Monday, 3 February 2014


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.


  1. Well, it would effectively be a cut to the Scottish Budget, so maybe he'll approve of that!

    1. Depends, I suppose, on what Lord Fraud or his boss ,Dracula Voldermort, considers will do the most harm to anyone who isn't a Tory.

      One thing is for certain, they won't be giving the first thought to people who are pawning their possessions to that they can pay their rents.

  2. Yes, English tax-payers chose a UK government but they only have a limited choice of two, okay three, right-wing parties. Perhaps, following independence, things might change for the better for the English, Welsh and Northern Irish voters?

    1. Northern Ireland I can see getting some more change (I could see puting it in a similar state to the Channel Isles or Isle of Mann working out very well - independance in most things, but not in name to keep the protestants happy, they might have to house Trident though), England will probably keep going the way it's going, dragging Wales along with it into the pit of dispair.

    2. they might have to house Trident though)

      No the south would stop them as they are against all nuclear and the territorial waters of NI will be interesting as they are sitting on someone else's continental shelf which means a 12ml boundary limit.

    3. I assume, John, that they will carry on choosing the government in the way they always have. They could try to set up a party that wasn't the Tories or the other Tories, and fashion them into something that would represent the people... but I can't see it. Too may vested interests.

      The UK is Victorian. Even the poor people who were arrested for being so hungry that they stole out of date food thrown away in a rubbish skip were originally arrested under legislation dating from 1824.

      The country is a joke... I hear that there are Lords complaining that there are now not enough spaces in their dining rooms (because there are too many of them), being fed food that people wear tiaras to eat, and all for £10 a meal, because people who are sending their kids to school hungry are subsidising them... Jeeeez.

      Nothing will change it.

      The only thing I can see happening is that one day relatively soon NI will leave the Uk and join Eire.

      Looks like the poor old Welsh will have to have the nukes. Carwyn has volunteered in the spirit of the party of the working man. Bravo Carwyn.

      If not they will stick them in Kernow. They don't like it either, and Charlie would probably make even more money out of it.

  3. Looking at Jackie (Two dinners) Baillie's smiling bonce you'd have thought Labour had abolished the bedroom tax, when in truth half of them were marked absent in the Hansard, when the vote was taken to against it.

    Its about time Labour helped the SNP mitigate this heinous tax, and by god are they milking the applause for it, when in reality Labour oppose everything the SNP stands for. Considering the SNP stands for helping the people of Scotland, you've got to wonder what Labour stands for.

    It may also have slipped Miss Ballies considerable jowls, that before this break through many Labour led councils in Scotland were preparing to evict hard up tenants for non payment of the hated tax.

    1. Baillie is an opportunist.She seems to have no respect at all for her audience. She opens her mouth and says whatever is convenient to her to say.

      She tells fibs in parliament because it helps her arguments. Now no one who doesn't desperately need to believe her, actually does.

      It's a pity because I used to rate her as being one of the brighter of the dross that was left in Scotland when any of the decent ones had gone off to play with the big boys in the London parliament.

      Labour councils actually sent out eviction notices, and I seem to recall that one woman was actually evicted before her councillor got her rehoused, back in her own house.

  4. Shakespeare would have approved of Jackie's "well-fed look" but heaven knows what he would have made of Jim Murphy?

    1. You reckon Jackie will turn down her Baronessship unless they do something about the appalling service for tiara owners in the HoL?

      As for Jim, he is (as my big granny would say) "like a ninepenny rabbit" (no don't ask me, I've never worked it out) .

      I think he needs feeding. Bacon rolls and chip butties would be my prescription.

      I imagine Shakespeare would like Jim...'Cry God for Harry, England, and Saint George! One more down to the beach...'

      But Burns would have thought him one of the rogues!

  5. Hopefully, after independence, all Lords and Ladies will be told that, no matter what England thinks, their nobility stops at a few miles south of Gretna.

  6. The £20 million made available to councils is £20 million taken from the Scottish Government's annual budget which means that something else somewhere in Scotland is not going to happen as a consequence.

    I suspect that once Westminster gets a taste of the Scottish Government plugging the holes caused by Westminster's austerity policies that Westminster will dream up other austerity policy holes for the Scottish government to plug, thus reducing the Scottish budget by stealth.

  7. Actually the white paper does say that.

    It will be for the Uk to decide what role Scottish lords play in the life of the HoL, but they will have no place in government in Scotland, unless they are (as David Steele and George Foulkes were) elected as MSPs.

    I never use these people's titles unless I'm taking the Mick, as I think it's absolutely earth shatteringly ridiculous in the 21st century to be calling someone "lord" or "sir" or "lady"...

    I'd be so embarrassed to have that kind of title now. It just sounds so 19h century.

    1. Oh yes. That is very true M. This is far from being a good thing. I just think we have to do it. We can't have people chucked out of their houses because they can't afford them, and we haven't anything smaller to offer them.

      A the poster above says, if the council can't offer them anything else they will have to take private accommodation at far higher rent and that will cost more.

      I saw some headline today about some vast sum that this idiotic idea is costing. But at the end of the day, it's the cost in human misery that is appalling.

