Saturday 16th March
Victoria Square, B1 1BB
Join and invite friends to the Facebook Event
In Birmingham, it has been revealed that the bedroom tax will affect 60,000 people who are deemed to have a spare room. Spare rooms include those slept in by foster children [update: foster parents will now be allowed one “spare” room for foster children], those slept in by visiting children of separated parents and the adapted rooms used by hundreds of thousands of disabled people or because sharing a room is not practical. The Tories have added £30m to the Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) fund, which can be used to cover the worst of these cases, but as we revealed the Birmingham City Council budget actually cuts DHP fund by more than we’re likely to see from this increase.
Most frustrating in all this is the lack of smaller houses for people to move to. In Hull, there are just 70 smaller properties for the 5,500 affected by the bedroom tax to try to move to. The result will be rent arrears, homelessness or a move to more expensive private rentals, all of which will increase the benefits bill, producing the opposite effect to that intended by the measure.
The tax starts on April 1st, and affects tenants in social and council housing, who will be charged 14% of their rent for one “spare” room, and 25% of their rent for two or more. More information is available here.
This measure can be defeated, we must build a strong tenants movement and a partial rent strike campaign should be discussed – this would involve withholding the 14% or 25% of rent that your benefit has been cut by. Such a move would see arrears build up slowly and the cost of eviction would make court action uneconomical. Of course, court action would eventually happen for everyone and then we would need communities to be coming out and defending families from being evicted from their homes. Like the Poll Tax, the combination of non-payment and mass demonstrations could see this idiocy reversed.
So if you are going to be affected by the bedroom tax, or if you oppose it and want to make that known, come along on Saturday 16th March and help to build the opposition.A demonstration against the Bedroom Tax will take place in Birmingham as part of