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Sep 1st, 2014

The Bedroom Tax

By Rachel Oliver

A year ago the government brought in the bedroom tax, the benefit cut that forces poor people to move or pay more rent if they have a spare room – even if they can’t find anywhere else to live.

The bedroom tax is a nasty attack on the most vulnerable people in society. And for some, it’s meant struggling to pay the rent or even being forced out of their home. But now we have a 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 limit who’s affected by the bedroom tax. If we can get enough MPs to vote for it, he estimates that most people would no longer be affected.

So how do 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 that 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?

If it’s passed, people living with disabilities, or living in areas where there aren’t smaller council properties to move to, won’t have to pay the bedroom tax. The new law isn’t perfect – it wouldn’t fully scrap the bedroom tax. But it’s a big step in the right direction. Right now, it’s 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 help make sure MPs vote the right way. 38 Degrees members have come together before to change bad laws – this April our pressure on MPs helped stop the hospital closure clause. When we all contact our MPs at once, they take notice.

Let’s do our best to get the worst of the bedroom tax scrapped – by making 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.

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

“We have a real chance of victory this Friday – helping thousands of families hit by the bedroom tax  (Spare Room Subsidy). Of course, 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 (Spare Room Subsidy) as I can by scrapping the worst aspects of it. It’s the most realistic way of making a difference right now. So please help me persuade your MP to come along on Friday and get behind these changes.”

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