Revealed: Labour did NOT pilot the Bedroom Tax


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?

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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  1. Rupert Mitchell (@rupert_rrl) December 30, 2014 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    A very interesting and enlightening article and one which, no doubt, the Conservatives will chose to ignore. My main concern is for those couples or families having to support a sick or disabled person (especially someone with a psychological disorder) and who often suffer sleepless nights due to not having a bedroom of their own.

  2. Noctilu Centish (@Centish) December 30, 2014 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    This from the man who uses his own, and Kitty Jones blogs as proof of Labours greatness?

    How about the Labour smear that the SNP will support the Tories as posted laughably on their website just the other day.

    OR the fact that Slab/Lab have been in cahoots with the Tories all through the referendum campaign.

    I think you’ve caught a bit of Jonesitis in your attacks on the SNP. Her hatred of the SNP is as palpable as Slabs. :-D

    • Mike Sivier December 30, 2014 at 1:34 pm - Reply

      You should research your claims.
      This blog contains my own opinions, based on facts. If you don’t like it, don’t read it – it’s that simple.
      The “Labour smear” you mention is a news story based on facts that has been published in the Scotsman and Daily Record newspapers. I know some people on the social media have already said they wouldn’t trust these sources but newspapers have to be sure of their facts or face possible libel proceedings, especially in cases like this. As a news reporter of 20 years’ experience I think these reports are trustworthy.
      Labour and Scottish Labour have NEVER been “in cahoots” with the Tories. The referendum campaign was to keep the United Kingdom together and is not an indicator of any kind of alliance between the two. You’d have to be really, REALLY stupid to believe that. I mean deeply dense.
      Nobody here hates the SNP. I merely comment on its attacks on its political opponents – and on the rabid nature of its supporters’ attacks on people – and blog sites – they see as the enemy.

      • Kaybrannigan December 30, 2014 at 4:03 pm - Reply

        Find myself disagreeing with you on this ! Scottish Labour and Lib Dem’s were a No Show ,they could have defeated the Coalition ,

        • Mike Sivier December 30, 2014 at 4:47 pm - Reply

          Are you sure we’re all discussing the same vote?

      • Pam Sampson December 30, 2014 at 5:06 pm - Reply

        well said Mike. sick of hearing this ‘Labour in cahoots with the Tories’ rubbish!

      • kittysjones December 31, 2014 at 11:05 am - Reply

        “This from the man who uses his own, and Kitty Jones blogs as proof of Labours greatness?
        How about the Labour smear that the SNP will support the Tories as posted laughably on their website just the other day.
        OR the fact that Slab/Lab have been in cahoots with the Tories all through the referendum campaign.
        I think you’ve caught a bit of Jonesitis in your attacks on the SNP. Her hatred of the SNP is as palpable as Slabs. :-DI haven’t written a single blog about the SNP”

        1. Any posts I make about Labour are always based on evidence, which I hyperlink onto each article, as does Mike.

        2. I have never written an article about the SNP.

        3. Labour are internationalists, as are the Communist and Socialist parties, hence they rejected the nationalistic underpinnings of independence. To claim that is being in ‘cahoots’ with the Tories is shameful barrel-scraping.

    • wrjones2012 December 30, 2014 at 5:41 pm - Reply

      Yes Mike I was also engaged in berating SNP supporters yesterday on Twitter,mainly over the fact that the SNP are apparently the only Party that has a Star.Chamber for vetting Election Candidates.The trouble is though they then go on to reject the

  3. HomerJS December 30, 2014 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    I think that rather than hide or dismiss the so called pilot, Labour should actually use it to show the difference between an incentives scheme and the bedroom tax. There is nothing wrong with people downsizing, and there are potential benefits for all parties. What is wrong is forcing people to move, punishing them – even when they have nowhere to go, and a lack of recognition or empathy towards not just the emotional costs of moving, but also the actual money required. An incentives scheme which covers the cost of moving, including say carpets/redecorating, would be a much nicer way of achieving the objective, and without any of the compulsion and nastiness. Of course it is the Tory way to be nasty. They just seem to get so much enjoyment out of it.

    • Mike Sivier December 30, 2014 at 1:58 pm - Reply

      I think you’re confusing two things.
      Labour never ran the pilot scheme that so many Scottish nationalists want you to believe existed. It did not take place.
      The incentive scheme run by Exeter City Council is a separate scheme that took place at a local level. It is possible that others took place elsewhere in the UK as well.
      Apart from that confusion, I reckon you’re right in everything you say.

  4. Dale Latimer December 30, 2014 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    No, they didn’t pilot the Bedroom Tax, but they DID introduce the LHA, later bastardized by the tories, effectively the Bedroom Tax for private renters. But we’re not allowed to talk about that are we?

