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Errors and omissions expected

Posted on September 06, 2013 by

This just in: Labour policy clarification on the bedroom tax, from the horse’s mouth.

(No, really. We’re not being satirical, although they might be.)

From: Frontbench <frontbench [at] labour [dot] org [dot] uk>
Sent: 06 September 2013 17:46
Subject: Response from the Labour Party

Good afternoon,

Thank you for your email regarding the bedroom tax. For help with specific cases please get in touch with your local MP.

Labour supports sensible welfare reform but the bedroom tax is the wrong choice. This Government is making people in council and housing association homes pay more, at the same time as handing thousands of millionaires are a tax cut of £100,000 a year.

The Government admits this botched plan won’t solve under occupancy. They accept that there are not enough smaller properties for families to move to, yet the bedroom tax is still hitting households that don’t have the option to move. It may even cost more than it saves if families are made homeless or pushed into expensive private rented accommodation. The Government is hitting households with the bedroom tax despite admitting there aren’t enough smaller properties for tenants to move to. They expect families to pay extra, hitting working people and some of the most vulnerable in our society.    

Labour forced votes on the Welfare Reform Bill to introduce safeguards into the bedroom tax that would have stopped anyone from being affected unless they refused, for no good reason, an offer of appropriate accommodation nearby. Labour’s proposal would have helped to solve under-occupancy, without making people homeless or pushing them into expensive private rented accommodation, which will cost the taxpayer more.

Hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people are being hit by a cruel tax they can’t escape. The Government must think again and drop this tax now. Britain needs real welfare reform that is tough, fair and that works, not divisive, nasty and misleading smears from an out of touch and failing Government.

Labour will set out our own tax and spending plans at the time of the next election, but we are clear on our opposition to the bedroom tax, and we would never have brought it in if we were in power.

We are opening up the way the Labour Party makes policy to involve people from all walks of life. You can play a part in shaping our policy programme through Your Britain, Labour’s online home of ideas and policy development. If you have views on this issue you would like to share, please submit them to our Work and Business Policy Commission.

To see what else we’re talking about, follow Your Britain on Twitter.

With kind regards,

On behalf of the Labour Party

Sent by email from the Labour Party, promoted by Iain McNicol on behalf of The Labour Party, both at One Brewer’s Green, London SW1H 0RH. Website: to join or renew call 0845 0922299.

Our emphasis. Especially alert readers may have noticed the absence of the words “We will abolish the bedroom tax if elected in 2015”, despite the letter containing 450 words of platitudinous waffle about how awful it is.

We wonder why that might be.

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    42 to “Errors and omissions expected”

    1. Andy-B says:

      After reading this piece the words long winded and waffling spring to mind, it seems Labour are saying a lot about nothing.

    2. Albalha says:

      Well that’s in keeping with the Liam Byrne, ‘we’re consulting with Labour councils, re costs, blah, blah’
      And re Falkirk

    3. Murray McCallum says:

      Looks like the New Labour leadership need endless consultation and focus groups in order to tell them what to believe.  They seem to have no firm convictions, other than the right for Tories to rule Scotland, at all.

    4. Gallowglass says:

        What a bunch of turds. 

    5. Doug Daniel says:

      “Good afternoon
      The bedroom tax is evil, doesn’t save any money, and doesn’t even perform the job it is supposed to. Therefore, we will remove it if elected in 2015.
      With kind regards”

      Now how difficult is that? Not very. So obviously they have no intention of including it in their manifesto at all.

    6. bluestiles says:

      Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t Labour bring in the first instance of the bedroom tax when they were in power? Something they say they would never do above?

    7. eva says:

      @bluestiles – yes, they did.
      Wonder when we will hear from Anas Sarwar MP about this.

    8. james morton says:

      I expect them to keep it in and then introduce a new benefit; at great cost, to mitigate the effects of an idiotic policy

    9. Simon says:

      Yes I seem to remember that Labour introduced the bedroom tax for private renters, all the Tories did was to extend the policy to cover council tenants as well.

    10. Murray McCallum says:

      The strength of Labour policy strategy is that they have zero external leaks. The weakness, however, is that this is primarily down to them having no policies.

    11. eva says:

      @james morton
      leaving aside the issue of whether Labour have become unelectable in England, they cannot afford to do anything at great cost as we will have scarpered from the Union by then and taken all our Scottish resources with us leaving them skint.

    12. Bobby Mckail says:

      Imagine having to go all the way through university, just to end up writing that crap for the ‘people’s’ Labour party. I bet they’re even got interns doing it for free for them.

    13. john king says:

      “Wonder when we will hear from Anas Sarwar MP about this.”
      really? why? whats wrong with you? didn’t get enough of that a**e the other night?

    14. eva says:

      @ john king,the more we can hear from him the better 😉

    15. HandandShrimp says:

      I think the clue is “never would have introduced it if we were in power”
      1) That is a moot as to who laid the foundation for this policy
      2) “never would have” is New Labour speak for “it is now so we may as well live with it”
      Of course if things look desperate come May 2015 I’m sure they will press the nuclear button and promise all sorts of guff.

