Protesters targeted housing associations in the
And there were four more local meetings to organise against the tax in that evening. There have now been meetings in over 30 places in and around
“The bedroom tax is an attack on the poor and disabled,” said
“This is about trying to divide the working class.”
Council and housing association tenants face losing between 14 and 25 percent of their housing benefit if they are deemed to have too many bedrooms. For many people this will mean being unable to pay the rent.
“I’ve been paying for bedrooms I didn’t want since 1995 because they wouldn’t move me anywhere else,” said one man. “I’m not going to pay this bedroom tax.”
Scottish National Party councillor Graeme Hendry explained that two bedroom flats cost basically the same to build as one bedroom flats, so the council had built more of them. Now the government is punishing tenants.
But there is time to fight back.
Tenants can appeal to their landlords not to hit them with the tax. And in order to appeal they can demand a “detailed explanation” of why they are to be taxed—one model letter is available at www.initiativefactory.org/index.php/how-to-appeal
If everyone appealed in this way it will be almost impossible for the system to process. It would cost millions to implement. And if enough people refuse to leave their homes, evicting them all will cost millions more. Many councils have yet to decide their policies on evictions.
The most important thing is to stand together, to put pressure on councils and housing associations to stand with their tenants—and on the government to drop the tax.
The Yoker meeting agreed to set up a local group and to affiliate to the West of Scotland Anti-bedroom Tax Federation. This has helped campaigners across the region coordinate their activities, leading to the 8,000-strong march in
“It’s really important for local people to stand together and defend each other,” said Vikki, who had been a steward on the demonstration.
“I have two daughters and I bring them to all the Anti Bedroom Tax Federation meetings and events, and my mother is here as well.”
It’s not just happening in
More than 60 people came to a meeting in
The movement is growing, with more local groups being set up almost every day. And a national benefit summit in
“I can tell you about the power we have when we stand together,” said one woman at the Yoker meeting. “I’m from the Kingsway flats. We welcomed immigrants to our flats, and we stood together and stopped the dawn raids against them.
“Now we need to stand together again, against the bedroom tax.”