Socialist Worker

Tenants set to fight bedroom tax evictions

by Dave Sewell
Published Tue 27 Aug 2013
Issue No. 2368

Campaigners sleep out in Glasgow

Campaigners sleep out in Glasgow (Pic: Josh Brown)


 

Residents of Viewpark, Uddingston, are gearing up to stop what could be the first eviction relating to the bedroom tax.

North Lanarkshire council has begun court action to kick Lorraine Fraser out of her specially adapted flat. 

Lorraine has scoliosis and arthritis and needs to use a wheelchair. The council moved her into the adapted flat two years ago—it has a wheelchair ramp, wet room and handrails.

But now the council says that she owes £248 in bedroom tax on her two teenage children’s rooms, since they also spend time at their father’s house.

The Labour-run council warned many tenants it would begin eviction proceedings from 2 September, and in Lorraine’s case it didn’t even wait that long.

Council leader Jim McCabe insists he is against the bedroom tax, but he blocked attempts to take a no-evictions policy like most other Scottish councils. Tommy Sheridan of the Anti Bedroom Tax Federation called for McCabe to resign after he harangued Lorraine for turning up at his doorstep.

Meeting

Viewpark Against the Bedroom Tax campaign is holding a public meeting against the eviction on Thursday of this week.

“We’ll protest against it and we’ll stop it,” Viewpark campaigner Joe McMillan told Socialist Worker. “If there’s any eviction in the area we’ll all be there, and we have the power to make sure it doesn’t happen.

“Viewpark happens to be the place where they are pushing this first. 

“But this isn’t just a Viewpark issue. They are coming for everyone, and if they get away with evicting one person it hurts us all.”

There were more eviction threats in Barnsley. Around 30 people rallied outside the court last week to support seven tenants called in over bedroom tax arrears. Three of them were given suspended possession orders—meaning that they could be just 28 days away from eviction proceedings if they don’t pay something.

The council plans to haul 100 people up during September.

Four months after the introduction of the bedroom tax, court rooms are becoming the scenes of frequent confrontations between tenants and the Labour councils who claim to be on their side.

Disabled south Manchester resident Dave Prichard forced Manchester city council to back off on the bedroom tax at a tribunal on Friday of last week.

He successfully argued that the council needed more evidence before forcing him to pay the bedroom tax. 

Inside and outside court he had support from Greater Manchester Against the Bedroom Tax protesters. Helping him successfully argue his case at the tribunal was also the campaign’s legal officer River acting as his McKenzie’s friend.

Councils do have an alternative to going to war with their tenants—standing with them and defying the hated Tory policy.


Back story

The bedroom tax was brought in for poor people in social housing with ‘spare’ bedrooms

  • Some 96 percent of households affected can’t afford anywhere smaller to move to
  • People are being rehoused in private accomodation. This will increase the annual housing benefit paid to landlords from  £7.9 billion to £9.4 billion
  • Since the bedroom tax was introduced, rent arrears owed in Nottingham alone has risen to £2.3 million

Article information

News
Tue 27 Aug 2013, 18:24 BST
Issue No. 2368
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