Letter: Bedroom Tax One Year On - End it now!

Streatham Guardian: Controversial: The so-called 'bedroom tax' has provoked fierce opposition Controversial: The so-called 'bedroom tax' has provoked fierce opposition

Dear Editor

The government’s welfare reforms have caused great hardship for many thousands of people in London and Lambeth is no exception. The threat of eviction hangs over those affected by the bedroom tax, despite the fact that most people affected by this policy are disabled, and the prospect of downsizing to more 'suitable' accommodation is almost non-existent.

This means tenants are forced to take in stranger/lodgers with whom they may not 'get on' to avoid housing benefit cuts. Reductions in disability benefits, massive increases in sanctions for job seekers, the benefit cap, abolition of the social fund, and a raft of other cuts to out of work benefits have caused an enormous rise in the demand for food banks.

The cuts to welfare benefits also affect working people. In addition to the reduction to in-work benefits such as maternity allowance and tax credits, cuts to council tax benefit are affecting many low income working people. The government has stated that further billions of pounds worth of cuts to welfare benefits are still to come, with the abolition of housing benefit for people under 25 one of the most worrying proposals.

Beyond taking money from individuals, as Sheffield Hallam University point out, welfare reform is taking millions out of local economies, meaning that many other local people and business are negatively affected.

That is why we will be protesting on Saturday the 5th April, at One Hyde Park in Knightsbridge, the world’s most expensive residence, which epitomises the injustice and hypocrisy of current welfare policy. Here flats sell for billions of pounds, and only a few are inhabited, most registered in the name of mysterious companies based in offshore tax-havens, and only a handful pay council tax.

We urge all readers of this newspaper who are concerned about social justice and a better world to live in rather than punishing those out of work and the working poor for the mistakes made by bankers and speculators to join us at this very important demonstration.

One year on from the introduction of this wretched bedroom tax let's show this government that we are on the side of the poor and disadvantaged and not their oppressors.

Assemble on Saturday 5th April at One Hyde Park at 1pm.

Signed: Grace Lally, Chair, Loughborough Estate Tenants' & Residents' Association (LETRA) Bill Perry, Secretary, Lambeth Unite Community Councillor Jane Pickard, Labour, Lambeth Council Councillor Paul Gadsby, Labour, Lambeth Council Ian Townson, Lambeth Housing Activists Julian Hall, Lambeth United Housing Co-operatives Ellen Deborah, Chair, Lambeth Pensioners' Action Group Jon Rogers, Secretary, Lambeth Unison & NEC (personal capacity) David Esterson, Chair, University/College Union (Save Brixton College) Many Brown, University/college Union NEC (personal capacity) - Save Brixton College Little Miss Tee, Zero Nation, Save Brixton College Timmii, Editor, Zero Nation & Hero Nation Charmaine Brown, Founder, Rye Lane Campaign Group Andrew Read, Chair, Youth Bap Theatre Company Caul Grant, Founder, Campaign for Truth and Justice Belinda McKenzie, McKenzie Friends Legal Advice Fatima, Jasmin & Sam, Founders, Focus E15 Mothers' Campaign Against Bedroom Tax DJ Fox, Lightning Community Radio Station, Brixton Lee Jaspers, Co-Chair, Black Activists Rising Against the Cuts (BARAC), Lambeth Police Consultative Group Christopher Blake, Lambeth Save Our Services Ray Sirotkin, Chair, Lambeth Trades Council Jon Glackin, Simon Communit/Brixton Soup Kitchen Housing Activists Southwark & Lambeth Jacqueline Rose, Utility Warehouse (Housing Activist) Steve Hack, Unite Union Representative, Southwark NHS

Based on information supplied by Ian Townson.

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