By a Newsnet reporter

Information on the rules surrounding the Bedroom Tax which David Cameron gave to MPs during Prime Minister’s questions has been directly contradicted in a letter from David Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform at the UK Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

Opposition parties and organisations representing people living with serious and incapacitating illness have described the UK government as “out of touch” with those who are suffering.

Earlier in the summer when asked at Prime Ministers Questions about the impact of the Bedroom Tax on people with serious and terminal illnesses, the UK’s Tory prime minister claimed:

“Anyone who needs to have a carer sleeping in another bedroom is exempt from the spare room subsidy.”

SNP MSP Christina McKelvie then wrote to the PM for clarification of this statement.  She received a response from Mr Freud, which directly contradicted the PM’s claim.  Formerly an investment banker, Mr Freud is a political appointee who sits in the House of Lords as Lord Freud.  He was given his seat in 2006 by the former Labour government after Tony Blair brought him into government to advise on the benefits system.  Mr Freud then switched his support to the Conservatives and was appointed as Minister for Welfare Reform by David Cameron.

When asked how the bedroom tax would affect sufferers of Motor Neurone Disease (MND), which often results in the death of the sufferer within a few years of diagnosis, Mr Freud explained that there are no plans to remove the threat of eviction for those with MND if they are living in properties with a spare room.

Mr Freud went on in the letter to say that those affected by conditions such as MND may wish to consider “taking in a lodger, finding work or increasing their hours of work” to escape Bedroom Tax eviction.

Lord Freud’s response is in direct contradiction to the Prime Minister’s remarks and reinforces the findings of MND Scotland of the unjust impact these reforms will have on the terminally ill.

Motor Neurone Disease is a neurological disorder which affects nerve cells controlling voluntary muscle activity including speaking, walking, swallowing, and general movement of the body.  The disease is generally progressive in nature, and causes increasingly debilitating disability and eventual death.  The cause of MND is unknown.  Half of those with the illness die within three or four years of diagnosis, the great majority of the remainder die within 10 years of diagnosis.

MND Scotland’s Chief Executive, Craig Stockton said:

“To ask those who are trying to live with a rapidly progressing, terminal illness, to take in a lodger or increase their hours of work, shows a complete lack of understanding by the minister of the impact that this life limiting condition can have.

“MND Scotland continues to call on the DWP to exempt from the bedroom tax those who are unable to share a bedroom with their spouse/partner due to an array of medical equipment necessary to keep them safe at night; and those who have had their homes significantly adapted to meet their needs.

“If not, local authorities will potentially be meeting the cost of their housing several times over – to adapt their homes in the first instance, provide them with a Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) to offset the loss of housing benefit or find them a smaller home that would need to be specially adapted all over again. The government needs to think again about how this reform is hitting those with conditions such as MND.”

Commenting, Ms McKelvie said:

“David Cameron has incorrectly advised the UK parliament on the rules surrounding evictions for people with terminal conditions and the unfair Bedroom Tax. The contradictory response I’ve received shows just how out of touch his Westminster Government is with those suffering as a result of his actions.

“The last thing somebody needs when they are terminally ill is the threat of being evicted – and this is exactly what the UK’s Bedroom Tax is doing.

“The audacity the UK government has to suggest that those suffering from MND must rent out a room in their house or face financial penalty is a draconian policy at best and is no burden that any person in such circumstances should have to bear.

“All Mr Cameron has displayed from his comments on the Bedroom Tax is that he lacks understanding and compassion, which is typical of the archaic Westminster system. The Prime Minister should apologise to the House of Commons and correct his error for the record.

“The SNP is the only party that has committed itself to abolishing the Bedroom Tax but to do that we need the powers of an independent Scotland that only a Yes vote in next year’s referendum will secure.

“An independent Scotland will have its own welfare policy– something which offers a real alternative to Westminster’s cuts agenda and which will be a major factor in motivating people to vote Yes in next year’s referendum.”

Beat The Bedroom Tax campaigners have begun a tour of Lib Dem seats in Scotland to highlight the role of the party in introducing welfare cuts, and calling on them to rethink.  The group will hold a march and rally at the Lib Dem party conference in Glasgow on September 14.


2013-09-03 19:22

Truly words fail me. Beyond inhuman, beneath contempt – come on Scotland we can do better than this!
2013-09-03 19:24

Luckily for those idiots in Westminster we are more civilized then the French or I fear the guillotines would have made an appearance long ago. I wonder if any of them have ever seen the inside of a church, there is certainly not one ounce of Christian compassion between any of them.
2013-09-03 19:25

This taking place in the 21st century in one of the richest nations of the world.

The Tories and their puppets the LibDems must be very proud of such progress.

