 01, 2015 9:45 AM

Six days to go.

Today Labour will pledge to kill the "bedroom tax" on day one if elected. Ed Miliband will, according to the PoliticsHome Breakfast Briefing, promise to fund the full cost of the levy for all families currently subject to it for as long as it takes to enact legislation to abolish the measure. 

"We'll get to work immediately," he says, "to ensure that families no longer lose out. We'll make new funds available to local authorities to offset the full costs of the tax for all who currently pay it."

Except the 'Bedroom Tax' isn't a tax. The funds Mr. Miliband is describing that he would have to hand over to local authorities will fund a benefit increase - because, of course, the 'Bedroom Tax' is a benefit reduction. The policy is in fact described in official documents as the removal of the spare room subsidy. 

We have written extensively on the Bedroom Tax - my predecessor Rob Oxley explains why it isn't a tax, and why it may prove a useful sticking plaster to a wider problem here. 

We believe the removal of the spare room subsidy is a sensible move. Taxpayers up and down the country who make tough choices about whether they can afford to move into a bigger home to expand their family will wonder why those on benefits should be exempt. We have a housing shortage - and we must liberalise the planning system to address this, prestissimoand the policy does in an admittedly small way start to address the balance the demand for rooms and the supply of them in the social housing sector.

Labour may disagree with that. But they should be honest about what they're disagreeing with, and not employ lazy spin for electoral gain. 

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