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Bedroom Tax Vote

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3:35pm 5th September 2014

Cornwall heads up the fight for affordable homes.

St Ives' Andrew George is calling on ministers to scale back the so-called bedroom tax

That means exemptions for the disabled and people who can't downsize because of a lack of homes.

The MP's Private Bill has been heard for the first time and passed a crucial vote in the commons.

It also wants the gap between wages and house prices bridged: "The poor should have as much entitlement to a stable family home as the better off.  There are better ways of solving our housing crisis than creating misery for the most vulnerable.

"This is without doubt the most significant social challenge for an area like ours an area I'm sorry to say bedevilled by the problem of large numbers of second homes and that doesn't help when such a large proportion of the properties are taken."

Mr George, who voted against the Government's Bedroom Tax/Spare Room Subsidy regulations explained that he could not get support for any of his measures from the Conservatives and that the Labour Party would not support his proposed planning controls on second homes and had concerns about the other measures, with the exception of the proposed exemptions to the Bedroom Tax.

Mr George said:  "Although I am disappointed that I've had to drop other measures to give this Bill a chance of success at Second Reading next Friday, I hope I can persuade Labour and fellow Liberal Democrat MPs, including Government Ministers, to support it.

"Of course - to be consistent - I would have preferred to abolish the Bedroom Tax altogether, but, for a Private Members' Bill to have any chance of success, compromises have to be reached.

"Naturally, if I succeed at Second Reading, I hope I can beef up the Bill with amendments at Committee Stage, to extend exemptions to the Bedroom Tax and promote the intermediate housing market to make home ownership affordable to more people."

Cornish campaigners welcome the move to water down the so-called 'bedroom tax'

Steve Paget from Disability Cornwall says about time something was done: "Many disabled people require additional bedrooms for maybe their carers to sleep over or maybe their equipment. It's part of a plethora of benefit welfare reforms but it's the one that's had one of the biggest impact on disabled people.

"Disabled people don't feel that 'We're all in it together' to quote David Cameron. It just highlights the unfairness and discrimination that many disabled people experience as part of the welfare benefit reforms."

3:35pm 5th September 2014

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