Nick Clegg's promise of bedroom tax review is a 'sham,' says Harriet Harman

Criticism comes as it emerges evaluation will take two years and will not include public consultation

Nick Clegg’s promise of a review into the controversial so-called 'bedroom tax' was labelled a “sham” by Harriet Harman today after it emerged it will not be complete until late 2015 and will not hear from the public.

Labour will hold a Commons debate this week on the controversial removal of what the Coalition describes as the “spare room subsidy”. Ms Harman, Labour’s deputy leader, said a report of the situation in her own constituency, Camberwell and Peckham, found that the majority of housing was not suitable for people to move into, with just 4 per cent of people able to move into smaller properties.

Last month the Deputy Prime Minister told Ms Harman in the Commons that a review would be carried out into the 'bedroom tax', saying: “To be honest, lots of wildly different figures have been cited about the policy’s impact. That is why we are commissioning independent research to understand its impact. I suspect that it varies enormously between one part of the country and another, and one local authority and another.”

But a parliamentary written answer from Esther McVey, the employment minister, has revealed that the evaluation will take two years, with a final report published in late 2015 – months after the next election is held. Ms McVey said in her answer: A public consultation is not being undertaken as part of this research.”

Ms Harman’s report into Camberwell and Peckham shows that 76 per cent of her constituents affected by the tax are unemployed and 83 per cent are single parents. Just 4 per cent have the option to move to a smaller property. The policy has cost Southwark Council more than half a million pounds to administer.

Ms Harman said: “What is the point of commissioning a review that will take more than two years to report and which will not hear views from the public in an open, transparent manner?

“They should have done the research before the bedroom tax was imposed, not two years after it has been inflicting hardship and unfairness.

“People who are being unfairly hit by the bedroom tax need it to be abolished now – they cannot afford to wait until this report has been published in 2015.

“The bedroom tax is cruel, unfair and unworkable and if Nick Clegg really wants to help, he should vote with Labour on Tuesday.”

The bedroom tax reduces housing benefit for people of working age deemed to be living in homes with spare rooms. But the policy, introduced in April, has been attacked for targeting disabled and single parents who have joint custody of their children but are not classed as the main carer.

Yet a poll by Ipsos Mori last week found that 54 per cent of people regarded the bedroom tax as “fair” if people have more bedrooms than they need.

The Government insists it needs to radically reduce the welfare bill and free up space on the housing waiting list.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea