Monday, September 23, 2013
South Wirral Demo Demands End To Bedroom Tax
The demonstration walked the two miles from Bromborough Rake train station to Eastham One Stop Shop, where appeal letters were handed in. In comparison to the demonstration called by a single Rock Ferry estate in July, there were relatively fewer participants from the local community, as distinct from those activists showing their solidarity. However, the event was almost certainly the first protest ever to take place in Bromborough, and the noisy chants will have raised much awareness of the local group.
The route showed something of the class divides which can exist even within the same town, with some parts more mansion tax than bedroom tax. There were whispers of "how the other half live", as we passed immaculately kept massive lawns and multiple expensive cars parked on driveways. It was noted that the general public in these areas barely looked at the march. Then down the road we passed through an impoverished area with shuttered shops and (very artistic) graffiti everywhere. Here drivers waved their support, and two teenage boys whose teachers were "on strike" ran alongside and shouted for their friends to join in.
The Merseyside Federation of Anti-Bedroom Tax Groups is recommending that all affected tenants appeal, or re-appeal based on the Fife tribunal rulings. Fife council has now accepted that it went beyond its powers when it accepted the word of housing associations on how many bedrooms are in each property for bedroom tax purposes, without carrying out their own assessment based on 'bedroom' size, useable size, and room usage. Wirral council has so far given no reply to the South Wirral campaign's open letter, demanding that they do the same.