Saturday, April 13, 2013

Wirral Combat The Bedroom Tax Activists Pay Visit To Housing Association

On Monday afternoon, a group of twenty Wirral Combat The Bedroom Tax activists demonstrated at the Birkenhead offices of Wirral Partnership Homes, before securing a meeting with three executives from Wirral's largest 'social housing' provider.

During that session, chief executive Brian Simpson refused to redesignate properties so that tenants wouldn't be fined benefits, and conceded that he couldn't rule out evictions, even though he didn't consider the bedroom tax "fair". Throughout, a picture emerged of well-paid bureaucrats mainly concerned with maintaining their own privileges, and caught between the government's aim of privatising them on the one hand and the anger of tenants on the other.

We arrived at the WPH building for noon, and held a short demonstration outside with our placards, before venturing into the main lobby. A representative took our letter, which called on "Social Housing Association Landlords with properties on the Wirral to commit themselves to:

1) Follow the example of Knowsley Housing Trust and redesignate properties from 3 to 2 bedroom + boxroom
2) An assurance that court action involving Tenants who fall into arrears as a result of this Bedroom Tax, will not be taken. 
3) No Evictions of those who fall into arrears as a result of the Bedroom Tax."

We were initially told that Brian Simpson was in a meeting, but we didn't budge, and eventually Simpson, (assistant director) John Mycock and (head of policy and strategy) Mark Armstrong emerged. Simpson offered to meet "a few of you", but when this was refused he agreed to meet with our whole gang. The alternative would have been to call the police, and this would have been very bad public relations.

The discussion with the WPH executives went on for quite a while, even as the news of Thatcher's death filtered through. The first part of the video can be seen below, and others can be clicked through to from there.
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