21 September 2013
The Green Party has welcomed the Labour Party’s long-overdue pledge to abolish the Bedroom Tax – provided this is a promise they intend to honour if elected.
But its Deputy Leader Will Duckworth has warned Labour that one small step forward does not make it a credible, or desirable, alternative to the Coalition’s divisive, disastrous ideologically-driven economic mismanagement.
Until today, the Green Party was the only national political party to oppose the Bedroom Tax.
And although Labour controls councils across the UK, Brighton and Hove City Council – the only one run by a Green administration – remains the only one in the country which refuses to evict people penalised by the government’s regressive, spiteful, tax.
At last weekend’s Green Party Conference, Deputy Leader Will Duckworth re-stated the Party’s opposition to the tax, which was today echoed by Labour Leader Ed Miliband.
Cllr Duckworth said: ‘Of course, we could ask Labour ‘what took you so long?’ but in fact we’d rather welcome them to the commonsense, common decency and common good approach of the Green Party.
‘But Mr Miliband will no doubt be aware that people across the country have reason to suspect Labour may not keep its promises if elected: Nearly three in five people know this tax is wrong. They also know only the Green Party stood against it from the start, and that Labour has not always carried out the promises it has made to the electorate.
‘I hope Mr Miliband will ensure that his Party remains firmly against this tax.’
Labour plans to raise the £470m necessary to reverse the tax by closing tax loopholes in the construction industry and reversing the Coalition’s £150m tax cut for hedge funds.
But Cllr Duckworth argued that the approach was wrong. He said: ‘We’re pleased Ed Miliband has realised that tax loopholes for big business and tax breaks for the rich are bad governance.
‘We can only hope he finally sees sense and joins us in committing to a 50 per cent income tax on incomes higher than £100,000. That has been Green Party policy since 2010, and will raise the country £2.3bn per year.
‘But in the Green Party we know what the UK needs is more than just the tinkering around the edges Labour is currently flirting with.
‘The housing benefit system is currently no more than the payment of taxpayers’ money – my money and yours – to private landlords. Pouring our money into their pockets. Instead, we need to ensure a significant amount of social housing is owned by the people, rather than private firms. In the UK, there are two million individuals and families – up to seven million people – without a decent place to live. That’s a shocking figure. And while Labour’s late awakening is welcome, it doesn’t come close to solving that problem.’