Alex Salmond has said he will support SNP Council's who adopt a no eviction policy for bedroom tax arrears. The SNP have also said that if Scotland vote independence they will kick out the bedroom tax.
I may be cynical, but, there is something amiss here.
- The Scottish Government oppose the tax;
- They accept a no eviction policy is desirable;
- They accept that it is possible to differentiate between bedroom tax arrears and other arrears.
So why won't they change the law so that its not possible to evict people who have bedroom tax arrears?
Its within the Scottish Parliament's power to do so.
The cynic in me believes they are playing a game. A game where Scotland's nine SNP councils will now implement a no bedroom tax eviction policy and this will be used to attack other councils that don't.
However, even if all Scotland's Council's act, this will not prevent tenants in housing associations facing evictions. Also we need to look at the substance of the decisions councils make. Dundee Council for example, has only said it won't evict those who genuinely cannot afford to pay the bedroom tax.
This means some council tenants in Dundee may indeed still face action to evict them for bedroom tax arrears, because Council bosses believe they can in actual fact afford to pay £12 from their £71 per week. Many tenants may be deemed to not be trying hard enough.
The Scottish people are being failed. They are being failed by the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Government and many Scottish politicians who will not take a stand to support their constituents.
This is despite nearly 5,000 people signing the petition calling for the law to be changed (almost as many who responded to the national conversation) and many civic Scotland organisations supporting the call also, including Money Advice Scotland, Shelter, Oxfam and the STUC.
Maybe its just me, but this is a depressing situation and its hard not to be cynical about the calls by the Scottish Government for more powers. If the Scottish Government won't listen to the Scottish people, why should they listen to them.