Cambridge MP Julian Huppert was one of the MPs that voted for a softening of the 'Bedroom Tax'
Last Friday 306 MPs in total voted for a second reading of the 'Affordable Homes Bill' – an attempt to soften the controversial changes to housing benefits. 231 voted against.
The legislation intends to water down the original benefit reform, which penalised households with spare bedrooms, by offering ‘exemptions’. These were for tenants who had no ‘reasonable offer’ of alternative accommodation, or who needed the extra room for medical reasons.
“This is a huge step forward.” Huppert said in press release. “It offers peace of mind to disabled people for whom a spare room is crucial and will make sure that no one is stuck in a position where they are forced to pay but cannot move.”
“I have been trying for some time to get the spare room subsidy measures improved while at the same time helping those families in Cambridge and around the country who are living in overcrowded conditions. It’s so important that we get the balance right.”
However, he has been criticised by his political opponents for not acting earlier. Huppert has voted for the bedroom tax 6 times previously.
Local Labour Councillor Daniel Ratcliffe, speaking to TCS, said ‘It is gratifying that this unworkable Act is beginning to unravel…[and] I applaud Julian for coming round to Labour's view.’ However ‘it is a shame that it took the prospect of losing the next General Election to change his mind.’
‘He and his Liberal colleagues have spent years supporting this and other punitive Tory legislation and they seem to think people won't remember when it comes to voting next year.’
The bill will now go to the committee stage, however it is currently not confirmed as law.