THE SNP’s Westminster leader has written to Sir Keir Starmer urging him to clarify whether Labour is “secretly planning” to keep the Tory bedroom tax.

In the letter, Stephen Flynn has accused the Labour party of becoming a “carbon copy” of the Tories and keeping the “very worst of their cuts agenda”.

Labour has come under pressure in recent weeks after Starmer’s failure to commit to scrapping the two-child benefit cap due to uncertainty around the UK’s economic outlook.

The deduction, known as the bedroom tax, sees benefit claimants have their payments reduced if they have an unoccupied bedroom.

Earlier this month Labour shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves was asked during an interview whether the bedroom tax was staying.

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While she said full plans around benefits and taxation would be set out nearer the General Election, she said the “sad truth” is Labour in government would not be able to undo all the welfare policies it had voted against because of the “dire economic inheritance” it will face.

In his letter, Flynn said: “Barely a week has passed since the Labour Party faced a backlash over your shameful plans to keep the Tory two child cap, which has condemned 250,000 children to poverty.

“Now people in Scotland are asking what other cruel and damaging Tory policies are the Labour Party secretly planning to keep - and at what cost to families?

“One of those damaging policies is the Tory bedroom tax, which has punished the poorest families and deliberately made them poorer. It is a policy that has disproportionately affected Scotland, with around 100,000 Scottish families hit last year to the tune of more than £700 each.”

Flynn also said the SNP Government has spent hundreds of millions of pounds on mitigating the bedroom tax, which could have been spent on additional measures to reduce poverty in Scotland.

Figures published by the House of Commons Library last week revealed more than 500,000 households were impacted by the policy in the UK as of May last year, including 374,366 in England, 97,425 in Scotland and 32,497 in Wales.

Flynn added: “People in Scotland are wise to the fact that the pro-Brexit Labour Party is becoming a carbon copy of the Tories – keeping the very worst of their cuts agenda, and pushing thousands of Scottish children into poverty in the process.

“It’s increasingly clear the SNP is the only party offering real change with independence and real help with the cost of living”.