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PMQs: Ed Miliband’s ‘bedroom tax’ attacks ignore the facts

6 February 2013

12:58 PM

6 February 2013

12:58 PM

At a particularly unedifying PMQs today, one Labour MP even suggested that ministers need cognitive behavioural therapy. The cause of all this rancour: the so-called ‘bedroom tax’.

Now, the ‘bedroom tax’ is not actually a tax. Rather, it is a reduction in the amount of housing benefit paid to those who — according to the local authority — have spare capacity in their homes. If the Labour leadership genuinely does not grasp this distinction, then this country is in worse trouble than we thought.

Ed Miliband peppered Cameron with questions about difficult cases. It was an effective debating tactic as there was little Cameron could say without knowing all the details. Miliband also had one biting one-liner, joking that Cameron shouldn’t get so ‘het up as he has nearly half his parliamentary party behind him’. The jibe drew a few wry smiles from the Tory benches.

But, overall, I suspect that the Tories will be happy to fight on welfare. Labour’s refusal to back the benefit cap has made them vulnerable on this issue.

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