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From The Socialist newspaper, 16 April 2014

Beating Bedroom Tax evictions

Basildon

Dave Murray, Basildon Socialist Party
One of the mass protests in the campaign to defeat the bedroom tax in Scotland, photo Socialist Party Scotland

One of the mass protests in the campaign to defeat the bedroom tax in Scotland, photo Socialist Party Scotland   (Click to enlarge)

In a clear signal that the bedroom tax is more trouble than it is worth, even for a mean spirited Tory local authority, Basildon council withdrew 35 out of the 36 possession orders it had listed at Basildon Crown Court on 11 April.

Socialist Party members have been campaigning against the tax in Basildon for over a year, launching BABS (Basildon against the bedroom surcharge) at the public meeting we held as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) election campaign in April 2013.

When we started the campaign we were on our own, with prominent local Labour councillors refusing even to sign our no-evictions petition.

It was only thanks to pressure from campaign members and the threat of an amendment from a breakaway group of independent Labour councillors that the Labour group put forward a no-evictions policy.

The council not only withdrew 35 of the 36 eviction cases, but also paid off the tenants' rent arrears by using discretionary housing payments. In the one case that went to a hearing and resulted in a suspended possession order against a member of the campaign, the council only managed to get the court to play ball on the grounds that they had paid off that part of the arrears that was due to the tax. A council officer told one of us that to evict someone because of the bedroom tax was "politically unviable".

The struggle is by no means over. It is possible that Labour will gain control of the council in May - but they are at best uncertain friends. There are still over 1,400 tenants in Basildon somehow paying bedroom tax out of their meagre benefits.

Even if the bedroom tax proves to be a dead duck our work will not be done. While Labour is offering austerity with a human face and Ukip are selling austerity with a Hitler moustache, we will be standing for TUSC in the local elections and building a socialist alternative.

Salford

At less than 24 hours notice, over 40 people turned up in Walkden, Salford, to prevent an eviction for bedroom tax arrears.

News came through that City West Housing Association had backed off, and a judge had ordered a month's respite.

A number of anti-fracking campaigners from the Barton Moss camp supported the picket and speakers from Salford City Unison and Salford against Cuts spoke at a victory rally - if we are needed we'll be back in a month!

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In The Socialist 16 April 2014:


Socialist Party election campaigning

Help TUSC offer a no-cuts alternative on 22 May

Election appeal: help us make history

More cuts and another resignation in Southampton


Socialist Party news and analysis

Profit vultures out of NHS

Ending MPs' expenses scandal requires socialist change

Con-Dems escalate housing crisis

Tamiflu scandal exposes bloodsucking big pharma

Pit closures: Final act of Tory vandalism

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

40 years of the Committee for a Workers' International

India: massive election process could end in turmoil


Socialist Party workplace news

Gains for left on NUT executive

Stop the education catastrophe!

Health workers vote to fight government pay cuts

Strikers shut cinema in battle for living wage

Let down by Welsh Labour

RMT: Put the tube strike back on and escalate

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Beating Bedroom Tax evictions

NUS conference: sip tea or put up a serious fight?

Goldthorpe: Anger at Thatcher's destruction of mining

Anti-austerity demonstration called in Salford

May Day greetings with the Socialist


Readers' comments

Hard loads - and a fightback - on the bins

Working on zero-hour contracts

Disgusted at politicians' big business links


 

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