Anti-Bedroom Tax Meeting
Around 70 people attended the Anti – Bedroom Tax Meeting held in Ashington last Thursday. The Meeting heard speeches from Ian Lavery, MP, County Councillors, Trade Unionists and local activists and there were excellent contributions from the floor. Of particular importance was a speech by Mick Bowman, a social worker and UNISON member, who detailed the devastating effect this tax is going to have on the disabled and elderly community in particular. The meeting felt that the Bedroom Tax will have nothing but negative effects in Northumberland, Scottish Borders and across the UK: rising rent arrears are already happening; poverty driven crime is rising along with anti-social behaviour and homelessness. The tax was seen as a direct attack on the working poor, the disabled and unemployed and is on top of seriously reduced spending on the services we all rely on from both national and local government.
The North East and areas of Northumberland and Borders in particular will be very badly hit by this savage bit of legislation. David Orr of the National Housing Association has said the Bedroom Tax is a “once in a generation decision that is wrong in every respect, bad policy, bad economics and bad for hundreds of thousands of ordinary people – its profoundly bad politics.”
The Meeting resolved to oppose the Bedroom Tax by every means possible in the way the Poll Tax was opposed in the 1990`s. We have started a Petition which will be widely circulated in Northumberland and Borders calling on social housing providers in our area to re-classify bedrooms in their properties for alternative use and to guarantee no evictions arising from the Bedroom Tax. We will hold an Anti-Bedroom Tax meeting in Berwick in the near future. North Northumberland and the Borders have a high proportion of public housing and almost no available alternative accommodation for those affected by this savage attack on the poor and vulnerable.