Socialist Worker

Tories left fuming after UN official says scrap the bedroom tax

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2370

UN official Raquel Rolnik in central London today, Wednesday

UN official Raquel Rolnik in central London today, Wednesday (Pic: Socialist Worker)

A senior United Nations (UN) official has said the Tories’ bedroom tax must be “suspended immediately”.

Raquel Rolnik, UN special rapporteur on housing, has just ended a two-week tour of Britain investigating the human right to adequate housing.

She reported that her preliminary findings indicate that “housing deprivation is worsening”.

Rolnik told Socialist Worker that the bedroom tax became a big issue in her investigation after she saw the effects of it.

She said, “Every council I visited, every group or charity I met, every meeting I had with organisations with a long tradition of helping and advising people on housing issues, people came with the issue of the bedroom tax.”

The Tories are furious. Tory party chair and former housing minister Grant Shapps said her comments were “an absolute disgrace”. He added that he didn’t see why he should accept criticism from “a woman from Brazil”.


A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesperson also implied the UN findings were based on anecdote, not hard facts and data.

But Rolnik told Socialist Worker that she collected “hundreds of written testimonies” from organisations and official information from local councils.

She reiterated that half her time in Britain was spent meeting with government officials, following the same mechanisms as any other UN mission.

Rolnik’s verdict has put the Tories under even more pressure over their hated bedroom tax and will boost campaigners across Britain.

Her final comment to Socialist Worker was a message to those campaigning against the bedroom tax. “Don’t stop struggling,” she said. “Housing is a human right.”

Two anti bedroom tax events will take place in Glasgow on Saturday 14 September:
  • Scottish Anti Bedroom Tax Federation lobby and rally - assemble from 11am at SECC
  • Anti Bedroom Tax rally - assemble11:30am, Glasgow Green

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