Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/789/17775

From The Socialist newspaper, 20 November 2013

Bedroom tax: Words are cheap - we need action now!

Karen Fletcher, Barnsley campaigner
Hull protest against the Bedroom tax - Debt = Slavery, photo Lash

Hull protest against the Bedroom tax - Debt = Slavery, photo Lash   (Click to enlarge)

On 12 November I was part of the lobby that met in the House of Commons prior to the vote on Labour's motion to scrap the bedroom tax. Since I got involved in the campaign in April I have attended many meetings and rallies. But here the anger was directed at the time it took Labour leader Ed Miliband to pledge to repeal the bedroom tax.

Initially the only thing Labour had to say was that the tax isn't very nice. I think we worked that out for ourselves.

Words are cheap - actions are what we need. In Barnsley we have over 5,000 signatures on our petition but none of them belong to a single local MP. My MP is proud of making two speeches at anti-bedroom tax events in his constituency. Two in six months.

There was also a great deal of anger at the fact that Labour has had nothing to say about Labour councils rushing to evict tenants. Labour should tell their councils to stop doing Con-Dem dirty work.

I was particularly annoyed by statements made by two MPs. One said that he was enjoying the campaign. I'm glad he's enjoying himself because I am not. There is nothing I would like more than not to need to do what I do. I don't want to have to get up at 4.30am so that I can be in Westminster for 9.30am.

The second comment was actually thanks for coming to support 'us'. Wrong, wrong, wrong. They should be supporting the anti-bedroom tax campaigners. Labour are the ones who are late to the party. The only reason that any of us were in that room was because of the strength of the campaign. Labour has been shamed into action by a group of people that were attacked because they were expected simply to roll over and take it.

We didn't. We won't. I went to London to make sure that at least my MP did what he promised. The mood was summed up very simply by the activist who said that she would vote Labour in 2015 because they would be the only effective way to get rid of the Coalition: "but do not lie to us, do not let us down and do not betray us. We will not forgive".

14 days prior to the lobby I had been in court for non-payment of bedroom tax. This is the experience that I wanted to take into that room and to the rally afterwards.

I didn't want sympathy. People need to know what tactics are being used by a so-called Labour council and its Almo. My rent was still being paid by direct debit until 3 May. I received a Notice of Intention to Seek Possession by hand on 23 May. I asked for a payment card three times. It finally showed up after 12 weeks. I asked my Almo for help (because their letters always tell you to) and was told to pay my rent plus a minimum amount or eviction proceedings would continue. Glad they could help.

When I finally got to court on 28 October there were 14 people present for eviction. Two duty solicitors had to deal with 14 clients with varying degrees of complex cases in around five minutes each.

Then it was made clear that to have McKenzie Friends present [lay helpers that anti-poll tax campaigners used widely in the 1980s], we should have applied in writing, two weeks in advance and for a named individual. There were no adjournments allowed for this.

When the judge closed the court to press and public alike on the grounds that personal financial information was being disclosed, those of us who assumed it would be an open court were incredulous. Just whose personal financial information was the court protecting - mine or the council's?

Finally, all 14 cases were heard in around 90 minutes. In what world is it ever acceptable to take away something so fundamental as your home in so short a time?

In my case the judge didn't even have the decency to look up. But I have a message for Barnsley in particular and the rest of the country in general. I will not be quiet, I will not go away. I am far too angry.

This is the same council that has added nothing to its allocation of Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP). Out of 780 people that have received DHP, 34 have actually been helped by my Almo. I am guessing that they are going to include me in those figures despite the fact that initially I was turned down for DHP because I could use my Disability Living Allowance.

I wrote my own appeal letter. This is the same council that will 'downsize' fewer people this year than last on current figures. This is a council in the heart of the 'socialist republic of South Yorkshire'.

This is a Labour council that does not even deserve that name. Any socialist credibility my town ever had has been eradicated along with its pits, steel works and muck stacks.

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


In The Socialist 20 November 2013:


International socialist news and analysis

Seattle: 90,000 votes for socialist change

Victory for socialist in Seattle!

Philippines: Typhoon damage worsened by capitalism

Sri Lanka: Cameron's empty promise of war inquiry


Socialist Party news and analysis

Drive the profit vultures out of our NHS

Fight the Tory witch-hunt against Unite

Students must 'fight for the right to fight'

Labour MPs absent in bedroom tax vote

Them & Us


Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

We need you to stand against cuts

TUSC byelection candidates: opposing all cuts


Socialist Party workplace news

Unite sector conferences: Union delegates seek strategy for resistance

Portsmouth: 'Save the yards, nationalise'

Firefighters determined to fight on

Glasgow strike builds momentum

UPS workers resist bad working conditions

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Bedroom tax: Words are cheap - we need action now!

Birmingham children's services - a victim of cuts

Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance launched

One thousand march against EDL

Portsmouth: 30 students debate to vote or not to vote?

'Labour is indistinguishable from the Tories'

Pat Cross: 1935-2013


Socialist Party comments and reviews

JFK assassination: Who gained?

We need a real energy bill revolution


 

Home   |   The Socialist 20 November 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Bedroom tax:

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

triangleWe are all Daniel Blake: no more deaths from benefit cuts

Labour:

triangleSheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

triangleTories torn - bin them now

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

triangleThe end of the Tories?

Council:

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

triangleSchools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

triangleSalford Unison condemns pay cuts

Barnsley:

triangleAsos workers fear taking toilet breaks, sacked for panic attacks

triangleLabour loses byelection but Corbyn isn't the problem

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

19/10/17

North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

18/10/17

Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?

18/10/17

Leeds

Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

18/10/17

Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

18/10/17

PCS

Balloting members on the pay cap

18/10/17

Art

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

18/10/17

Council

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

18/10/17

South West Wales

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

18/10/17

NHS

Uprising to save the NHS!

18/10/17

Socialism

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

18/10/17

East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

18/10/17

North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

18/10/17

BAE

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

18/10/17

Schools

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

18/10/17

Swansea

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


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

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

More ...

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

Archive

Archives:

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