Liam Byrne says Labour should remove bedroom tax

  • Labour's shadow secretary of state for work and pensions has called for bedroom tax to be removed. Liam Byrne

    Speaking at the National Housing Federation annual conference at the ICC on Thursday, Liam Byrne says that "we have got to have this bedroom tax dropped now".

    Mr Byrne also said that Labour would work well with housing associations after winning the next election, reports 24dash.

    "In government we want to pioneer new ways of working with you (housing associations) and with local authorities" to reduce the welfare bill, he said.  He later added that parties needed to listen to the warning housing associations were giving them about direct payment to residents being a "huge risk".

    "I know we will have difficult decisions we have to make when we are in government," Byrne said, adding "I'm someone who believes there isn't moral credibility" without financial viability.

    Byrne was asked by South Yorkshire Housing Association chief executive Tony Stacey on how soon it would be before Labour came out and explicitly pledged itself to repeal.

    "We think this (tax) is iniquitous, the survey work we've done shows there are no homes for 90% of the people hit by this tax to go," Byrne said. "We're determined to see and find a way to get this dropped...We will be very straight with people with what we can and can't do (in office). We'll have to prove that it (the bedroom tax) is costing more than it saves."

    In his speech Byrne promised Australian-style comprehensive, universal insurance for disability, and time-limited welfare, saying anyone out for work for more than two years will be offered a job or lose benefit, reports the Guardian.

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