  5. eddie December 30, 2014 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    So, you provide clear evidence of labout implementing a pilot version of the bedroom tax, and claim it the opposite of the labour party implementing a pilot version of the bedroom tax. FFS?! Typical labour, eh?

    • Mike Sivier December 30, 2014 at 3:16 pm - Reply

      But you appear to be a typical detractor of Labour – misreading the article and claiming it says something it doesn’t.
      Try reading it again. Bear in mind: The ‘infographic’ at the top is a lie.

  6. jim December 30, 2014 at 3:07 pm - Reply

    I hate the snp being the reason they tried to break up the uk and I hated them for that they have left a split scotland and trying for another referendum instead of concentrating on NHS education policing and they hate the truth being told to them they’re as bad as their tory friends and it was an interesting article which I presume the SNP will keep quiet.

    • Mike Sivier December 30, 2014 at 3:20 pm - Reply

      They’ll try to suppress it or rubbish it, yes.

  7. jess December 30, 2014 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    With respect, Mike

    I would suggest that you have a good look at the posting histories of those who claim to be ‘snp’

    The kippers have adopted a ‘strategy’ of pretending to be ‘green’, snp. or ‘plaid’ when using social media lately.

    Yet, when you look at the arguments they offer, its nothing but regurgitations from the heil or excess, neither of which are snp vehicles.

    The snp, from its foundation, has been mostly left of centre, and has mostly avoided using smears. Anyone who argues, on its behalf, outwith such parameters is not an snp’er.

    Its going to be a dirty election campaign that the tories lose, again.

    • Mike Sivier December 30, 2014 at 4:46 pm - Reply

      I literally don’t have the time to check people’s posting histories, though. The folk on Twitter last night seemed extremely Scottish to me, and there were no mentions of the two papers to which you refer.

      • jess December 30, 2014 at 5:32 pm - Reply

        Not being privy, to the conversations, Mike, I am in no place to comment on them.

        Maybe they didn’t attribute their remarks to the two rags in question, but the basic arguments peddled by these ‘apologies’ for newspapers are familiar enough

        But I have seen ‘professed snp’ers’ raising the public sector workers industrial disputes of ’79 (which the snp supported and participated in) as an ‘issue’ to bash labour

        And people urging folk to ‘vote green’ and in separate posts spreading nonsense about migrants, which is not part of the greens’ platform.

        I agree with you that a second term for the present bunch of sociopaths would be a disaster for those they have already attacked for the last few years.

        I think that Milliband is a much better leader of his party than that clown Cameron is of his.

        But it will be a dirty election, full of smears against labour. And the kippers love that sort of mud-slinging, hoping that they can squeeze into any gap created by it.

        Another of their favourite dodges at the moment is to pretend they are the ‘english’ version of the snp. They are not, and never will be.

        Social democracy is not the same as xenophobia

        • Mike Sivier December 30, 2014 at 8:13 pm - Reply

          Well I think your warning comes at exactly the right time.
          Let’s all be vigilant against these Kippers in different clothing.

      • kittysjones December 31, 2014 at 11:54 am - Reply

        The comment about Ukip supporters posing to troll sites is an interesting comment. I’m not sure, though, why they would do that, endorsing SNP and green policies, for example. But I suppose creating division could be an ultimate aim.

        I think this is going to be an interesting year, anyway. Hang on to your hats, truths and facts, it’s going to get very bumpy.

      • jess December 31, 2014 at 4:24 pm - Reply

        Its not that they ‘endorse’ snp, plaid or green policies, they simply pose as adherents, whilst pushing their own agenda.

        I’ll be happy to link to examples if you like, but they are prevalent in both the Guardian and Herald comment sections

        As kitty says; ‘an interesting year’

  8. chopale December 30, 2014 at 3:54 pm - Reply

    Hi’ mike. Plastered it on F.B. hope it reaches north of the border?.

  9. jim December 30, 2014 at 4:22 pm - Reply

    if you lie often and frequently enough they will believe it – eventually – every lie so far has worked for Cameron

    • Mike Sivier December 30, 2014 at 4:48 pm - Reply

      I fear you may be correct as far as the masses are concerned. Thinking people take a different view but there are so few of us.

      • Joan Edington December 30, 2014 at 5:15 pm - Reply

        As an SNP or Labour voter depending on the election and circumstances, I am just awaiting the joy of spending a belated Christmas dinner with my virulently Tory brother. My poor husband is waiting for the first blows.

        • Mike Sivier December 30, 2014 at 8:14 pm - Reply

          Avoid discussing politics?

