Revealed: Labour did NOT pilot the Bedroom Tax – Mike Sivier

Thanks to Mike at Vox Political for debunking this myth.


The ‘infographic’ above is very popular among Scottish nationalists at the moment. In line with the wishes of the Scottish National Party (SNP), they are working hard to smear or discredit the Labour Party in order to undermine its support north of the border. There’s just one problem.

The claim is untrue.

The facts were revealed by a Labour councillor, Paul Bull, on Twitter today (December 30) after Yr Obdt Srvt spent yesterday evening arguing the matter with some particularly avid nationalists.

“I too was concerned by Malcolm Wicks’ comments in Hansard that seemed to suggest [a] Bedroom Tax pilot,” he tweeted. “So troubled that I decided to research what form that Bedroom Tax pilot took. That research … has even gone as far as the House of Commons Library.”

Then he wrote:


So this was a scheme that was announced by a Labour minister, certainly – but the Labour government of 2001 did not go through with it.

So much for the nationalists’ claims. “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive”, as someone once said. Or, more appropriately (perhaps), “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley”.

Cllr Bull continued: “However, back then Labour did do something to encourage social tenants to downsize, where many local authorities offered cash incentives to encourage [it], and this scheme was available to ALL social housing tenants, so not just those on Housing Benefit.”

He provided information on Exeter City Council’s schemes, which are available to read here and here. The second link is to a PDF file which may not open in some browsers.

He concludes: “Elements of [the] Exeter Council scheme [are] still in place but incentives are not so generous. But Exeter Council now employ a Downsizing Officer to assist social housing tenants who do want to move.”

The reality, it seems, is a long way away from the harsh brutality of the Coalition’s Bedroom Tax, with which the SNP and its supporters hoped to tar the Labour Party.

Next time anyone tries to tell you Labour had anything to do with the Bedroom Tax, point them to this article.

How can people trust the SNP when it launches lying smear campaigns like this?


See also: Debunked: More claims about LHA and the Bedroom Tax

9 thoughts on “Revealed: Labour did NOT pilot the Bedroom Tax – Mike Sivier

  1. They did bring in the Local Housing Allowance in place of HB in April 2008 which was, in effect, a bedroom tax for private renters. Be a Labour supporter, but not based on obfuscation. The Labour Party needs massive reform to return it to its core principles of public ownership, public provision and to be a party of the people, not of ‘responsible capitalism’. If campaigners like you are going to whitewash its past I can’t see much chance of that change happening.


    1. I’m a private renter. I was in 2009. The LHA capped private rents by using an average rent in each area to set levels of housing benefit. The number of bedrooms was irrelevant to that legislation. You could rent a house of any size, provided that the rent did not exceed the local area average. So no, not the same as bedroom tax at all.

      Thanks for your permission to be a Labour supporter, but I’ve never been one to need personal validation, because I inform myself and base my perspectives on research, evidence and careful analysis. In short, I’m practiced at telling shite from shinola. 🙂

      The bedroom tax itself was introduced by the Coalition last year, as part of their welfare ‘reforms’. That is what people should be addressing, rather than attacking and smearing the Labour Party and its supporters


    1. I do know that in 2011, the Tories did change the terms of it, and bedrooms became an issue, suddenly. In 2009 I had to privately rent, following losing my own home – long story, I got ill, couldn’t work, coulldn’t pay mortgage…

      In 2009, the council informed me that I was entitled to claim housing benefit for the 3 bedroomed terraced I had found. I moved in. In 2011, I was told that my sons, both then under 16, should share a room, and they deducted an amount from my benefit – effectively that IS a bedroom tax. But the Tories did that, as they changed the law for private renters in April 2011.


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