    16. Doug says:

      They probably think this is a clever statement. Condemn loudly, look like you care. Hope people miss the absence of action (or mistake the rhetoric for same).
      It doesn’t deserve to work, so let us hope people spot the vital missing part and treat it with the deserved contempt!

    17. Roll_On_2014 says:

      OT – Breaking news

      Unite cleared over Labour vote-rigging row:

      Unite has been cleared of trying to rig the selection of a Labour candidate in Falkirk, claims which led to a major row between the union and Ed Miliband.

      Labour has decided no organisation or individual broke party rules after evidence of wrongdoing was withdrawn.

      Two union officials at the centre of the row have been reinstated. “

    18. ianbrotherhood says:

      On street-stalls we quite often get people pausing to find out what our petition’s about, then shifting away when we tell them it’s about the Bedroom Tax, saying ‘that doesn’t affect me’.
      Many of them are about to find out – the hard way – that the BT is quite likely to affect everyone, if for no other reason than cash-strapped councils are hauling in every penny owed to them, and the sheriff officers/debt collection agencies are doing big overtime.
      A friend had them turn up at the door a fortnight ago with a court order. He’s never ever been out of work (a teacher, widower, father of two) never ever been in serious arrears, but he hadn’t made any payments for this year because he’s waiting for his property to be reclassified as it’s in the wrong banding – if anything, the council have probably been overcharging him since he bought the house eight years ago, and owe HIM money. 
      He refused to sign the papers being delivered by the officers, called their office and warned that he’d be taking immediate legal action if a penny of his wages was touched. He was bluffing, but no matter. He received a wage arrestment notice on Monday, and deductions start next month. 
      So, if you encounter anyone who dismisses concerns over the Bedroom Tax because ‘it doesn’t affect me’, you might want to tell them to think again, and make double-sure their Council Tax is being paid on the dot without fail.

    19. CameronB says:

      So what Labour HQ are saying is, ‘we’ve always been at war with Eastasia’.

    20. DMyers says:

      Jesus!  Whoever wrote that mustn’t have got anything as high as a grade 7 for Standard Grande English/GCSE equivalent grade.  It’s horrific.

    21. Dcanmore says:

      So, just like the Tony Blair and Gordon Brown governments, they will repeal the policies of the nasty Tory Party… oh wait.
      Doubleshite as usual from Labour.

    22. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Labour will set out our own tax and spending plans at the time of the next election, but we are clear on our opposition to the bedroom tax, and we would never have brought it in if we were in power.”

      Dear Mr Labour party MP/MSP.
      I know that you are extremely busy writing Anas Sarwar’s next 30 minute monologue but if I could just interrupt your thought processes for a second or two here. Could you please advise me who it was exactly that introduced the bedroom tax when Labour were in power under Gordon Brown’s ‘leadership?’
      I realise that this is a very difficult question for you to answer and understand that you may be incapable of providing the answer but we, the general public, would dearly love to know the answer! 

    23. Braco says:

      I am becoming so angry that I don’t trust myself with any sort of analysis.
      Could I ask the Rev to possibly look out last year’s Clydebank public mauling of Jackie Bailey at (sorry but I don’t know which) Union meeting it was, prior to, but dominated by, the forthcoming ‘Bedroom Tax’.
      I know the next annual public meeting is soon to take place and I would love to see the two meetings side by side as a sort of time lapse piece of journalism.
      If they manage to close down debate this time at Clydebank , as I am sure they are tempted to, then the comparison will be deadly.
      If however, ‘The Workers Union’ prevails and once again allows the ‘great unwashed’  to express their views, I can’t help but think betterNO and their sad, repetitive, lying rhetoric  will be fucked.
      Either way the point will certainly be made.
      How about it Rev, as a 3 or 4 hour marathon (if we were to click the links obviously)?

    24. Graeme says:

      They (Labour) are by far imho the most dishonest of parties that have evolved into ‘playing’ at being socially aware and for the people, but maintain a neo-liberal  (at least with the Tories you know what to sort of expect)agenda that fools no one.

      Deserting their traditional supporters/backing in Scotland, doing nothing to help them! keeping stum at the behest of Milliband (nothing concrete regarding Sarwars off message statement last night) so he can have his moment of ‘ahem’ glory!?

      Riding to the rescue of the destitute and desperate. He will probably  announce at the party conference  “if we get back into Westminster we will abolish it”   ‘IF’. While people are having to put up with the misery and depletion of living standards because of this bastard tax! A tax they didn’t oppose as the main opposition at Westminster? Didn’t bother to turn up or abstained,BT Alistair Darling being a culprit along with many others like Ian Davidson caught on camera lying about how he and his party voted, they are shameless!

      Even the FB anti-bedroom tax site is being used by a pro Labour editor/blogger using it for Labour propaganda forgetting about what its direct aim is stop the tax! (Don’t believe? me have a look!)Whoever runs the site is ok in using it as a pro Labour web site feigning support for the affected people but in all reality its nothing but a Labour front to attack the scottish government shamefully disregarding the seriousness of the present situation regarding peoples on going struggle with the bedroom tax.

