In the House of Commons, an Opposition Day debate will take place today about one of the government’s most unpopular welfare reforms – the spare room subsidy, commonly referred to as the bedroom tax. However, Iain Duncan Smith (the Work and Pensions Secretary) will not be participating in the debate.despite being responsible for the policy
Instead Rachel Reeves (the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary) is more likely to be debating the issue with a less senior minister from the Work and Pensions departments.
Labour has suggested that Iain Duncan Smith is “running scared” in the light of a protest, which a number of protesters are expected to attend, that is planned in Westminster prior to the debate.
Labour has instigated the debate as away of forcing a vote in the Commons on a motion calling on the government to abolish this contentious policy
660,000 people who are claiming housing benefit are affected by this particular welfare reform policy causing them to lose an average of £720 per annum in payments, according to Rachel Reeves.
The Labour motion reads:
That this House regrets the pernicious effect on vulnerable and in many cases disabled people of deductions being made from Housing Benefit paid to working age tenants in the social housing sector deemed to have an excess number of bedrooms in their homes; calls on the government to end these deductions with immediate effect; furthermore calls for any cost of ending them to be covered by reversing tax cuts which will benefit the wealthiest and promote avoidance, and addressing the tax loss from disguised employment in construction; and further calls on the government to use the funding set aside for Discretionary Housing Payments to deal with under-occupation by funding local authorities so that they are better able to help people with the cost of moving to suitable accommodation.