West Dunbartonshire councillors have reaffirmed their opposition to Tory policies including the bedroom tax and two child benefit cap, as they warned of a ‘lack of funding’ from Holyrood.

During Wednesday’s full council meeting a motion was brought before elected members asking them to oppose UK government policies including the two child benefit cap and rape clause, the bedroom tax, real term reductions in statutory sick pay and Scotland’s exit from the EU.

The Bedroom Tax, introduced by Westminster, means that people living in a housing association or council property will receive less in housing benefit or their universal credit claim if they have one or more spare bedrooms.

While the two child benefit cap and rape clause prevents parents from claiming universal credit or child tax credit for a third or additional child born after April 2017 with an exception to children conceived due to rape or coercion.

An amendment was also presented to councillors by Labour leader Martin Rooney which agreed that the council would continue to oppose the “unfair” conditions attached to the universal credit and also “condemned” the Scottish Government’s failure to fully fund a fair pay award for local government.

The initial motion brought forward by SNP councillor Jonathon McColl, stated that the policies being imposed by Westminster were pushing families in West Dunbartonshire into poverty and costing the Scottish Government hundreds of millions of pounds to mitigate the negative impact of them.

It asked the council leader to write to the UK Prime Minister to voice the council’s opposition to the policies and urge him to adopt an economic approach that invests in public services.  Councillor McColl said: “If we look at just the bedroom tax, we find that the Scottish Government has since 2019 given over £251 million across Scotland to mitigate that particular nastiness from the Tories.

“In West Dunbartonshire that figure is £8.8 million and would have impacted 1271 of our constituents if the government hadn’t stepped in and mitigated the cruelty coming from Westminster.

“The annual UK government benefit cap for Scotland is currently £14,753 for a single person and £20,200 for a family.

“This motion is essentially reaffirming the position that the council has taken before given that we are coming up to a UK election.”

The amendment was then presented to the full council.

It read: “The council notes the economic irresponsibility of successive Tory governments which has left households facing higher mortgage rates, increased energy bills and inflation outstripping salaries.

“Local governments play a crucial role in services which support families, communities, building resilience and prioritising economic development.

“Council therefore also condemns the decision of the SNP government at Holyrood to multiply the austerity that is passed down to local authorities including the cumulative £6 billion cut to core local government budgets.”

The amendment also raised concerns about the Scottish Government budget which has grown by 8.3% “in real terms” compared to just 4.3% for the local authority.  It went on: “The council is therefore concerned that the SNP proposals to disproportionately raise council tax in the higher bands will hit 80,000 low income households and many more families who are already under pressure due to the cost of living.

“The council recognises that the proposals of the UK Labour opposition would represent real change from the last ten years of Tory government and welcomes Labour’s plans to stabilise and make the party the fastest growing in the G7, to reform universal credit, to invest in clean energy and deliver a new deal for working places that will ban zero hours contracts.

Speaking on his amendment councillor Rooney said: “I am pleased to note the motion and the amendment continue to oppose the bedroom tax, which was introduced in 2012 and the two child benefit cap including the rape clause.

“None of these benefits are the responsibility of the council, but they affect individuals and families and we will oppose them. 

“Irrespective of the outcome of the debate, I will write letters to political leaders outlining our opposition to damaging Tory and SNP government policies.”

Following the debate the majority of councillors voted through the amendment which means the leader will now write to the First Minister, calling on him to deliver a fair funding settlement for local government and write to the Prime Minister to condemn the economic damage caused by the government.