Campaigners protest Bedroom Tax as “vilification of the poor”

Bedroom Tax protesters in the rain outside Croydon Town Hall today

Bedroom Tax protesters in the rain outside Croydon Town Hall today

More than 60 protesters braved pouring rain to protest against the Bedroom Tax outside Croydon Town Hall today.

The protest was one of more than 50 demonstrations held concurrently across the country to oppose the measure that will mean that anyone living in a council or housing association home and deemed to have a “spare” bedroom will lose nearly £800 a year in reduced housing benefit.

From April 1, nearly 3,000 households in Croydon will be hit by the bedroom tax, making them £15.31 per week worse off. That rises to £27.33 worse off if they are deemed to have two spare bedrooms.

Around two-thirds of those affected will be disabled people, and activists were in attendance from Disabled People Against Cuts and Croydon Mental Health Forum.

The leader of the Labour group on Croydon Council, Tony Newman, condemned the Bedroom Tax as part of a campaign of vilification of the poor. He also argued that an incoming Labour government must prioritise the building of new council housing.

Croydon Council already predicts that homelessness in the borough will increase due to the attacks on welfare. Aside from the Bedroom Tax, hundreds of other families will be hit by the benefits cap, which is a Tory-led government dogmatic double whammy, is also enforced from April 1.

The Conservative-run Croydon Council has a choice not to implement the Bedroom Tax. It could reclassify the number of bedrooms in the homes affected. As government minister Steve Webb said, “The number of bedrooms within a property is a matter between the landlord and tenant.”, as Knowsley Housing Trust has done.

Inside Croydon's contributing editor Andrew Pelling was one of the speakers at today's rally against the Bedroom Tax  at the Town Hall

Inside Croydon’s contributing editor Andrew Pelling was one of the speakers at today’s rally against the Bedroom Tax at the Town Hall

Campaigners have forced some marginal concessions on the Bedroom Tax, and it is important that campaigning and lobbying of MPs continues right up until implementation.

One of the organisers, Andrew Fisher, told the Croydon rally, “It is our basic humanity to oppose injustice that brought so many of us out on to the rainy streets today, but humanity won’t be enough to keep people in their homes.

“We need that humanity to be a spur to solidarity, which means standing with those facing evictions, non-violently facing down the bailiffs if necessary, and making sure our people are not kicked out of their homes because of this government’s barbarous policies.”

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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5 Responses to Campaigners protest Bedroom Tax as “vilification of the poor”

  1. KEEP SIGNING GUYS, LOCAL AUTHORITIES ARE ALREADY STANDING UP AND REFUSING TO EVICT TENANTS WHO CANNOT PAY THE BEDROOM TAX!!

    http://www.24dash.com/news/housing/2013-03-15-Council-no-tenant-to-be-evicted-over-bedroom-tax

    http://www.firmmagazine.com/news/3148/Dundee_becomes_1st_Council_to_refuse_%E2%80%99bedroom_tax%E2%80%99_evictions_.html

    Dear Dave,

    I would like to remind you of something.

    Your speech on April 27th 2010.

    You said: ” Let’s mend our broken society.”

    You said: ” I know I’ve been criticized for saying our society is broken and I know I will again.”

    You said: “Something is broken. Society is broken.

    The broken society is not one thing alone.

    It is not just the crime.

    It is a whole stew of violence, anti-social behaviour, debt, addiction, family breakdown, educational failure, poverty and despair.

    This is life – or the backdrop of life – for millions of people in this country.

    So how should we respond?

    The first response – the human response – is to feel unutterably sad at so much waste.

    Wasted hopes. Wasted potential. Wasted lives.

    But sadness and anger aren’t going to change anything on their own.

    Mending the broken society needs head as well as heart.”

    You said: “There is, I believe, only one way out of this national crisis – and that is what I have called the Big Society.

    A society where we see social responsibility, not state control, as the principal driving force for social progress.

    A society where we come together, and work together, to solve problems.

    A society where we remember every day that we’re all in this together.

    And today, I want to make the case for the values that should drive the creation of the Big Society – and the policy agenda that flows from those values.

    It requires, I believe, drawing on the deepest values of Conservatism, giving power to people not the state, strengthening families, encouraging responsibility, common sense and rigour, and applying these values to the key aims of improving the lives of people in our country – especially the very poorest”.

    You said: ‘The poorest are getting poorer”.

    You said: “We need to move from big government to the Big Society – a society with personal and collective responsibility right at its heart.

    To set off on this new course, we will be guided by the philosophy of progressive conservatism.

    Progressive – because if the Big Society exists for any reason, it must be to help the most disadvantaged in our country and seek to create a more united and equal place for us all.”

    BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY YOU SAID: “Above all, we will be the most family-friendly Government you’ve ever seen in this country, because I believe that the family is the crucible of responsibility.

    Strong families lead to strong societies.

    It’s as simple as that.

    We are going to do all that we can to support every family – and every kind of family

    Many of our biggest problems start and end with the family – and there can be little progress until we recognise this.”