I cannot put in words the disgust I feel about this attack on those in greatest need.
Saoghal Eile
2013-09-03 22:17

You missed out Labour who won’t rescind any tory policies. They have already shown they are willing to enforce the legislation in Scotland on those that have voted with faith for them for years.

2013-09-03 20:22

The quicker we are independent the better, who wants to be assocoiated with people who treat the disadvantaged with such distane.

A socially and economically just Scotland for all its citzens, must be the ambition of an independent Scotland.

Saor Scotland, and the quicker the better.
2013-09-03 21:52

Inhumane, callous and vicious, these people who contrived this vile tax should be in jail, period. Criminals, all of them!
2013-09-03 22:04

call me dave
2013-09-03 22:33

I shouldn’t be surprised ..But truthfully I am shocked!
There will be back-pedalling tomorrow no doubt.

Ruthie and Wullie must be asked to respond. Lamont and Ed should make their position clear.

Roll on 2014.
2013-09-03 22:38

The left hand doesn’t know ….

(The supposition being that they are both on the same body…)
2013-09-03 23:14

A leopard never changes it’s spots, (sorry to the leopard for the analogy), but the tories will never care about the poor, disabled, disadvantaged or terminally ill especially those who need support in extremely difficult and stressful times in their lives. Even more evil is their intent on demonising the poor, keeping people poor and in poverty and blaming them for it. Truly a disgrace to show no care at all for your own people like this. It will come back on them for sure, just have to look at Hogarth’s ‘Dance of Death’.
2013-09-03 23:26

“Reject the values and false morality that underlie these attitudes. A rat race is for rats. We’re not rats. We’re human beings. Reject the insidious pressures in society that would blunt your critical faculties to all that is happening around you, that would caution silence in the face of injustice lest you jeopardise your chances of promotion and self-advancement. This is how it starts and before you know where you are, you’re a fully paid-up member of the rat-pack. The price is too high. It entails the loss of your dignity and human spirit”

Jimmy Reid 1971

Can you just imagine what he’d say now?
2013-09-04 13:20


I have been on the receiving end of Westminster DWP compassion or lack of, after I suffered a stroke, caused by a brain haemorrhage. I was accused of not answering a question to which I was not asked, I was severely brain damaged at that time (May 2009) I was made to feel like a criminal. Westminster compassion is based on throwing a drowning person a brick. Bring on Independence and we (the Scottish people) can have a society that we can be proud off. Where all sections of society are treated with understanding and compassion.
2013-09-04 20:37


I asked “Can you just imagine what he’d say now?”

I didn’t expect an answer to that, but I think you just gave me it.

“Bring on Independence and we (the Scottish people) can have a society that we can be proud off. Where all sections of society are treated with understanding and compassion.”

I thank you.

I will continue to fight the de-humanisation being perpetrated upon us by westminster with every breath. What they are doing verges on evil.

As call me dave says in the next post, some areas in Glasgow are in a terrible state. So much for 30 years of british labour control. I look at Norway and weep for what could have been for Scotland had we had our independence.

We’ll win.

call me dave
2013-09-04 13:46

31% of Glasgow households are “workless” (not worthless), our largest Scottish city.

What has gone wrong over the last 40/50 years. What hope is there of regenerating industry / commerce and social cohesion.
Maybe Lamont ; Rennie; Ruthie and Salmond can help us.

Which one, who can we trust?…/……/…
call me dave
2013-09-04 17:07

Scottish Labour (Jackie Baillie)has proposed new laws to “protect” housing tenants from eviction under controversial UK government welfare changes.

The party said it would bring forward a backbench bill to mitigate against the spare room subsidy – called the “bedroom tax” by critics.

SNP councils have said they would halt the threat of evictions for those with a spare bedroom whose benefits are cut.

But Labour said a single, Scotland-wide approach was needed.
The most certain way is to vote YES.…/index.html
2013-09-04 18:00

These are the despicable policies that should be pointed out anyone intending in voting NO or those who are still undecided.

What I fear, however, is that there are a lot of people out there with good working class or middle class backgrounds who do not see this in their own lives – this kind of poverty is far removed from their lives and many see only how independence will affect ‘THEM’ and mostly that it will somehow affect them negatively. Yes – there are many selfish people out there in Scottish society that do not give a hee-haw for those living in deprivation – it’s all abouth THEM. They are doing ‘okay, thank you very much’ out of the union and do not see how things could be better for them AND those most in need in our society. I have to say I become very dismayed by such people.

YES Scotland.
2013-09-04 21:51

Take in a lodger or seek work?
Get yourself elected.
Open a ledger and claim expenses.

You must be logged-in in order to post a comment.