Merseyside Federation of Anti-Bedroom Tax Groups is looking for a group of tenants to publicly declare their non-payment. This is part of a new strategy of pressuring local councils to put their money where their mouth is, and take action on tribunal rulings which should end the coalition’s hated and destructive policy.
The Conservative/Lib Dem government is very much on the back foot over the bedroom tax. The report by Raquel Rolnik of the United Nations was a devastating condemnation of the suffering the measure has imposed on already vulnerable people. Also, tribunal after tribunal has found in favour of tenants, and against councils, over the implementation of the bedroom tax.
The government has declared it will appeal against the judgement in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, which found that Fife Council – and therefore all councils – had acted contrary to the law when they simply took the social landlord’s word over the number of bedrooms in each property. The tribunal found that each council must take into account room size, available floor space, purpose, and usage of each room. It definitively ruled that rooms of under seventy square feet cannot be classed as a bedroom.
When Ed Miliband announced Labour’s pledge to axe the bedroom tax if they come to power in 2015 (years too late for tenants struggling right now), Merseyside’s council leaders chimed in, all saying that they oppose the bedroom tax on a personal level, but can do nothing to challenge national government policy. This is a lie.
All the region’s Labour councils have to do is comply with the law, as interpreted by the Kirkcaldy tribunal! Fife council have already agreed to do this, so if Liverpool, Wirral, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Halton councils all went along, the bedroom tax would be dealt a fatal blow, and the government would have to stop dragging its feet.
To make local council chiefs think again, Merseyside Federation of Anti-Bedroom Tax Groups propose a high profile campaign. Volunteer tenants:
- must be prepared to take a public stand
- would have to have handed in an appeal to help preserve their position (we can help with this)
- would make two public statements – one to the housing association and one to the council, saying why they have been forced into this position