I’ve spoken to many people in Southampton who have told me that they are struggling to cope with the hated bedroom tax, introduced by the Tories and Liberal Democrats in Westminster. In the South alone over 33,000 people have been affected.
This is a policy that unfairly hits hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people, such as those with disabilities or who are carers, and it threatens to cost more than it saves which is why the next Labour government will abolish it.
The Liberal Democrats have repeatedly backed the Tories to keep the Bedroom Tax in place and have refused to join previous Labour attempts to scrap the policy. Yet today the Liberal Democrats joined me and other Labour MPs by voting against their own policy in Parliament.
Unfortunately this vote will not abolish the bedroom tax, as Labour will do if elected next year, but it is a step in the right direction and a glimmer of hope for many.
The Labour Party has been clear and consistent in its opposition to the Bedroom Tax. It is an unfair and unworkable policy that causes misery to hundreds of thousands of people by forcing them out of their homes, most of whom have nowhere else to move to.
I’m glad the Liberal Democrats voted with us today but sadly it’s come too late for the thousands of people who've been forced into debt as a result of the Bedroom Tax and thousands more who have been forced to rely on food banks to survive. The truth is you can’t trust a word that Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats say.
The only sure way to get the Bedroom Tax repealed will be to elect a Labour government next year.