Combating the bedroom tax

We Won't Pay!

An account of the resistance building against the Bedroom Tax in the UK.

It’s been 12 days since a public meeting was held in Liverpool to decide what to do about the Bedroom Tax. The overwhelming response from the packed out tenants meeting was one of militant resistance. Since then, tenant meetings have been set up across Liverpool to network social housing tenants against a shocking attack on the welfare of the working class.

The Bedroom Tax affects nearly 700,000 people in the UK. From the 1st of April 2013, tenants of housing associations & social landlords will be hit by a possible 25% cut in their housing benefit if they under-occupy their home. This means: 1 spare room will see a 14% reduction in housing benefit; 2 spare rooms will see a 25% reduction in housing benefit. Many tenants will be expected to uproot their families, move away from their communities, their support networks and downsize to properties that simply do not exist; those who decide to stay will be constantly battling to make up the shortfall in rent. This should not be a question of move or stay; it should be about refusing to pay the tax full stop.

Yet, State and landlord ultimatums of ‘stay & pay’ or ‘move’ have disempowered tenants and landed the blame of a fictitious housing crisis at their doorsteps. Housing Associations (HA’s) wasted time lobbying a political Men’s club immersed in escalating the divide between the rich and the poor. Instead of flatly rejecting the Bedroom Tax in defence of tenants, HA’s petitioned those in power to be ‘reasonable’ —a petition that smacked of complicity. That complicity continues as HA’s now prepare to implement and collect the Bedroom Tax for their own ends and the governments.

Social Housing is being privatised; it’s written all over the faces of the ministers and chief executives who in the same turn ‘console’ tenants who are self-evicting or who will eventually be evicted. This is nothing other than contempt for tenants and we, as tenants, must make a stand against this contemptible tax and its architects.

We argue that a stand now against the Bedroom Tax, based on solidarity and direct action, will put down roots of resistance to allow us to better defend ourselves against a broader attack that extends well beyond 2013. Refusing to pay is a big step for tenants to take, but by standing together we will be stronger and can support each other. If we do nothing now, the repercussions of the Bedroom Tax will cause greater hardship & increased evictions in the run-up to the implementation of Universal Credit.

Let’s show the government, housing associations, collection officers and bailiffs that we won’t be fucked with.

combatbedroomtax@gmail.com

Comments

patty45
Jan 24 2013 21:51

I think it disgusting I have lived in my home for 26 years and feel so persecuted because I am on social security. My husband worked for 19 years now he ill we will be affected by the bedroom tax. We have put so much into the house over the years looked after it. It should be stopped the poor are not to blame for what's going on in society its the greedy rich and the bankers. We get the blame I so angry.

fuckthetories
Jan 24 2013 22:57

There are so many anomalies in this cruel, vindictive tax. For one, there is no definition of a bedroom in law. It's left for the landlord to define. Some people may have a spare room on the ground floor designated a 'dining room' or even a 'utility room'. A bed could be placed in the aforesaid and as the room isn't called a bedroom on the tenancy agreement there is jack the government can do about it.
In addition, Lord Fraud has suggested we take in a lodger. This is a potential legal minefield. A Reigate landlord has just been prosecuted (rightly) for renting out a room that was under 70 square feet, the legal minimum size. (see link below) Many box rooms are smaller than 70 square feet, but as the room is classed as a bedroom on the tenancy agreement then you're fivered.
In addition, my local housing allowance for a one bed rent in the private sector is considerably more than the rent for my 3 bed council home. If people in my position were to rent in the private sector then this would cost the government dearly. They are banking on us staying put and paying up
Well I for one won't be paying this unjust tax and I think everyone should follow suit. It will cost the government a fortune in court costs. Ha ha.

http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/s/2126177_landlord_fined_for_renting_too_small_room_to_tenant

Steven.
Jan 24 2013 23:39

For people who don't know, think you could explain a bit about what the bedroom tax is?

Steven.
Jan 24 2013 23:43

admin sub editing note: granted blogging permissions, moved this to the blog, fixed capitalisation in article title, fixed tags, rewrote intro. Please do not create new tags, only match tags to existing tags.

fkilmore
Jan 25 2013 12:38

To be precise, it is local govnt who pay us HB, the local council, who get a certain amount for HB from central govnt, who will soon cut the amount they give to councils, because BT means less will be needed.....the councils then have to implement the BT and cut our HB accordingly...but the local council dont HAVE to do this, they could simply ignore it, but it would mean they have to pay us full HB, while getting less from the govnt to do it with....some councils can afford to do it, some have, but most have not...it is only 600,000 people around the country who will get BT, the councils could easily afford to ignore it..So write to your local council asking them if they can afford to ignore BT, and if so why are they not doing so, plus write to your local newspaper saying the same....BT is between tenants and the local councils NOT the housing associations...they have not created BT, the govnt have and passed it onto local councils...

