We are dependent on the good offices of Lord Freud
I was pleased to see this morning that the Daily Record has reported that the Bedroom tax is done and dusted in Scotland, and bemused to see that Ms Baillie was taking the credit for it.
Whoever gets the credit is of little import to me and I've already praised Iain Gray for saying that Labour would work with the government to try to find a way around it. The important thing is that it goes.
It seems though that the Record may have been a little previous in its celebration.
All Social Security matters remain reserved to Westminster, and the Scottish government is not allowed to interfere. The British government allows each council a certain amount of funding from its social security budget to alleviate the worst cases of hardship.
This is not a benefit to which people are, as of right, entitled. It is a discretionary payment which councils are free to use. The councils can, if they wish, add to that payment from London.
The law states that councils may, for every pound supplied by Westminster, add a further £2.50 of their own money for every pound given by the UK government.
The Scottish government has no authority in this matter, but does supply most of the money which fund Scottish local authorities. It has made £20 million available to councils to help them fund relief (ie 250% of what the London government has provided) so that the councils have the funds to do the necessary.
The Scottish government cannot add to this £20 million. It would be illegal.
|The home of the aristo who can allow us to rid |
Scotland of the bedroom Tax. A few spare rooms there!
The Deputy First Minister, it appears, has been obliged to write to an unelected aristocrat millionaire Tory, not known for his graciousness towards the lower classes, to ask him if he would be kind enough to extend the amount allowed to councils to relieve the tax completely. The Scottish government will find this money and pass it to the councils.
The question is, or questions are, will the unelected fatcat aristocratic minister be inclined to allow this to happen over the entire UK, basically getting rid of the bedroom tax altogether?
Or will he allow it only in Scotland, because there is a source of funding which can be used to undermine the punishment of the poor upon which his government is intent?
Or will he simply say "no"?
That would be...No, you cannot undermine our social security programme which is designed to free up larger council houses for people who have larger families, because no one, not the UK government and not the Scottish government, has build enough over the last 30 years.
There is a better explanation of this here, by a man with legal qualifications, Lallands Peat Worrier.
He is dubious that the nobleman will be inclined to be generous to the Scots.
I wonder if the noble lord will be instructed by his seniors (although clearly not betters) to be so inclined. After all, it might buy the No side some votes to excuse Scots from the Bedroom Tax granted by a gracious and generous UK government.
On the other hand, the praise would almost certainly go to Labour and the SNP for working together. The Tories would get none of it. Scottish Tories like the tax and haven't spoken out against it.
And, of course, it would be another axe for the English taxpayer to grind, that Scots didn't have this tax imposed upon them, while in England people are pawning their possessions to pay for the Tory's (and Liberal's, because we tend to forget that they are there) assault on the very poorest.
And who elects the UK government? Yep, English taxpayers.
Let's not celebrate yet.