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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Labour's opportunistic opposition to housing benefit reform stumbles again

Many politicians hold genuine and deeply-held views in opposition to the coalition government's reform of housing benefit.

There is no doubt changes that will reduce entitlement for those who have a spare bedroom are controversial and will initially cause problems for many people.

That is why the government has put in place additional funds for Discretionary Housing Payments and have altered a number of the regulations to ease specific issues. It is my view that more needs to be done, but that is not the point of this post.

The position of the Labour Party on this issue has been particularly hypocritical. They have been virulent in their opposition to what they have termed 'the bedroom tax' and yet they piloted this reform when they were in government and introduced it for the privately rented sector in 2008.

What is more they have put forward no alternative nor have they pledged to repeal it. That hypocrisy has been brought into stark contrast this weekend with a clarification of the position of the shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

According to this article, Liam Byrne went to Newcastle empty-handed and left his audience sorely disappointed on this very issue.

Labour's opportunism on welfare reform is disgraceful. They quite rightly initiated it, now they are opposing it despite not having any intention of undoing the reforms. No wonder they are struggling in the polls.
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