    So Dave.

    You were right on one thing.

    You will be “criticized for saying our society is broken and I know I will again.”

    Because I am criticizing you now.

    You talked of a broken society and you acknowledged that : “Many of our biggest problems start and end with the family – and there can be little progress until we recognise this.”

    So what do you do, Dave?

    You introduce the bedroom tax, abolish council tax benefit and replace it with local schemes forcing local authorities to clean up your mess, and cap benefit payments even though you acknowledge that: “‘the poorest are getting poorer”.

    How does this fix our broken society, Dave?

    Please.

    Explain.

    You instruct ATOS to carry out work capacity assessments on your behalf.

    So far, Dave, 7,100 people have died after being placed in groups entitled to unconditional support because they were considered to ill or disabled to work.

    1,300 people have died after being placed in a work related activity group.

    And, 2,200 people have died before their ATOS assessment was even completed.

    And, on average, a further 73 people die every week.

    So, please Dave.

    Explain.

    This is nothing short of the culling of the most desperate and vulnerable members of our society…..I call it : “The Cameron Culling Policy”.

    And it doesn’t end there, does it, Dave?

    How can you claim: “Above all, we will be the most family-friendly Government you’ve ever seen in this country, because I believe that the family is the crucible of responsibility” and then introduce welfare reforms that could see families forced out of their homes?

    Homes where families have been brought up, homes where grand children visit to stay with nanny and grandad for the weekend, homes that people have built up over the years and hold precious memories.

    You even target the homes of those out fighting for your country by demanding bedroom tax whilst they are away- men and women risking their lives fighting for YOUR country.

    Home is where the heart is Dave.

    And you are ripping out what is left of the heart of the already broken society you talk about-and damaging it beyond repair.

    So, yes, Dave.

    Society is broken.

    And YOU broke it.

    Haven’t you worked that one out yet?
    Sincerely,

    TRACY COLLINS and

    SIGN HERE: https://www.change.org/petitions/the-government-stop-bedroom-tax-the-atos-assessment-the-abolition-of-council-tax-and-universal-payment

    THANK YOU!!

  2. derekthrower says:

    This is a disgraceful piece of class warfare by this government. For years the Conservatives argued against the rates and higher amounts of council tax on larger properties because they argued that the little old lady left in a large house would not be able to pay the charge and would be forced to move, but it’s ok if it’s social housing. What comes around goes around!

  3. Tracy Collins,

    What utter drival. Stop lying. It is not a bedroom tax, it is a welfare reform.People PAY taxes, or at least people who work do.
    Stop lying. The troops will be exempt from this reform, this is a FACT, not a daft opinion.
    We are all tightening our belts. Many people have either lost their jobs or had no pay rises. I see no reason why the unemployed should not have to do there bit as well. They get a 1% rise which is no great shakes, but they still get their money.
    The unemployed and particularly those with families are looked after very well in this country…too well some may say.
    Would be nice if people were to take reponsibilty for themselves and instead of getting pregnant to a long gone father and creating a huge fatherless community.It would be good if people started families when they know they can afford to raise one. Sadly too many young girls happily have kids without caring for the consequences. Get their council house, get everything paid for them and then moan that it is not enough.
    And sadly they have unrealistic people like you egging them on.

    • The utter drivel is yours. And you might want to use a spell check next time you use a word such as “drivel”.

      Families of members of the armed forces will be affected by the Bedroom Tax.

      You posted a comment on this site previously when you demonstrated that you either knew very little of the detail of the Bedroom Tax (get over it – that’s what people are calling it), or you were deliberately lying.

      It would seem that the latter is in fact the case.

  4. Tracy: Don’t pay too much attention to Mr Hamilton. Clearly he believes all the nonsense he reads in the Daily Mail and other comics.

    The truth is much more straightforward. Mr Cameron is most frightened of three things: the Bankers, who fund his party; Tory newspapers, who influence the selfish (hence Mr Hamilton’s rant); and his own right-wing, where the usual head-bangers are currently obsessed by the popularity of UKIP.

    Call-Me-Dave isn’t interested in the housing shortage; the plight of the homeless or the overcrowded passes him by. This posh boy has no idea what it might be like.

    His only interest is being re-elected. And it must be with an overall majority; anything less will spell the end of his political career.

    So he rejects a transaction tax – which would solve the country’s financial problems at a stroke – because that would upset his banker chums.

    Instead, he goes for people on welfare – a soft target that will delight the right; in the media, in Parliament and among the Tory faithful.

    A caring Conservative (is that a contradiction in terms?) would acknowledge that the present housing crisis stems from the flawed policies of The Blessed Margaret; to sell council houses and to prevent local authorities replenishing their stock.

    A caring Conservative might set about building significant amounts of social housing; he might then ask under-occupied families to move, when smaller units are plentiful

    At the moment under-occupied families have nowhere to go. A reduction in subsidy is a tax by any other name.

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