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Posted on 26 April 2013 at 11:57 GMT

Ordsall anti-bedroom tax campaign launched

Salford Socialist Party reporters

Over fifty people attended a lively launch of Salford's newest anti bedroom tax campaign, on the Ordsall estate on 25th April.

George Tapp of Salford Pensioners' Association convened the meeting, backed by the Unite union, which heard three speakers outline how we can and must fight this wretched attack.

Socialist Party member Hugh Caffrey outlined this vicious attack by the bankers' government on the poorest people, which Labour opposes in words and implements in practice.

Hugh explained that if the 5,500 affected people in Salford organise, then we can win.

The Ordsall campaign now joins Broughton, and Walkden and Little Hulton in Salford, and hundreds of other campaigns around the country.

We can smash the bedroom tax if we stick together. Jamming up the system with appeals and tribunals can lead to queues the lengths of which were last seen outside the courts during the anti-poll tax campaign.

Learning the lessons of the successful anti-poll tax movement, we can bury this tax like we buried the poll tax 23 years ago and Thatcher's term in office with it.

Union support

Steve North brought solidarity from Salford trades council, and Salford Unison representing over 5,000 workers in Salford.

Steve reported that Salford trades council has adopted a position of 'no evictions' for tenants in arrears due to the bedroom tax.

Full support for campaigns will be forthcoming from Salford's trade union movement. Steve explained how housing could be "reclassified" to take tenants out of the bedroom tax, and that we have to fight for that.

Steve also explained that the proposed full transfer into the private sector of Salix Homes social housing, currently an Arms Length Management Organisation, would mean less tenants' rights and higher rents/charges for years, in return for a short-term bribe.

Steve echoed Hugh's point that we must take the fight to Salford's Labour council which is clearly wobbling over the bedroom tax, and demand that it adopts a policy of 'no evictions'.

Young people

Tony Moore, Jarrow marcher for 'Youth Fight for Jobs', spoke on behalf of young people in Salford, who face a future of living at home with their parents as the bedroom tax makes it unaffordable for them to move out.

Tony explained that the Eccles Unemployed and Trade Union Resource Centre is willing and waiting to give tenants advice and legal support over the bedroom tax and urged everyone present to contact them.

Discussion from the floor showed tenants' fury and fear as bullying phone calls and letters are being desperately used to intimidate them.

Tenants' questions were answered and several people said afterwards that while they had come to the meeting scared and downhearted, they were leaving with the confidence to fight back.

Others had arrived in a rage and left with a focus for that anger! Everyone took a model appeal letter, and several took bundles of letters, leaflets, posters and petitions to distribute.

Salford's May Day march will be the next demonstration for the Ordsall campaign, on Saturday 4th May, 10am at Bexley Square, off Chapel Street, Salford.

A further meeting will take place in a fortnight and a demonstration will be held outside the Salix Homes office in Ordsall.

There was much interest in the trade union literature on show with people wanting to join Unite Community, and big interest in TUSC and the Socialist Party, with everyone taking a TUSC anti bedroom tax leaflet and nine buying the Socialist.

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