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Scotland

'Bedroom tax' refund demanded

By Press Association, 8 Feb 2014 10.00am Updated: 9 Feb 2014 12:08am

Campaigners have demanded a refund for social tenants affected by the "bedroom tax" following a decision to fully fund associated benefit cuts in Scotland.

The Scottish Anti-Bedroom Tax Federation will hold a "wake" for the UK Government's under-occupancy charge in Glasgow tomorrow after Finance Secretary John Swinney approved additional money for full mitigation measures.

The SNP and Labour set aside wider political differences to find a way to help affected tenants in the Scottish Budget, setting aside an additional £12 million to take the mitigation fund up to the £50 million needed to offset the cuts.

They have called on the UK Government to either raise the threshold permitted for discretionary housing payments, which are allocated to help people manage benefit changes, or ideally scrap the under-occupancy charge altogether.

The Federation, an umbrella group of 50 campaign groups from around Scotland chaired by former Scottish Socialist Party leader and veteran anti-poll tax campaigner Tommy Sheridan, has now demanded a refund for all those affected to date.

He said: "The bedroom tax was even more vile and vindictive than the hated poll tax. It was a poverty-seeking missile.

"It's victims were the poor and disabled. We stood up to it and committed ourselves to civil disobedience to prevent any bedroom tax evictions.

"We refused to allow anyone to stand alone. Despite a lack of interest and denials of power to do anything 12 months ago we now have the main parties in Scotland united to kill this vile tax. That is a victory for people power. It is ordinary folk across Scotland who refused to accept this Tory tax who killed it off.

"We demand refunds for those harassed into paying charges they couldn't afford and will continue to support the campaign of resistance in England and Wales."

A "bedroom tax coffin" will be on display at the Glasgow Unison offices tomorrow, where people affected will mark "the passing of one of the most vile and pernicious Government policies ever introduced".