Scrapping the bedroom tax

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2014 National LGBT Conference
26 September 2014

Conference notes that a Private Members Bill “The Affordable Homes Bill” successfully passed its second reading in September 2014, when Members of Parliament voted 304 to 237 in favour.

The bedroom tax is a deduction from housing benefit (or the housing element of universal credit) for claimants deemed to be under-occupying their social rented homes. The Affordable Homes Bill proposes to introduce three new exemptions to its application.

The exemptions would apply where:

1)The claimant’s accommodation has been adapted for themselves, their partner, or a close relative who lives at the property and the cost of the adaptation is above a specific threshold;

2)An extra room is required because the claimant, or their partner, or a close relative living at the property, is in receipt of any component of disability living allowance or personal independence payment and they are not reasonably able to share a bedroom with another person;

3)Neither the claimant’s landlord nor a local authority where it is not the landlord has made a reasonable offer of alternative accommodation.

The Bill also proposes to secure a review of the availability of affordable and intermediate housing by the Secretary of State.

Conference notes that previous national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) conferences have agreed policy highlighting the impact of the bedroom tax on LGBT and disabled people and calling for its abolition.

Conference believes that the lack of affordable and suitably sized housing contributes to housing poverty, lack of secure and safe housing and homelessness amongst disabled LGBT people.

Conference, whilst welcoming the Affordable Homes Bill, does not believe that it goes far enough and believes that the bedroom tax should not be amended but should be abolished.

Conference welcomes the Labour Party pledge to immediately repeal the bedroom tax once in government. Conference believes that this pledge should be widely publicised amongst voters and potential votes to maximise political engagement and support for Labour.

Conference therefore calls on the national LGBT committee to:

A)continue to campaign against the bedroom tax and for its abolition;

B)working through Labour Link and LGBT Labour, highlight the impact of the bedroom tax for disabled and LGBT members to the Labour Party;

C)publicise ways in which the bedroom tax can be legally challenged;

D)use the pledge to abolish the bedroom tax in its campaign for a Labour government.