This is the last article you can read this month
You can read more article this month
You can read more articles this month
Sorry your limit is up for this month
Trade unions and community activists rejoiced yesterday as the Scottish government finally caved to public pressure over the hated bedroom tax.
SNP Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon pledged to effectively abolish the sanctions for tenants and housing associations in Scotland, upping her government's contribution to the pool of discretionary housing payments available for victims of the Con-Dem cuts.
The tax docks housing benefit payments by up to 25 per cent for those in council housing or renting from housing associations who are deemed to have a spare room.
Those households, with a median gross income of £209 a week, face eviction unless they can pay an average £728 a year in arrears - the equivalent of six weeks' rent.
Everyone from charities to housing associations to a United Nations rapporteur-general have condemned the tax and noted the dearth of affordable one-bedroom homes.
Victims have described destitution and in many cases contemplated suicide.
Ms Sturgeon has previously ducked calls for blanket protection of tenants in Scotland, telling reporters last April that amending the Housing Scotland Act to ban evictions where renters had fallen into arrears under the policy would "create an anomalous situation."
But she said yesterday she was now "more than willing" to boost her government's contribution to the emergency fund from £20 million to £35m, bringing the total pool to around £50m a year - the projected cost of the policy to tenants in Scotland.
The announcement ends months of pleading from charities, unions, housing associations and grassroots groups, culminating in a petition presented to MSPs on Holyrood's welfare reform committee last week.
The No 2 Bedroom Tax Campaign's Alan Wylie, who presented the petition, said he felt "great pride" to see elected representatives standing by Scotland's tenants.
"It is a victory for activists, community groups, trade unions, the voluntary sector and every other organisation that joined the fight against the bedroom tax.
"But I think, more importantly, today was a victory for tenants."
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £10 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.