Friday, 15 March 2013

#sldconf STUC - Lib Dems claim to be fairer than Tories, so end Bedroom Tax

15 March 2013

Saturday 16 March 11.30am – 1.00pm West Park Conference Centre, Dundee
Amidst protests across the UK, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) will lobby Scottish Liberal Democrats for a change of policy on the Bedroom Tax.
STUC General Secretary Grahame Smith said:
“I have today written an open letter to Scottish Liberal Democrats calling for action to reverse the Bedroom Tax. 
The concessions announced this week go nowhere near far enough to mitigate this impending crisis. 
The Liberal Democrats consistently claim to have a much greater of social justice and fairness than the Conservatives. It is time for them to show it.”

Open Letter to Scottish Liberal Democrats

We are four days away from the fourth Coalition Government budget and by common consent the Liberal Democrats face a crisis, a drop in popular support matched only by the equal woes of the Conservative Party.

In Scotland for generations, the Liberal Democrats have held a particular place in the political landscape, electing a relatively large number of MPs to Westminster and sharing in Government for more than half of the years of existence of the Scottish Parliament, the creation of which your party played a proud role in.  To the extent that a progressive consensus has existed in Scotland, the Liberal Democrats have been seen by electors as one, amongst a number of parties representing that tradition.

That position is now at enormous risk.

As the economic policies of the Chancellor unwind with no growth and the general failure of austerity economics, changes in welfare policy are hitting some of the most vulnerable in Scottish society. 

The proposed cap on benefits is a cruel measure which will punish the less well-off whilst further reducing demand in the economy where it is needed most.  

Meanwhile disabled people around the country are desperately worried about the impact of various reforms on their way of life and TUC figures published earlier this week show that despite changes to tax thresholds an increasing number of children are expected to fall below the Minimum Income Standard.

STUC is lobbying your conference on Saturday 16th March to highlight the enormous injustice of the Bedroom Tax.  This measure - affecting those in and out of work and disproportionately impacting the lives of disabled people – is understood by most Scots to be wrong.  The Oxfam Humankind index shows that no factor is more important in people’s welfare and happiness than their home and environment.  We believe and trust that the Scottish people will not stand by while this injustice is delivered on their fellow citizens and that the very least that they will expect is that the Scottish Liberal Democrats will join them.

It is not too late to insist that the Bedroom Tax and other welfare reforms are reversed.

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