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Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Sutton and Cheam and disability campaigner, Emily Brothers has criticised Lib Dem MP, Paul Burstow for failing to turn up for an important vote. Yesterday, Labour attempted to scrap the Bedroom Tax by Christmas.
The Government defeated a Labour motion to abolish what Iain Duncan Smith MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, prefers to call the "spare room subsidy" by a reduced majority of 32, winning the vote 298 to 266 votes.
Ms Brothers said:
“Frustratingly, Paul Burstow MP, along with his Lib dem colleagues, failed to show leadership by fluffing the vote. They let down their supporters and members by breaking their promise to scrap the hated discredited Bedroom Tax.
“Throughout this Parliament Mr Burstow has consistently joined the small Lib Dem flock – bleating sheep after sheep going through the Government Lobby to pass measures that hit hardworking families in Sutton and Cheam. Now they cluster in the holding pen, gathering in collective indecision whilst they await electoral slaughter.
“At least local people would know very clearly Mr Burstow’s position if he had voted for or against the motion. He simply doesn’t have the political courage to do that.
“Tory-Lib Dem welfare reforms have pushed many families into poverty, often because there is no smaller property for them to move. In office Labour will build 200,000 new homes each year, one million over the Parliament. We will also scrap the appalling Bedroom Tax.
“This disreputable Government is “scapegoating” the most vulnerable people in our communities because of the problems in housing and that disabled people were on the “front line of the austerity cuts”. By failing to vote to scrap the Bedroom Tax, Mr Burstow is turning his back on those disabled people.”
Since the Bedroom Tax was introduced around half a million low-income households have been forced to find, on average an extra £700 a year. In London 28,247 people have been hit by the Bedroom Tax.”
Ms Brothers added:
“This Christmas too many people in Sutton and Cheam will struggle to make ends meet, many relying on food banks to survive because of the Bedroom Tax introduced in April 2013 by the Government that both Paul Burstow and Paul Scully back. The Bedroom Tax is wasting people’s money, time and talents. That’s why it is another example of Tory and Lib Dem Welfare Waste.
“Today Labour has forced a vote to scrap this failing policy. As a result, voters can be clear on the different party positions, with the Tories strongly advocating it, Labour wanting to scrap it and the Lib Dem following their Tory masters and regretting it with a whimper, without showing leadership.”

1. Latest DWP figures on number of people hit by the Bedroom Tax:
NORTH EAST - 36,126
NORTH WEST – 74,031
EASTERN – 30,036
LONDON – 48,247
SOUTH EAST – 32,232
SOUTH WEST - 24,896
WALES - 31,217
SCOTLAND – 70,291
TOTAL – 471,887
Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/number-of-housing-benefit-claimants-and-average-weekly-spare-room-subsidy-amount-withdrawal
2. Two thirds of households affected by the bedroom tax cannot find the money to pay their rents, according to new research from the National Housing Federation. Source: http://www.housing.org.uk/media/press-releases/two-thirds-of-households-hit-by-bedroom-tax-are-in-debt-as-anniversary-appr#sthash.Ljy35ky2.dpuf
3. Housing benefit set to rise by £1billion over four year in March 2014 Budget (pg 132) http://budgetresponsibility.org.uk/economic-fiscal-outlook-march-2014/
Figures contained in the Budget have shown the housing benefit bill will continue rising not falling, with an increase of £1billion forecast over the next four years.



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