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Bedroom tax, council tax benefit cuts, DLA to PIP: a perfect storm all right

As the Independent reports today:

"Britain's poorest will be hit by a "devastating" barrage of new cuts and taxes tomorrow, as a range of government welfare changes are introduced.

Millions of households will struggle as low-paid workers, disabled people and the unemployed bear the brunt of welfare reform, according to analysis by the housing charity Crisis. It warns that homelessness will rise and queues for food banks will get longer.

The new measures coming into force tomorrow include the so-called bedroom tax, which will mean housing benefit cuts to social housing tenants deemed to have a spare room. This will affect 660,000 households at an average loss of £14 a week, according to Crisis."

In the video below, the excellent Manchester Mule speaks to a range of people who were on yesterday's march against the bedroom tax.

"Tria Hall, a West Gorton resident who spoke at the rally, told Mule that her Phoenix Tenants and Residents Association was planning an organised boycott of the tax.

“There are no one-bedroom houses in our area anymore because they didn’t build any to replace the ones they were knocking down”, she said. “We can’t downsize, most of us, because they were [disability] adapted flats as well and most of us who’ve had adaptations have had to build it from scratch.”

Hall, who uses a wheelchair, said the lack of smaller properties to downsize to had left her and her neighbours in an impossible position. “If they tried to downsize all of us there’s just nowhere to go so this is why we’re running a boycott of it.”



In this article, Northamptonshire couple Sean and Maggie explain how the changes will affect them:

"Sean has Asperger’s syndrome and Maggie has schizophrenia. Unfortunately, the political class does not give a stuff about either. Sean and Maggie are being attacked on all fronts. They say that local support services have gone, or are wildly oversubscribed and too stretched to help them. Atos calls Sean in to face-to-face assessments for employment support allowance that he can barely cope with, they’re liable for the bedroom tax, because they have a small second room in their flat, they’ve been issued with a new council tax demand, because their council tax benefit will be cut from April, and they’re worried about further cuts when the personal independence payment replaces disability living allowance.

It is not unusual for Sean to send me emails which say: “I can’t cope with any more. Why don’t they give us a lethal injection to end our fucking misery?”

And here's Joe Halewood on the bedroom tax as the policy is about to be introduced:

"The bedroom tax does not affect me as I am not a social tenant - yet that still does not stop me from seeing it as pernicious, nasty and especially ill conceived and not thought through.  It is a dog’s breakfast of a policy.

It is not fair.  It will not save the public purse money, it will increase it.  It is not the same as the lot of the private tenant, who in any case costs the public purse £2.17bn more than the social tenant.  It will not free up social housing and about 1% will move meaning 99% will not.  Its decision-making process is so irrational that it may well be legally irrational, a notoriously difficult argument to have accepted.  It is a dog’s breakfast of a policy."

There are some good pictures from yesterday's Glasgow bedroom tax protest here and photos and a report from the joint protest in Liverpool here.


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