Why the SNP won’t remove the threat of eviction
Margaret Burgess, Scotland's Housing Minister, has said she will not prevent Bedroom Tax evictions.
The reason: she doesn't believe the cuts will result in evictions.
If that's true then why not just remove the threat of eviction from those affected by them?
The reason why she won't is simple: neither the SNP or Margaret Burgess want the threat of eviction to be taken off the table. They don't want benefit claimants to decide whether they should eat, pay the heating or pay the £12 per week from their other benefits towards their rent.
And that's the brutal truth of these cuts and the SNPs unwillingness to remove the threat of eviction. Some will be faced with evictions, but many instead will voluntarily disconnect their gas or electricity or go hungry and this is in a country where already one in six children go hungry according to Save the Children Scotland.
So in a nutshell, the real reasons why section 16 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 will not be amended as proposed by Govan Law Centre is the threat of eviction is too important.
These cuts may be made in Westminster, but they are going to be enforced in Scotland using Scottish laws and the SNP know this, as does Margaret Burgess, an ex Citizen Advice Bureau Manager of 20 years from East Ayrshire.
Ultimately, this is the true shame of the SNPs inaction to date. They understand exactly what they are doing, or not as the case is, and the Minister has the experience to know exactly what she is doing.
This inaction would be more understandable if other action had been taken, such as proposed by Shelter, like making £50 million available in the next year to compensate social landlords, but none is being taken.
It's certainly possible action could be taken.
Already the SNP have found £40 million to protect Scots from 10% cuts to Council Tax Benefit. Would this money not be better spent protecting the more vulnerable from housing benefit cuts? It may still mean people would accrue debts, but not the type that could leave them on the street.
These are indeed difficult times and difficult decisions have to be made. Unfortunately, the SNP don't appear able to make those decisions, or if they can, they are making the wrong ones.
In the long run people will blame the Tories for the Bedroom Tax, but I suspect they will also blame the SNP and when they are evicted in Scottish courts using Scottish laws, it will be hard not to see their point.