Socialist Worker

Anti bedroom tax federation piles on the pressure

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2370

lobbying the Scottish government, this week against evictions for bedroom tax arrears

lobbying the Scottish government, this week against evictions for bedroom tax arrears (Pic: Josh Brown)


 

A senior United Nations (UN) official touring Britain for two weeks has been inundated with testimonies about the human suffering caused by the Tories’ bedroom tax. 

The special rapporteur on housing, Raquel Rolnik, heard mounting evidence suggesting the impact of the bedroom tax has violated human rights.

The preliminary findings were due as Socialist Worker went to press.

The report comes as pressure from campaigners is starting to get results.

Momentum has grown after Scotland’s largest council landlord, North Lanarkshire, last week announced a no evictions policy for tenants in arrears due to the tax. 

The head of the Labour group in Cosla, the umbrella group for Scottish councils, pledged the same for all Labour-controlled councils in Scotland. 

Sheffield’s Labour council did the same for Sheffield.

And the North Lanarkshire decision has emboldened campaigners elsewhere. 

Angry

Angry anti bedroom tax campaigners in Cudworth, near Barnsley, grilled Barnsley Labour council leader, Steve Houghton on Tuesday of last week.

Tenants asked why he wasn’t following North Lanarkshire’s lead instead of  taking tenants to court with the threat of evictions.

Houghton promised to argue that Barnsley council oppose the bedroom tax, and call on Ed Miliband to pledge to repeal it. He also pledged to see whether Barnsley could follow North Lanarkshire’s example.

In Scotland, campaigners in Fife scored tremendous victories at appeal tribunals.

They successfully argued exemption from the tax as their so-called “spare” rooms were used for other purposes. 

Jackie Baillie, Scottish Labour’s welfare spokesperson, plans to introduce  a motion to the Scottish Parliament against the bedroom tax.

It calls for £50 million extra for councils and housing associations to deal with increasing rent arrears as tenants can’t or won’t pay.

And Nick Clegg faces possible defeat over a motion opposing the bedroom tax at the Lib Dem conference.

Campaigners plan protests outside the conference.

Angela McCormick is vice-chair of the All Scotland Anti Bedroom Tax Federation.

She told Socialist Worker, “We are lobbying the Scottish government to rule out any evictions for bedroom tax arrears. 

“And the mood is growing around the protest at the Lib Dem Conference in Glasgow this weekend.

“All the recent moves against the tax are a direct result of consistent and determined activity from people on the ground in local communities across Britain. 

“This needs to continue if we are to finally finish off these nasty attacks on the working class.”

Thanks to Dave Gibson and Carlo Morelli

Anti Bedroom Tax March and Rally, Saturday 14 September, assemble 12 noon Glasgow Green. Rally at SECC.

 


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