      Labour and (some) of its supporters are a disgrace! The waffle of the letter above sums them up.

    25. Jon D says:

      @Dcanmore, 7.19pm
      Doubleplus shite.

    26. Roll_On_2014 says:


      This one:

      Clydebank Trades Union Council

    27. tartanfever says:

      This is going to play well in the run up to the referendum after the Electoral Commission made it perfectly clear that both sides must state clearly what the people of Scotland can expect in the event of both a Yes and No vote. This kind of non-specific response could easily be considered a breach of that agreement.
      Labour will no doubt keep up their empty rhetoric and I think it’s getting to the stage that we should be highlighting these facts to the EC. 
      It could be claimed that specific party policy could be exempt because both campaigns are cross party, giving an opportunity to avoid specifics, but now we have a specific one party organisation in ‘untied with labour’ then if they are to take part in referendum campaigning they should be bound by the same agreement.
      The Electoral Commission are going to find themselves very busy people in the coming year.

    28. john king says:

      Conan_the_Librarian says:
      September, 2013 at 7:20 pm

      I’m Spartacus.

        sometimes I hate you conan 🙂

    29. john king says:

      ” john king,the more we can hear from him the better” 

       belay that last request helmsman 😉


    30. Paula Rose says:

      It is not about playing semantic games, this is about our own people. I choose to live in this country, I have been welcomed and embraced – alongside many others, the UK no longer offers a home, we will be a nation that again inspires and engages with the modern world, a country fit for purpose xx.

    31. Braco says:

      Roll on 2014,
      thanks, that’s the very one!
      Do you think the next will be as good?  &]: @ {>   

      No, neither do I.

    32. Gizzit says:

      @IanBrotherhood – regrettably, that’s an attitude carefully inculcated by Tories and Labour alike since 1979 – “I’m all right Jack – and devil take the hindmost”.
      It’s a sad shabby travesty of what society should be, and hell mend all the self-centered poltroons who cannot see beyond their own front door.
      I’m too cross to continue, and at risk of using intemperate language which would make the Rev. tut at me.

    33. Bubbles says:

      @ Braco 7:33
      it might be a 3 – 4hr marathon for you but for me in the sticks it’s officially an all-nighter 🙂

    34. ianbrotherhood says:

      Isn’t it great to see all the ‘new’ names on the roll call? I haven’t done a running tally of all the ‘plusses’, but we must be looking at several hundred registering intention via WoS alone – and if it’s true, as Rev recently stated, that 99% of readers never post anything…what’s the real number?
      Can’t wait.

    35. Braco says:

      that’s because you’re bin men don’t wreck the place at 02:45 every night/morning and cheap Porto is not what you use to replace the need for regular mock chop suppers (with Sagres chaser/pickled eggs obviously).
      I need, somehow, to get home (and I will).

    36. Linda's back says:

      Get real
      Labour needs the right wing UKIP supporters in South England to have any chance of forming the next UK government therefore they will never commit to abolishing the Bedroom Tax this side of the 2015 UK elections. 

    37. Braco says:

      by the way, I love you’re reverse ferret from real name, to ‘anonymous’ cybernat!

      Coolest statement BTL on Wings so far (as far as I am concerned anyway)!

    38. Shinty says:

      Isn’t it great to see all the ‘new’ names on the roll call?

      Thought the same myself – shown up on a couple of threads in the past ie 500 questions (amongst others), so we know they are out there, just need more confidence to post comments.

      O/T so disgusted with the ‘debate’ I am now determined to make more of an effort to get to the march & rally and rouse up a bus load from my area.

    39. ianbrotherhood says:

      Just did a rough tally, but it’s just of ‘definites’ :
      From the first 218 comments on roll-call, 591. But it doesn’t count ‘groups’, like Yes Wherever, and seven such groups were mentioned, could account for another couple of hundred.

    40. Morag says:

      Well, lots of people will have two hats.  I could march as SNP Borders (and as I’m currently an SNP candidate, maybe they’ll expect me to), or Yes Borders, or Wings over Scotland.  Still only one of me though.
      I did just phone a friend and urge that she ditch her grandson’s second birthday bash in Aberdeen and drag her husband on the march instead.  The end of that was that she might reverse the charges and drag daughter, son-in-law, two-year-old and all down to Edinburgh instead.  So long as there is a bus for husband’s gammy knee.
      I think we might just fill that hill.

    41. Jeannie says:

      I’d vote for you in a heartbeat!

    42. faolie says:

      Maybe they originally had two responses to this bit in the letter:
      Hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people are being hit by a cruel tax they can’t escape…

      Labour will set out our own tax and spending plans at the time of the next election
      Be in no doubt that Labour will end this hated tax if you elect us at the next election
      Guess what answer will appeal to the middle-England general election battleground? Not the second, that’s for sure. And meanwhile here, we have Labour Councillors opposing SNP councils’ who say they will not enforce evictions.

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