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Councils send out eviction letters, but face resistance over bedroom tax

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Issue 2354

Two Labour-run Scottish councils have begun sending eviction letters to tenants affected by the bedroom tax.

At least eight people have received letters from South Lanarkshire council, including Angela Buskie. She says the bedroom tax would leave her just £10 a week for shopping.

North Lanarkshire council has written to tenants with arrears of just £50 in Coatbridge. It says that they could be evicted within six months.

“I find it quite appalling,” said Tracy Woods, organiser of Coatbridge Against the Bedroom Tax.

“We’re ready to fight any eviction notice, whether that’s giving people advice now or having to turn out in numbers to defend them when the sheriff officers arrive.”

The All-Scotland Anti Bedroom Tax Federation has called a protest in Glasgow on 1 June.

“Lots of people say they’re going,” said Tracy. “Now the letters are coming people want to fight.”

Some of Britain’s biggest housing associations said last week that many tenants had not paid anything towards the tax.

Around half of Riverside Group in Liverpool’s 6,200 households hit by the tax had paid nothing.

Leeds council has begun around 1,700 new arrears cases, according to housing chief Peter Gruen.

He acknowledged that people can’t afford to pay, but said that Leeds council had “a financial duty to collect money”.

Some other Labour-run councils, including Edinburgh and Islington, have pledged not to evict people who fall into arrears due to the bedroom tax.

Councils and housing associations are rushing to chase people in arrears now. 

They know that however hard it is for someone to pay the £50 or £100 they owe now, it will be impossible to get £500 or £1,000 from them later.

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