Jamie Reed MP votes to end the Bedroom Tax

17th December 2014

Tory Britain: Thousands hit by Bedroom Tax and Thousands using Food banks
  • Food bank usage in Copeland has risen by almost 30% since 2012
  • Areas with highest levels of child poverty have the highest level of food bank use
  • Over 4670 people hit by the Bedroom Tax in Cumbria; More than half of these in West Cumbria
  • Labour forces debate in Parliament and votes to end the Bedroom Tax
New research has revealed the devastating impact of Government policy on West Cumbria.  Thousands of people have been hit by the Bedroom Tax and thousands are forced to go to food banks to make ends meet.
Figures obtained by Jamie Reed, Member of Parliament for Copeland, show that more than half of all the people hit by the bedroom tax in Cumbria are in Copeland and Workington constituencies.  This comes as the Labour Party holds a debate in Parliament to end the unfair and unworkable tax.
The recent report by the Cumbrian Welfare Reform Commission revealed that there were not enough smaller properties throughout Cumbria to allow people to downsize, meaning there was no way to avoid the tax.
Labour have also forced a debate on the rising number of people relying on food banks.  Pressure on household budgets means more and more people are having to rely on food banks in order to feed their families.  Independent research recently showed that in the UK, 60% of food bank visits were due to problems with welfare payments.  The All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger in the United Kingdom revealed that over half of those visiting some food banks were in work.
In Copeland, in 2013/14, almost 2000 people, including over 650 children, used a food bank.  Analysis of child poverty levels in Copeland shows the areas with the highest food bank use also have the highest levels of child poverty:  1 in 3 children in Mirehouse Ward are living in poverty and 114 children from the ward were fed through a food bank.
There are even examples of huge increases in food bank usage in areas of low child poverty.  9% of children in Keswick live in poverty, but food bank usage has increased by an astonishing 631% between 2012/13.
Copeland MP and Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, Jamie Reed MP said:
“The true impact of the Government’s pernicious policies are now being felt across West Cumbria.
“Report after report have shown that the welfare policies pursued by the Government have pushed more and more working families into severe financial hardship.  Despite working hard and doing the right thing, families are forced to turn to pay day lenders and food banks, yet the Government does nothing to help.
“The number of people going to food banks is rocketing and mums are regularly skipping meals to ensure their children are fed.  The Tory and Liberal Democrat policies are making the situation worse and nothing is a clearer demonstration of this than the Bedroom Tax.  It is a cruel and unfair tax which is disproportionately hurting many vulnerable people.  Labour will repeal the Bedroom Tax.

“The problem is getting worse not better, yet the Government shrug their shoulders and claim that people are better off.  Times are incredibly tough and it is time the Government did something to help.”

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