Wednesday 13 November 2013

GLC gives evidence to Welfare Reform Committee on 'No evictions for bedroom tax' petition

Representatives of Glasgow's Govan Law Centre were in attendance at the Scottish Parliament yesterday (12 November 2013) to give evidence to the Welfare Reform Committee on our 'No evictions for bedroom tax' petition, and the proposed Protection from Eviction (Bedroom Tax) (Scotland) Bill.

The session is available to watch via the BBC Democracy site here. A full transcript of the session is available via the Parliament's Official Report here (opens as PDF). The session featured on BBC 2's Politics Scotland here (36 min into show via the iPlayer).

GLC argued the case that it was not economically viable to evict Scottish tenants solely because of the bedroom tax in the short to medium term; that Scottish Government and other promises of 'no eviction for the bedroom tax' required to be backed up with statutory teeth, and ultimately the Scottish Government should use its underspend to off-set the bedroom tax, which was £30m this year; and £53m in 2014/15.

GLC were disappointed that representatives of both the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) and the Chartered Institute of Housing in Scotland (CIHiS) continued to press for the ability to evict tenants notwithstanding they were unable to pay under-occupancy deductions. Both the SFHA and CIHiS paid lip service to tenants not being evicted 'if they engaged' with their landlord. What 'engaged' actually meant was paying the bedroom tax, and the grim reality is that disabled tenants and those on benefits are not able to afford to shoulder the cost of bedroom tax deductions on any sustainable basis.

Very worryingly, both the SFHA and the CIHiS refused to support the call for the Scottish Government to off-set the cost of the bedroom tax in Scotland, thus evidencing that they were in truth content to see Scottish tenants evicted if they were unable to pay bedroom tax shortfalls in their rent.

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