the3towns can reveal that North Ayrshire Council is to continue its policy of 'No Bedroom Tax Evictions' for a further year.
The SNP-run Council introduced a ‘no evictions’ policy last year for tenants who find themselves in rent arrears as a result of the Westminster-imposed Bedroom Tax. Called the ‘spare room subsidy’ by the Tory-Lib Dem UK Government, the Bedroom Tax imposes cuts to Housing Benefit for anyone deemed to have more rooms in their home than they ‘need’. The policy has seen some of the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people plunged deeper into poverty as already-inadequate benefits are cut by up to 25%.
Outlining the position of North Ayrshire’s SNP councillors, Ruth Maguire, Cabinet member for Finance & Housing, said, “We are determined to do all we can to protect tenants affected by this cruel and unfair Westminster tax. The Bedroom Tax is hitting some of North Ayrshire’s most vulnerable people. That’s why in March last year the SNP made a no evictions pledge for a one-year transitional period. I can now confirm that the SNP Group will continue with this policy.”
Cllr Maguire pointed-out that the Bedroom Tax has been imposed on Scotland despite over 90% of Scottish MPs voting against the policy, adding, “Westminster just does not get how tough things are for many Scots suffering from UK government cuts.
“We understand the pain and upset the Bedroom Tax is causing and hope this pledge provides comfort that we will take all practical steps within our power to protect tenants.”
The SNP Council Group is concerned that Tory Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has announced more devastating cuts are on the way, including an additional £12bn to be axed from the welfare budget. Ruth Maguire said, “To end this assault on our social protection, we need power over welfare here in Scotland, and polls show that most Scots want welfare decisions to be made in Scotland. A ‘YES’ vote in September’s referendum will deliver this.”