  10. paulrutherford8 December 30, 2014 at 11:21 pm - Reply

    If my memory serves me correctly, the infographic was almost certainly first ‘tweeted’ by a few tory-biased twitter accounts in or around November last year, just after the Bedroom Tax vote on 12/11/2013. [Hello, Mr Crosby??]

    It was very quickly picked up and since tweeted with monotonous regularity to this day by a select group of hardcore Ukip [aka Tories in disguise], accounts. One prime example, and contender for being the first of these to tweet it, is a certain Roger Da Costa [??] aka @rog_ukip.

    I can’t remember many SNP supporters tweeting the aforementioned until possibly either just before or after the Scottish referendum.yes vote was lost. I was actually and genuinely quite shocked when [alleged], SNP supporters began tweeting it. It may well have been ‘Wings Over Scotland’ [ based in Bath I believe and *very* politically ‘biased’ ]

    Perhaps misguidedly, I seem to have a propensity to become embroiled in ‘arguments’ on twitter whenever I see the infographic. Scottish accounts are definitely the ones who get the nastiest. They also keep quoting that 47 Labour MPs “couldn’t be bothered” to vote on 12/11/2013, suggesting that if these MPs *had* attended the vote, Bedroom Tax would have been scrapped… despite the fact that they were ‘paired’, which means voting intentions clearly stated, *and* the fact that 83 Tory MPs and 23 LibDem MPs also didn’t attend the vote.

    It seems that even simple mathematic skills evade [some of ?] these SNP, Ukip and Tory account-holders who are unable to understand that Labour cannot win *any* vote in HoC without the LibDem support… and as for the truth being of any importance…

    • Mike Sivier December 31, 2014 at 12:17 am - Reply

      I had one such conversation (if you can call it that) about the paired vote only yesterday (Tuesday). Your conclusions are the same as mine.

      • jess December 31, 2014 at 2:07 am - Reply

        Paul’s explanation makes a lot of sense to me, despite my earlier disclaimer

        So I’ll doff my hat to you too, Mike

        Long time supporters of the snp would apologise for the use of tory and kipper infographics by their newer adherents

        They would say that they have no place in the party’s scheme of things

        (I’m not a member by the way)

        And there are no excuses for their use

        The idea that the snp would ‘get into bed’ with the tories is laughable, though. It would rend the party into shreds

        I hope that suffices

        And with a bit of luck the coalition will be gone after May

    • Pam Sampson December 31, 2014 at 11:37 am - Reply

      Exactly Paul! Rather sick of SNP voters spouting this ’47 Labour MP’s’ nonsense. They don’t seem to ‘get’ the fact that it made no difference to the result – or do they? Their hatred for Labour, for wanting to keep our Union together, knows no bounds! Wonder how they will feel if the Tories get in again next May!

      • paulrutherford8 December 31, 2014 at 3:29 pm - Reply

        I keep on telling them they run the serious risk of returning this unelected shambles to power, and personally, I’m not convinced that the SNP wouldn’t do a deal with the Tories to go into a coalition with them… deceived by promises of how that would ‘benefit’ Scotland.

        I still think ukip are a tory idea, designed to nick the average Sun reader’s vote from Labour.

        I’m also not alone in thinking there’s a distinct possibility that the tories may try to change the law and prevent any further attempts to devolve any part of the UK. After all, as the tories will see it, the Scots voted against leaving the ‘Union’.

        As many have said… things are going to get nasty very soon. Fight fire with fire I say ;)

  11. kittysjones December 31, 2014 at 11:59 am - Reply

    Excellent work, Mike.

    • Mike Sivier December 31, 2014 at 12:16 pm - Reply

      Thanks. I’m very grateful to Cllr Bull – he did the work really.

  12. jess December 31, 2014 at 4:38 pm - Reply

    Before someone else points it out, Camden, in London also offer ‘help’ to social tenants who want to move to a smaller place.

    But the emphasis is on ‘help’ not penalties if someone doesn’t wish to do so

    Perhaps that is the choice facing voters at the next election

    A party that offers help to people who have problems, or one that delights in sticking a boot into them?

  13. John Ray January 7, 2015 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    Why are care homes required to provide a Bedroom of 12 Sq metres(129 Sq feet) in order to meet current regulations,must also be en-suite,yet most social housing does not even come close but are considered a bedroom?

    • Mike Sivier January 7, 2015 at 6:07 pm - Reply

      Good question, and one that I personally haven’t heard before.
      I suppose the quick and simple answer is that the bedroom tax is a back-of-a-fag-packet policy that never had any serious thought applied to it before it was put into practise, the reason for this being that the Tories who dreamed it up couldn’t care less about any inconsistencies as long as they are hitting the poor where it hurts and draining money out into the pockets of the rich.

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