Labour pledges to scrap the bedroom tax

Ed Miliband will promise tomorrow to scrap the "hated bedroom tax" if he becomes prime minister.

The Labour leader will promise to reverse the policy known officially as the "spare room subsidy" on the first day of his party conference in Brighton.

"We’ll scrap the bedroom tax by abolishing the shady schemes of tax loopholes for the privileged few which the Tories keep inventing," he will say.

Miliband will use his pledge to claim he is "leading a different Labour Party, a One Nation Labour Party, which listens to and will stand up for ordinary families."

Labour believe they can fund the change by closing tax loopholes in the construction industry, ending the government's 'shares for rights' scheme and raising taxes on hedge funds.

The Labour leader was put under pressure to pledge to scrap the bedroom tax, after a poll out today showed a growing majority now oppose it.

The Comres poll commissioned by the National Housing Federation found that 59% believe it should be abandoned, up from just 45% back in April.

Seventy-nine per cent of Labour voters were opposed to the benefit change along with 65% of Liberal Democrats and 34% of Conservatives.

The findings come two days after it was revealed that one in three council tenants hit by the benefit change have now fallen into arrears.

Fifty-thousand more people now face eviction since the bedroom tax was introduced according to research by the False Economy campaign.

The government were today urged to think again.

"The general public see that the bedroom tax is a disastrous policy which is causing real hardship for people up and down the country," National Housing Federation chief executive David Orr said.

"Families are spiralling into debt and with winter just around the corner they are facing terrible decisions of whether to pay the bedroom tax or cut back on essentials such as food and heating."

Labour have been hinting for some time that Miliband would pledge to repeal the bedroom tax.

Shadow work and pensions minister Liam Byrne told the National Housing Federation on Thursday that: "We're determined to see and find a way to get this dropped."

Nick Clegg is also under pressure to withdraw his support. Earlier this week, his party members defeated him on a vote on the issue at the Liberal Democrat conference.

The government remain committed to the policy.

A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions said they were "carefully monitoring the policy nationally" and would ensure that "extra funds to support vulnerable tenants are used well as these changes are introduced".