Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Concessions show bedroom tax can be defeated!

Today we’ve seen chinks in the armour of the coalition government over the so called bedroom tax. A truly vicious attack on some of the poorest in society. The coalition has made some concessions with the bedroom tax to take some of the non-spare rooms out of the new charge. Changes mean that foster careers will not be charged for rooms, as long as they have had a foster child or become an approved foster carer in the past 12 months and army personnel living at home will be allowed to keep their room even if they are away for over a year. Yesterday, it was announced that seriously disabled children would be considered to need their own bedroom but that will be a decision to be made by individual councils and no real definition has emerged as to what will be exempted and what won’t. These concessions show that the government is worried about the backlash over this charge and are recognising that there are far more “exceptional” cases where people need their “spare” room, than cases where they don’t and could move. Over 50 demonstrations are being held on Saturday, with anger growing to this tax. These exemptions remove some people but there are still many disabled people who will be charged for their “spare” room which is used for an adaptation or for equipment storage or for a partner/family member who is also a carer to sleep in. There are still separated parents with visiting children who will have to pay to keep a room for their child to stay in – and grandparents in the same situation with grandchildren. There are also people who have lived, worked and raised a family in a community that will be forced to move because there are no smaller properties available on their estate. No mention has been made as to whether the Discretionary Housing Payment fund will be reduced, as £5m was intended for Foster Carers. This fund is supposed to cover all the exceptional cases of people who clearly do need extra rooms or those who should be allowed to remain living in their community, but was never likely to be enough. Join the protests in your area on Saturday and help to ensure that it is not needed at all. This can be defeated lets show the government we have the spirit of the poll tax still. Can’t pay won’t pay!

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