ONE HOPE, ONE VOICE, ONE BEDROOM TAX TO ABOLISHSaturday 13 July 2013
1pm: Meet at Parliament Square
2pm: Set off for 10 Downing Street for delivery of personal letters to the PM
3pm: March to Trafalgar Square for rally till 5pm
More information: wewillbeheard.org and falseeconomy.org.uk
We Will Be Heard have been inviting anyone who's been affected by the Bedroom Tax to write a letter to the Prime Minister, and copy it to their campaign, so that they can add it to the Personal Petition they will deliver to the PM on Saturday. Unfortunately the deadline is today, but perhaps they will accept late entries!
Meanwhile, following the previous post by the beleaguered Marmoset, we were sent this correspondence by another Deptford resident...
Dear Joan Ruddock,
I am a carer for my Aunt who is 92. She has glaucoma and is almost blind. Her mobility is very bad and she is in a lot of pain. I am with her every day for five hours or more and as she is housebound I do all her chores, shopping, hospital visits etc. I exist on carers allowance and income support and get housing benefit. I share a council house with my brother, who works and pays half the rent. We have lived here for 35 years. As the property has 3 bedrooms and we only use two, I will have to pay bedroom tax out of the paltry amount of money I am expected to live on. Downsizing is not an option as the reason I am able to look after my Aunt is that she lives in the next street and I can be there in minutes. My brother and myself have saved the government thousands of pounds by looking after my Aunt and my mother, when she was alive, in their own home. I do all this work for about £1.50 an hour, which is what these benefits work out to, and now we are getting kicked in the teeth by this government. I phoned the DWP and was told the cut in housing benefit was an incentive to look for work. I pointed out I was a carer and was met with silence. I was wondering where you and the Labour party stood on this very depressing matter?
Yours sincerely, -----
Dear Mr ----,
Thank you for your email about the bedroom tax, I am sorry for the long delay in responding to you. I receive a huge volume of post and this can lead to a delay in my reply. Please be assured that the Labour Party has vehemently opposed the bedroom tax. Liam Byrne, the Labour Shadow Work and Pension’s spokesman has said,
“This wicked bedroom tax is going to rip neighbour from neighbour, force vulnerable people to food banks and loan sharks, and end up costing Britain more than it saves as tenants are forced to go homeless or move into the expensive private rented sector. It is the worst possible blend of cruelty and incompetence. The Government must think again and drop this tax now.”
I agree with him and I hope that this reassures you as to where I and the Labour Party stand. With regard to your own case, have you been in touch with the council about your circumstances?Unfortunately, Lewisham Council has not been particularly proactive in finding ways round the Bedroom Tax. It should follow the lead of Leeds Council who have found a loophole: it is reclassifying rooms in its social housing as 'non specific'. It has identified 837 spare bedrooms, and people who have already lost out because of the tax will be refunded. They say it would cost the council more to chase up rent arrears and evict people. Read the recent Telegraph story.
Yours sincerely, Rt Hon Dame Joan Ruddock MP
This Saturday campaigners will also be remembering the grandmother who took her own life and left a suicide note blaming the bedroom tax. Read the Newstatesman story.
There is also a Facebook group for the campaign.