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Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:52 pm on 19th March 2015.

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Photo of Vincent Cable Vincent Cable The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills 12:52 pm, 19th March 2015

Let me deal with one of the points of righteous indignation that is made about welfare cuts—the point about the so-called bedroom tax. The problem with it is that the idea of relating housing benefit to the size of accommodation did not start under this Government; it was a long-standing policy in relation to people in private rented accommodation. Where we have disagreed with our Conservative colleagues—we have made this explicit—is in saying that the so-called bedroom tax should not apply retrospectively. If people are given an offer of accommodation in the council house sector and they turn it down, they should pay it, but if they do not receive a satisfactory offer, they should not. That is a point of difference. The sheer righteous indignation bears absolutely no relation to the history of this problem.