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Tuesday, 26 August 2014

'Bedroom tax' — remember 5 September

Remember to get your MP to vote on 5 September to change how the 'bedroom tax' operates

By 38Degrees

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A year ago the government brought in the bedroom tax - the benefit cut that dictates where poor people should live. [1] We've all heard the horror stories in the news. And for some of us, it’s meant struggling to pay the rent or even being forced out of our homes. [2]

Well, now we have an chance to scrap some of the worst parts of it, and quickly.

Andrew George is a Liberal Democrat MP who’s campaigned and voted against the bedroom tax in the past. He’s proposing a law which would change how the bedroom tax works. [3] If we can get enough MPs to vote for it, he estimates that most of those currently hit would no longer be affected.

So, how can we make it happen? The first vote is on 5th September. We need to make sure MPs have the date in their diaries now, so enough of them promise to turn up and vote for it.

Can you email your MP now and tell them to vote
for Andrew George’s new law?

The office team have seen the draft of the law. It’ll be published this week. It isn’t perfect – it wouldn’t fully scrap the bedroom tax. But it’s a big step in that direction. As well as covering the bedroom tax, the proposed law should also help families in need of affordable housing. Right now, its the best chance we have to reduce the number of lives hit by these unfair cuts.

If enough of us email our MPs and let them know we want them to vote for the law, we could push MPs to vote the right way. This would help people living with disabilities, people in sheltered housing, people who’ve been in their home for more than three years, and people whose council can’t find them somewhere else to live.

38 Degrees members have come together before to change bad laws - this April our pressure on MPs helped stop the hospital closure clause. [4] When we all contact our MPs at once, they take notice. The bedroom tax is a nasty attack on the most vulnerable people in society. Let’s do our best to get the worst of it scrapped.

So let’s make sure enough MPs turn up and vote. 5th September is a Friday, and MPs often book other meetings in on Fridays. So it’s important we get this vote goes in their diaries now. Please can you email your MP now?

Thanks for being involved,

Rebecca, Rachel, Blanche, David and the 38 Degrees team

PS: Here’s what Andrew George MP says about this vote in his own words:

"I'd like to see the bedroom tax scrapped altogether, and I expect many 38 Degrees members would agree with me. But at this stage it would be hard to get enough MPs to vote for that. So my strategy is to focus on trying to help out as many of those who are suffering from the bedroom tax as I can by passing legislation to scrap the worst aspects of it. It's the most realistic way of making a difference right now. So please help me persuade other MPs to get behind these changes."

[1] Shelter: The Bedroom Tax:
[2] The Guardian: Bedroom tax affected more than 522,000 people, first figures show:
Worcester News: Worcester mum says bedroom tax move has left her £900 out of pocket:
The Bolton News: Widow forced to leave her home due to ‘bedroom tax’:
The Herald: Bedroom tax: abolish it, says UN inspector after visits to Glasgow, Edinburgh:
[3] andrewgeorge.org.uk: Private Members’ Bill decision – George goes with ‘Affordable Homes Bill’:
[4] 38 Degrees blog: Hospital closure clause: we did it!

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