Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP, Angus MacNeil took part in the Housing Benefit debate held in the House of Commons.

Mr MacNeil stated that the Bedroom Tax particularly in an island context can really be seen for what it is – an attack on the living standards of the poorest.

Commenting after the debate Mr MacNeil said:

“This was a very lively debate and I took the opportunity to raise the impact of the Bedroom Tax from an island perspective.

“In the islands, there are 188 people affected by the Bedroom Tax according to John MacIver Director of Operations at Hebridean Housing Partnership, who I met with prior to the debate. He highlighted an example of one of our island communities where HHP have 105 properties of which 50% have single person occupancy but there is only 20% of the stock that is designed for single occupancy – therefore some people will always be penalised by Bedroom Tax as there is no way of correcting this imbalance.

“In an island context we can see that the Bedroom Tax does not and cannot work.  It merely penalises the poorest – those in our society who circulate money the fastest.

“I highlighted the further complication associated with Bedroom Tax – Discretionary Housing Payments have two important conditions, people cannot claim retrospectively and also people must apply for a housing transfer.  Of the 188 people affected by the Bedroom Tax in Na h-Eileanan an Iar, only 80 or 90 people have claimed Discretionary Housing Payment, therefore I would urge others to claim also before they get into financial complications.

“Sadly the UK is the 4th most unequal country in the world and the super rich are still getting richer, that is where the real societal flaws of UK lie. Meanwhile other countries such as Norway or Denmark the unemployed do far better, society is far healthier unemployment far lower.”

“This Bedroom Tax has been imposed on Scotland by a government we didn’t elect.  The majority of Scotland’s MPs voted against the Bedroom Tax but it was still imposed by Westminster.   With a Yes vote in September 2014, we can prevent such things happening again.”