      You can't protect people from everything and nor should you, but top impose a fee or tax on something these people have no control over, and we don't have an alternative to offer, is just immoral.

      Still immoral is what this bunch of heartless millionaires do best.

      I totally agree, the extra £29 million had to be taken form something else, and the further £15 million will have to come from something else.


      No one wants this tax in Scotland apart from the one Tory and a 11 wooses who would vote for anything that brings a ministerial car.

  8. Tris

    As I noted previously I am against money being taken from the block grant to further alleviate this evil tax. I still think we are being stitched up no end and Labour are a part of it. As you know I worked in the field of homelessness for many years so am well aware of the hardship this brings but by continuing to go down this road of picking up the tab for Tory policies designed to hurt and Labours uselessness, we are at fist of seeing other policies change resulting in yet more money from the block grant.

    Labour, aided by the bias press in Scotland, will spin this to be a Labour success and an SNP we told you so. This does nothing to ensure that people wake up to the reality of life under the right of Tory and the red Tories and attacks on the poor.

    We could possibly look at other ways of helping people but ignoring political reality, no matter how painful, defeats the purpose Lethem fight and need for independence, not nice but true.


    1. Sorry for typos predictive text doing my head in on this tablet.


    2. Aye don';t worry about typos. I make them all the time. It's this keyboard I swear. All the letters keep moving about!!

      I know what you are saying Bruce, and you know more about this work than I do, but, as a layman, I just can't take the idea that people get into debt and there is nothing that they can do about it.

      If there were other homes for them to go to, heartless though it might be to uproot people and put them on the other side of the town, away from their work, or schools or places where they go, it would be understandable when we are in such a mess and WE ARE ALL IN IT TOGETHER!

      But we have no place to put them. There are no homes suitable in most towns, England or Scotland.

      That is evil. Just evil.

      Not perhaps as evil of course as some lordy blokey having to wait for 15 minutes to be seated for his subsidized meal in the house of the living dead, while his wife's tiara is losing it's lustre, but evil enough!

      Seriously I wish there were another way, but I can't think of it.

      And yes, Labour will try to take the credit for it...or at least some of Labour will. That woman, for example.

      But it's better that that they are sleeping on the streets...and one day people like her will get what she deserves, I guess.

    3. Tris

      I understand where you are coming from and apart from the most right wing Tory/Labour supporter no one likes to see the misery caused by an unfair tax that targets 80% of the disabled but there has to be another way around this, possibly re-designating rooms for carer's or medical equipment as storage if the law allows.

      However, this announcement means that the Scottish Government are now putting in £35 million to eliviate this tax, over five years that will amount to £175 million. Where does this money come from without the SNP getting beaten by a large stick. Local authorities are under pressure now, there are no more efficiency savings to make in most of them, the next stage is staff and that will just add to the housing bill, unemployment and the knock on effect to local economies.

      Do the Government cut health, education and policing, all of which leaves them open to accusations of cutting vital services from Labour and the continued mis-management of councils like Glasgow. I have never credited Labour with any brains but they have fluked a big stick via their partners the Tories with which to not only hammer the current SNP Government, who in the main have done a good job, but they will also have a stick by which to beat the independence debate with. Now I really don't want to see anyone getting hurt, I have a disabled family member who has the dreaded atos thing next week but by sheilding people from the politicial reality of our time, thus hurting people in other ares of the system and maybe they don't get seen, ensures that voters are not facing the facts of the country we now live in. I'm sorry but in the wider scheme of things that is a dangerous game and falls into the hands of the three tory parties. I totally appreciate that the SNP Government can't win and by aliviating the burden some may indeed vote for them but the chances are all they will see is the msm protraying this as a Labour victory and a victory for the union when neither can be further from the truth.

      I honestly feel that the SNP Government are being led down a well laid plan of underhanded political manipulation that will only get worse. I also don't think the Tories will allow Scotland to be exempt from the rules anyway as this will open the door from Wales and Northern Ireland thus undermining the whole welfare reform policy/attacks by the tories and they are not going to allow that, esp how it will look in the south of England to their core vote. They will look like cowards and backing down to the Scottish Government, I can't see that happening. The games these people play with peoples lives, it needs to change and the voters need to change it starting in May and in Sep.


    4. I know Bruce. There is no answer to it. Whatever they do it is going to be wrong.

      I see it looks like (according to CH) that Lord Fraud has said no.

  9. Replies
    1. Not a bad post at all... Thanks for putting it up here.

  10. Replies
    1. Jeez all that on top of an MPs salary and expenses. Nice life for Ex PMs and Ex politicians that forgot to stop claiming their wages..

  11. UK ministers brand UN report on social housing ‘Marxist diatribe’

    Never mind one rich oil barons view on indy is far more important according to the BBC and I believe the UK has turned down Nicola's request.

    1. I suspected that they might.

      I think Alex dealt with the matter nicely. The guy was expressing a personal opinion. (I thought that it was for Scots, but maybe I misunderstood Mr Cameron).

      He might have felt that anything was a good thing to talk about given the fact that otherwise people might have been asking about how the profits have dropped! Or what was happening in the Gulf of Mexico.

      They don't like international organisations criticising them. The UN is only Ok when Britain (America) is calling the shots...