The 'war against the bedroom tax' is being won, say Bolton campaigners
CAMPAIGNERS from pressure group Bolton Against The Bedroom Tax say they are winning the war against the controversial policy - after senior Liberal Democrats called for it to be axed.
Danny Alexander, the chief secretary of the Treasury, said the coalition party wanted “fairer rules” for social housing and council house tenants.
Since April, 2013, the spare room subsidy has seen tenants lose a portion of their benefits if they are deemed to have an extra room in their houses.
Mr Alexander has called for massive rehaul of the policy, which would see social tenants living in properties that are too big lose their benefits if they refuse an alternative property.
He also called for disabled people to be completely exempt from the deductions. Linda Charnock, chairman of the Bolton Against Bedroom Tax campaign, said the latest announcement by the Lib Dems reflected a “turn in the tide” against the policy.
She said: “We feel we are winning the war, and that’s the same feeling coming from all the campaigns across the country.
“It’s happened very late in the day, and coming up to a General Election, but better late than never.
“And in the meantime people are still in fear of losing their homes.”
Labour accused the Liberal Democrats or “unbelievable hypocrisy” over the move.
Both Labour and UKIP have said they would scrap the policy.
But Cllr Roger Hayes, leader of the Liberal Democrats in Bolton, said he was pleased to see the national leadership taking account of local groups’ views.
Both the Liberal Democrats and Conservative groups in Bolton are against the policy, despite their national counterparts spearheading the reforms.
Cllr Hayes said: “We have been against it from the beginning.
“I’m delighted that the party has taken this stance. At a recent party conference there was a strong vote from members asking for reform of the policy.
“Whatever the merits of it, you have got to have a supply of smaller accommodation for people to move into.
“Otherwise it’s totally unfair to penalise people who might want to move but can’t because there isn’t the supply.”