Red Marriott
Jan 25 2013 17:18

This is on top of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme where central govt is reducing funding to local councils for council tax benefit by 10% from April 2013. Individual councils have to decide how they will deal with the shortfall. It's likely many will pass it on to claimants and that many, whether low paid or unemployed, will end up paying a few pounds a week out of their income to cover the shortfall.

monkeyj
Jan 26 2013 12:23

Similar campaign in Leeds:

http://leedshandsoffourhomes.wordpress.com

happyhelen123
Feb 2 2013 11:55

Please will this government leave us alone for 5 mins. Between being tormented over my sickness benefits and now this I'm seriously considering suicide, I just can't cope with any more pressure.
I suffer from mental illness and have struggled with a mute autistic son who is now 23. He now lives in residential care and comes home to stay 2 nights a week. And why can't I have my grandson staying over in a spare room, is it a crime? Now I'm to be "fined" because my children have grown up? I can't get a one bedroomed flat because would will he stay, and I would have to get rid of my dogs? And yes who would live in my house, maybe an immigrant or someone who kept on having one child after another on benefits.
I hope the idiots who voted the Tories in are happy, then again they didn't even have a majority did they? And where the hell Clegg ?
Its back to the Robin Hood days again like Thatcher with her Poll Tax. Well I'm prepared to take to the streets over this disgusting tax on the poor.
This government should be ashamed of themselves however I doubt it. Where there's no sense there's no feeling.

hellfrozeover
Feb 5 2013 23:55

Report from a meeting in Edinburgh where council leader was asked to block bedroom tax evictions. Includes audio links.
http://edinburghanarchists.noflag.org.uk/2013/01/the-cuts-to-come-report-from-an-anti-cuts-meeting/

Speyejoe
Feb 6 2013 12:07

"The Bedroom Tax affects nearly 700,000 people in the UK" above.

No, no, no, no, no!!!

The bedroom tax affects, we are told, 670,000 HOUSEHOLDS
Each household contains as a national average 2.4 people
Therefore the bedroom tax affects 1,608,000 PEOPLE

The bedroom tax affects 1.6 MILLION men women and children

A Wotsit
Feb 7 2013 10:50
happyhelen123 wrote:
And yes who would live in my house, maybe an immigrant or someone who kept on having one child after another on benefits.

Helen, I encourage you to seek the support of other people if you are going through hard times and don't be afraid to join with others and fight for yourselves.

There is something I would like to say about your quote above. This tax and the possibility of people having to leave their homes or face greater hardship has nothing to do with a housing shortage, and even less to do with immigration or people on benefits having kids. It is a problem of people being prevented access to housing and a decent standard of living because of government policy and capitalism and class divisions. Bringing up 'immigrants' and people on benefits (like yourself) who have children (like yourself) only plays into the hands of the government and those who profit from housing by blaming the poor instead of the real culprits. There are more than enough houses to go around, and more could be built where needed. The problem is caused by the propertied classes (inc. landlords multiple homeowners, rich fucks who live in ridiculously big houses etc) and their cronies in government, not poor working class people who need a home. Wherever we are born and however many children we choose to have is really irrelevant- we could all have a decent home and standard of living. I think if you spend less time reading the capitalist media and listening to politicians and more time on sites like this you might see things differently.

A Wotsit
Feb 7 2013 10:58

Helen, sorry if picking on that quote seemed unsympathetic. I know quite a few people who are having their sickness benefits withdrawn or who are going through the appeals process and this bedroom tax and it really sucks, it's natural that you feel angry and depressed- by it- I do too. I don't blame you for bringing up immigrants and families with multiple kids on benefits- the government and the media push really hard to make us turn the blame on groups like these, and I only wanted to say what I did because it does us no favours to fight among ourselves instead of focussing our energies on defeating the capitalist system which really causes housing problems and misery like this.

harrypip
Mar 23 2013 20:26

Can't pay won't pay.just recently got a letter from D.W.P saying that my income support will rise another stinking 50p as from the first week starting this April.but the thing that gets to me is headed on top of the letter in black bold letters is 1. HOW MUCH THE LAW SAYS YOU NEED TO LIVE ON.That doesn't take into account what this so called prime minister for the rich and who is against the poor was going to kick you when you are down and then charge the poor and sick and out of work for a bedroom tax on any spare rooms that you have Bast-ard.IAm seriously going to my local book store and going to get books on witchcraft and put a spell on that Bast-ard.

haz
Aug 31 2013 10:57

dose the bedroom tax apply to asylum seekers too