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Scottish bedroom tax victims argue over repayment method

SCOTTISH bedroom tax victims awaiting financial relief remained in the dark yesterday as MPs traded barbs with the Scottish government over how the cash would be paid. 

Outcry over the hated housing policy has forced Con-Dem ministers to raise the Scottish government’s cap on spending for “discretionary housing payments.”

The £50 million-a-year measure is expected to effectively end sanctions for tenants and housing associations in Scotland at Holyrood’s expense.

But the Scottish government has yet to announce details of how it will allocate the spending, prompting yesterday’s plea from the Commons Scottish affairs committee.

Chairman Ian Davidson told the Morning Star it was vital that any spending covered both last year’s levies and compensation for those who had “scrimped and saved.”

“We don’t just simply say that all bedroom tax arrears should be written off, because those who borrowed money from loan companies or family to pay it wouldn’t get their money back,” he said.

“It’s a question of equity.”

The Labour MP said he did not see any reason why the Scottish government could not cover the costs “in perpetuity.”

“This Tory government’s policies being mitigated by the Scottish government’s budget is a textbook example of devolution in action,” he said.

But the SNP would not say yesterday whether they intended to repay tenants who had already coughed up the cash and branded the recommendations a “cack-handed attack” on the Scottish government.

“Only with a Yes vote will we finally be able to get rid of the unjust bedroom tax and have a welfare state that reflects the views and votes of the people of Scotland,” a spokesman said.

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