Myself and fellow SDLP MPs attended the Commons to vote in favour of a Bill which will improve the chances for families in inadequate or unaffordable homes at its second reading today.
The Private Members Bill was proposed by Lib Dem MP Andrew George. He sums up the ambition of the Bill in his own words;
“It is critical in my view that we establish a principle to ensure that the poor have as much entitlement to a stable family home as the better off. There are better ways of solving our housing crisis than creating misery for the most vulnerable. I hope my Affordable Homes Bill provides a cross party opportunity to address this.”
I think these sentiments are well worth supporting, and it chimes with the reasons why we oppose these unfair welfare changes in Northern Ireland.
This Bill would exclude from the bedroom tax people who have lived at an address from more than three years and whose homes have been adapted for the disabled. It also proposes
a clause to undertake a review of the need for, and effectiveness of policies to promote affordable homes and the intermediate market.
In my view the current Bill does not go far enough, but is a step in the right direction. We need to keep fighting to try to scrap this socially regressive policy. All opportunities to protect the vulnerable against the worst elements of the Coalition Government cuts must be taken
This proposed legislation is a further example of the opposition by elected representatives in Britain to the Bedroom tax. I believe there is a growing realisation across the water that this policy is unworkable and unfair in practice