Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/758/16381
Bin the bedroom tax: Can't pay - Will stay!
The Bedroom Tax has rightly sparked a massive and angry response. It sums up the cold cruelty of the Con-Dems. Nationally an estimated 660,000 will be affected, facing reductions in housing benefits of over £1,000 a year in some areas.
The government's utter hypocrisy is disgusting. Posh, pampered ministers claim concern for the housing benefit bill, asking why tax payers should stump up for social tenants to 'enjoy' spare bedrooms. But the reality is the benefits bill, and homelessness, will soar if thousands are forced into private rented accommodation where rents have sky-rocketed and greedy landlords laugh all the way to the bank.
They also maintain the bedroom tax is an 'incentive to work' - hiding the almost one million workers forced to top up poverty pay with housing benefit. A real incentive would be investment in a mass programme of socially useful job creation.
Nancy Taaffe, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate for Walthamstow, east London, outlines how to fight the bedroom tax.
Far from worrying about the bedroom tax, on average the richest 1% have £15 million per household. And according to new ONS figures they are worth more than the bottom 99% put together.
Camden council is reportedly "encouraging" 761 families to move to Bradford, Leicester and Birmingham to avoid the benefit cap.
Meanwhile the super-rich, on the run from the crimes they have committed against the working class of Europe, are being given safe haven by the Con-Dems and are virtually buying up the whole of central London.
But the authorities are worried by the growing resistance, so worried that the London regional news is hosting an evening completely given over to explaining the changes to benefits coming in April.
Only in times of crisis and exceptional circumstances does this happen. It is clear that the ruling class and their political representatives know that this cut could potentially prove a catalyst for reinvigorating the anti-cuts movement.
Already thousands of people have protested against the tax's introduction. Networks of supporters in the communities and in the workplaces have to be built now. We must use everything in our armoury to make it unworkable.
In the event of threatened evictions we must mobilise our communities to resist with all our might. We should emulate the tactics employed to stop the bailiffs in the struggle against Thatcher's hated poll tax, or in Spain or the Occupy Homes campaign in Minneapolis.
Labour councillors who join anti-bedroom tax protests must show their commitment by pledging not to evict a single tenant who can't pay.
Those councillors who refuse to stop evictions should be told that the campaign will stand their own candidates under the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition banner to replace them in the next election.
The tiny pigeon step retreat on some aspects of this cut by Tory (lack of) work and (cutting) pensions minister Iain Duncan Smith shows that the Con-Dems are worried that the bedroom tax could be an echo of the poll tax; when a mass movement defeated the tax and brought down Thatcher.
There are differences with the poll tax, but no doubt the bedroom tax could become a focus for workers' anger at different aspects of austerity. All anti-cuts campaigners, trade unionists and socialists should get behind the anti-bedroom tax movement.
The Socialist Party says:
- Scrap the bedroom tax and reverse all the welfare cuts!
- Council and housing associations must refuse to evict all tenants that fall into rent arrears as a result of the tax!
- Organise a campaign to stop evictions for bedroom tax-related arrears
- Build a new mass workers' party that draws together workers, young people and activists from workplaces and anti-cuts campaigns, to provide a fighting, political alternative to the pro-big business parties
- For a major programme of council house building and refurbishing to provide affordable homes for all and decent jobs
- Trade unions must build for a 24-hour general strike against austerity
In The Socialist 27 March 2013:
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