Council speaks up for those affected by welfare reforms

Midlothian Council last week took advantage of a visit by the Scotland Office minister to raise the plight of residents badly affected by recent welfare reform changes.

David Mundell MP, parliamentary under-secretary of state for Scotland,asked to visit the council as part of a national tour to assess the impact of the changes.

Owen Thompson, deputy leader, Midlothian Council, said: “This council is opposed to the imposition of the bedroom tax by the Westminster government but we have no choice over whether or not we implement these divisive changes.

“We’ve taken advantage of Mr Mundell’s request to visit us today to put our case most forcefully and directly on the impact of this on some of the most vulnerable members of our community. In the meantime, we are investigating whether or not we can introduce a policy where we refuse to evict anyone on the grounds of arrears caused by refusing to pay this bedroom tax.”

Midlothian Council agreed a motion at its last meeting condemning the imposition of the bedroom tax, also known as the under-occupancy charge,introduced by the Westminster government.

The council is particularly worried about the impact on people with disabilities, including people with mental health issues, and on children in families affected by the changes.