Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/781/17479

From The Socialist newspaper, 25 September 2013

Labour to scrap bedroom tax in 2015 - we demand an amnesty now!

Hugh Caffrey
Warrington anti-bedroom tax demo April 2013, photo Kevin Bennett

Warrington anti-bedroom tax demo April 2013, photo Kevin Bennett   (Click to enlarge)

Labour's promise to scrap the Con-Dems' bedroom tax will be welcomed, especially by the 600,000 people suffering it. Labour's change of policy is the latest victory for the anti-bedroom tax movement.

But we can't wait until 2015 - councils should immediately axe the bedroom tax, restore housing benefit payments to their pre-April level, withdraw all court proceedings and eviction orders where the bedroom tax has been a factor in rent arrears, write off all bedroom tax related arrears, and order housing associations (HAs) to follow suit. Councils should use reserves or borrowing to pay for this.

The Labour leadership should promise to reimburse all local authorities for the costs incurred if it wins the next election.

Unworkable

A combination of legal and political pressure has forced Labour to shift. But 50,000 tenants could soon face eviction. Still urgent is the building of an 'anti-eviction army' in every community; and the campaign for councils and HAs to adopt 'no eviction' policies.

In Kirkby, Merseyside, the bailiffs were sent packing by a 'ring of steel' which the local campaign group formed around the home of a tenant threatened with eviction.

Local authority unions everywhere should adopt the position of Bolton Metro Unison, to defend members who refuse to enforce the bedroom tax.

The bedroom tax has been made unworkable by its own logic - forcing poor people to pay money they don't have. Non-payment is running at 50% or more in many HAs.

Some authorities, fearing an organised opposition or massive loss of rental income, have given concessions - 'reclassifying' rooms, exempting tenants who meet certain conditions, topping up the discretionary housing payment fund as the Scottish parliament did, or agreeing minimum repayment amounts for arrears.

Legal victories in Scotland over the minimum size of a room for one adult (70 square feet) have got housing bosses worried. Many tenants are threatened with eviction over bedroom tax on rooms which are smaller than 70 square feet, or even 50 square feet!

Now it turns out that may be illegal, the Chartered Institute of Housing says councils should be measuring room sizes. Wouldn't it be easier to just scrap the tax?!

Labour says it will, in government, help councils to help people who want to downsize. In some cases this will be possible - and it was more possible before council housing was broken up! But often there is nowhere else to go. If there is, it is likely to be in the more expensive private sector.

Housing programme

The answer to the housing crisis is to build a lot more council housing. Miliband and Co have made verbal gestures, but when New Labour was in government and where it is in control of councils, it hasn't done this.

Labour shares the same aim of austerity as the current millionaires' government. Its plans to urge the private sector into providing more 'affordable' rented homes will not go beyond costly token gestures on that basis.

Part of the problem is the chaotic patchwork of 'social housing' providers. Social housing should be owned by councils, democratically controlled and managed, including by representatives of tenants, workers, and the wider community, together with the local authority.

The building companies and landlords exist to make a profit. That means holding up rents and house prices, and any serious measures would have to tackle this.

Councils must swiftly implement a massive expansion in council housing through new-build and renovation. Where profiteering landlords and landowners get in the way, or refuse to renovate/let empty housing at affordable rents, councils should use their powers of compulsory purchase.

An expansion of council housing with affordable rents would drive down private sector rents. Linked with rent caps, this would benefit all tenants, and reduce the housing benefit bill.

Austerity means robbing the millions to bail out the billionaires. The sums are staggering - 120 billion in dodged taxes, 750 billion sitting idle in corporate accounts. That's where the money should come from to fund a massive housing construction/renovation plan.

This would be fought tooth and nail by the bosses, and that's why the answer to the housing crisis is ultimately the socialist public ownership of the banks, construction companies, and housing companies. As part of a democratic socialist plan, these enterprises could be put at the service of society to meet human need and end the housing crisis.

What we are fighting for:

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 25 September 2013:


Socialist Party NHS feature

Mass Action Can save our NHS

Another crackpot scheme for the NHS


What we think

Labour conference - no socialist policies


Socialist Party feature

Rotten, wasteful capitalism has to go - the case for a socialist alternative


Socialism 2013

Socialism 2013


Socialist Party news and analysis

Labour to scrap bedroom tax in 2015 - we demand an amnesty now!

Them & Us


Socialist Students

University unions' ballot: Students and staff - unite and fight!

Socialist Students gains new members

'Success' for owners - zero for workers


International socialist news and analysis

Greece: Neo-Nazis murder Pavlos Fyssas, a left activist and rapper

Greek teachers show the way forward


Socialist Party workplace news

Bakers rise against Hovis: Victory shows zero-hours can be beaten

Support Teachers' fight to defend education

Industrial and political battles at Hull city council

Stop privatisation of the Probation Service

Glasgow Unison strike wins important victory

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reviews and comments

Book review: Militant Liverpool - A City on the Edge

Obituary - Steve Draper


 

Home   |   The Socialist 25 September 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Bedroom tax:

triangleThem & us

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

triangleTories out! Corbyn can win with socialist policies

triangleWhy I joined: "I am a Labour Party member and I recently decided to join the Socialist Party"

triangleCourt win against bedroom tax not enough

Tax:

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleTrump's tax plan: Robin Hood in reverse

triangleThem & us

triangleTrump's tax attacks

Labour:

triangleAnti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangleBlairite horror and Labour's divisions graphically exposed

Housing:

triangleRough sleeping crisis: make homes, not arrests

triangleLabour council Blairites deselected

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

8/12/17

Government

Local government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded

6/12/17

Labour

Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

6/12/17

NHS

Branson sues NHS: kick out the profiteers

6/12/17

Immigration

Royal wedding exposes them-and-us visa system

6/12/17

Banks

RBS to sack 1,000: nationalise the banks

6/12/17

Homelessness

Rough sleeping crisis: make homes, not arrests

6/12/17

Poverty

End Tory war on poor

6/12/17

Rail

Nationalise rail now

29/11/17

Them & Us

Them & us

29/11/17

Homes

Tory housing policy: build zilch, hike prices

29/11/17

Wages

Make the Tories history

29/11/17

Birmingham

Birmingham bin workers win!

29/11/17

British economy

Amber warning lights flash on British economy

23/11/17

Pay

After the budget - unions must launch pay fight

22/11/17

Climate change

Carbon dioxide hits 800,000-year high: end profit-driven pollution

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the full 5% claim

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

triangle30 Nov Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

More ...

triangle11 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Campaigning workshop

triangle11 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas Quiz

triangle12 Dec Birmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangle12 Dec Liverpool Socialist Party: Fighting council cuts

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2