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Labour have been unsuccessful in an attempt to scrap the ‘bedroom tax’ after Liberal Democrat MPs failed to join them in voting against the policy.
The government defeated a motion from Ed Miliband’s party to abolish the spare room subsidy by a majority of 32, winning the vote 298 to 266.
The Liberal Democrats failed to support Labour despite pledging to abolish the policy earlier this year. Campaigners say the welfare reform has pushed many families into poverty, often because there is no smaller property for them to move to.
In a debate over the motion, Labour’s Geraint Davies accused the Tories of “ripping food out of the mouths of the poorest” and forcing people to rely on food banks.
Eilidh Whiteford, an SNP MP for Banff Buchan, said the government was “scapegoating” the most vulnerable for the problems in housing and that disabled people were on the “front line of the austerity cuts”.
Work and pensions minister Mark Harper said: “Today of all days, Labour would rather talk about anything but the positive jobs figures we are seeking – more people in work than ever before, up 590,000 on the year, and up 1.7 million since 2010.
“Labour have chosen their Opposition Day to have a debate that is contrived to scare people instead of welcoming the record employment figures.”
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