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3 December 2014

Neighbours defend disabled man from eviction

Elaine Brunskill, Socialist Party Northern region

A local community in Newcastle came out to defend a disabled resident threatened with eviction on 27 November. His rent arrears had been under control - until compounded by the bedroom tax.

Neighbour Andrew Temple commented that if he was guilty of terrorising someone who was disabled there would be outrage. Yet here was the local council terrorising a disabled person.

Andrew said he'd only heard about the threatened eviction that morning from a neighbour. He thought it was "out of order" and immediately came out to defend the tenant. He also said he thought it was great that the community was sticking together.

The man facing eviction is still recovering from a recent operation. In spite of this, he said the council came in "gung ho" - pushing the eviction through despite his surgeon saying he was unfit for work.

Although the court eventually postponed the eviction, the council sent a joiner to change the locks and board up the door. Neighbours prevented this - showing the importance of continuing protests even when evictions aren't supposed to be going ahead.

This protest proves local communities can fight back against councils intent on bullying struggling residents. It also shows the need for councillors who will fight on behalf of local communities.