Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/17134
Anti-bedroom tax campaign having an impact in Nottingham
Last Monday our campaign group lobbied a Nottingham City Council meeting calling on the Labour dominated council to implement a policy of no evictions for people facing bedroom tax arrears.
We also invited Councillor Greg Marshall from neighbouring Broxtowe borough council that has made a 'no evictions' statement, to speak.
The council meeting agenda included a motion asking the government to repeal the bedroom tax. We submitted our own question for the meeting pointing out that this motion alone is not a serious campaign; it is more of a publicity stunt if it is not backed by concrete action by the council.
We argued for:
- A no-evictions policy relating to bedroom tax arrears.
- The council to use its influence to call on social housing providers in Nottingham to implement a similar policy.
- The redesignation of all council properties to ensure tenants don't suffer cuts to their benefits, as has been done with the city's high rise flats.
- Use money from reserves including money saved from not evicting, to cover bedroom tax arrears for one year while a city-wide campaign is built to put real pressure on the government to abolish the bedroom tax.
- Call on councils across the UK to do the same.
The lobby was lively and energetic with brilliant homemade placards and it was featured on local television news on the Monday and the following day.
The Friday after the lobby we heard that Nottingham City Homes that manages the city's council housing, has offered Nottingham City Unison a meeting about evictions.
Our demands showed what a proper campaign and strategy look like and showed up the council's actions as tokenistic.
Before our lobby the council would not even discuss evictions at a recent welfare reform consultation meeting - but now it has had to put evictions on the agenda.
This is a huge boost for our campaign and we will keep the pressure up. It is not acceptable for councils to say they are against the bedroom tax to try to win credibility, while abandoning residents to the stress, fear and pressures of debt and evictions.