‘Bedroom Tax’ campaign to protest outside Newham Council meeting
- Credit: Archant
Campaigners will picket the Town Hall on Thursday to demand that no residents will be evicted as a result of government welfare changes.
Members of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) and the East London Socialist Party met up in Durning Hall, Earlham Grove, Forest Gate on June 5 to form a No Bedroom Tax in Newham (NBTN) group.
The spare room subsidy - or “bedroom tax” as it is sometimes known - is the coalition government’s cut to housing benefit for claimants deemed to be in over-occupied properties that is estimated to affect around 3,100 households in Newham.
NBTN will protest outside a cabinet meeting at Newham Town Hall, East Ham, from 4pm to persuade the all-Labour council not to evict tenants who are behind on their rent due to cuts in benefits or to reclassify rooms so they do not count as bedrooms.
Helen Pattison, East London Socialist Party secretary, said: “It’s reported that the council has spent £185m on temporary accommodation since 2009, including sending people to live far away, making it impossible for them to continue their jobs and breaking up communities.
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“As the effect of the ‘bedroom tax’ continues to bite, alongside other government cuts, this is going to continue.
“But Newham Council is not lifting a finger to look after their residents who elected them.”
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Cllr Andrew Baikie, Newham Council’s executive member for housing, said the reform could “cause significant hardship to many Newham residents”.
He added: “Like many other local authorities we will be placed in a difficult situation.
“We have made it clear to the government on many occasions our concerns that their proposals will have a negative impact on the lives of our poorest and most vulnerable residents.”
Cllr Baikie said that the council has helped residents understand their options and limited the impact of the cuts by writing to everyone affected and by holding an information and advice event.
He added: “We are doing all we can to help those affected by these harsh changes.
“We would welcome the support of those who challenge the ‘bedroom tax’ who perhaps, rather than criticising councils, should target their protest at the real culprits in central government.”