Socialist Worker

Bedroom tax marchers ‘have got Tories rattled’

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2388

The protest in south London

The protest in south London (Pic: Ben Windsor)

Up to 200 people marched through Southwark, south London, against the bedroom tax and benefit cuts on Saturday of last week.

Tenants joined trade unionists and local campaigners.

Paula Peters is a member of Disabled People Against Cuts. She told Socialist Worker, “The Tories are causing suffering on a mass scale. They’re a government for the rich.

“But we are rattling them—and we need more people to fight.”

Labour councillor Richard Livingstone joined the march. He told Socialist Worker that the bedroom tax is “disgraceful”.

But protesters heckled him as he refused to promise not to evict tenants in arrears due to the tax.

A council report published last July found that around 4,046 Southwark residents would be affected by the bedroom tax. Yet there were only 104 empty one-bedroom flats in the borough, and not all of them are to let.

Shaun O’Regan is part of the Southwark Benefit Justice Campaign, which organised the march. 

He said, “We have people starving in one of the richest countries in the world. And Labour is helping the Tories make cuts.”

Manchester landlord backs off from eviction

Protesters gathered outside Manchester city court last Wednesday to support River, a tenant and campaigner facing eviction proceedings for arrears due to the bedroom tax.

But landlords City South agreed an adjournment, which effectively means they are no long pursuing River.

Ashfield breakthrough on 1996 rule

Exactly 100 people are to get their bedroom tax refunded in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire—more than 10 percent of the affected council tenants in the district. 

They are exempt under the 1996 rule. One tenant got £700 back. 

And the council is unable to claim back Discretionary Housing Payments it granted these people.

It is now investigating how many housing association tenants are due a refund.

This sets an important precedent—and shows that far more people are affected by the 1996 “loophole” than the government is willing to admit.

Protest over the bedroom tax, Saturday 4 April.

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