Thursday, 21 March 2013
Kill the bedroom tax , defend all at risk, cant pay wont pay !
As we edge towards April when the much disputed bedroom tax will come into force protests are growing by the week with many protests happening in towns and cities up and down the land. I would like to add that many of these protests were hijacked by the labour party to sit itself as against this tax despite being for a similar tax in 2008 in fact. Could this be what tuition fees were to the lib dems for labour? Time will tell of course. David Cameron and his multi-millionaire family have four homes, mansions in reality. Tory welfare minister David Freud, who is bringing in this law, owns an eight-bedroom mansion and a £1.9 million London home. These well-housed millionaires want council house and housing association tenants to lose 14% of their housing benefit if they're deemed to have one spare room, 25% if they have two. There are things councils can do. There's a huge pot of money from the sale of council houses. Ring-fenced, because of legislation brought in by Margaret Thatcher and not repealed during three terms of a Labour government. And nationalising the banking system under democratic workers' control would free up more resources. This will hit 660,000 households including many disabled people and low-paid workers. Tenants are faced with an impossible choice of moving from their family homes or being left with a much smaller income. This situation will only get worse in October when benefit caps are introduced under 'universal credit'. In Scotland working class people are already getting organised On 13 March over 100 people packed into a Glasgow public meeting to build for the 30 March demonstration against the hated bedroom tax. The meeting, bringing together people from across the West of Scotland, agreed to launch a West Scotland Federation of Anti -Bedroom Tax campaigns. Well-known socialist campaigner Tommy Sheridan gave a rousing accounts of his experience of how millions of working class people "melted the iron lady", Margaret Thatcher, by defeating the poll tax through mass non-payment. The lessons of that struggle, Tommy said, can play a vital role in mobilising resistance, and winning the struggle against the bedroom tax today. Socialist Party member and Unison activist Nicola Crawford outlined her experience of building a campaign in Shawlands and Pollokshaws in Glasgow. After a successful public meeting, street meetings of tenants increased the spread of the campaign and gave confidence to more benefit claimants to get involved. Nicola called for a national campaign to build mass resistance to evictions and raised the demand for a council house-building programme. The meeting agreed a resolution calling for the scrapping of the bedroom tax and for a massive programme of council house-building to provide affordable homes for all. The campaign's demands include: • Scrap the bedroom tax • Support those who cannot and will not pay this austerity tax • No evictions for rent arrears. Build an army of anti-eviction campaigners to stop evictions • Councils should rule out eviction for bedroom tax and fight the cuts • Write off all debt due to the bedroom tax. Demand compensation to councils and housing associations as part of a mass campaign to win back the money stolen from public services by the Con-Dems • For a major programme of council house-building to provide affordable homes for all The pressure being put on the government and local councils is starting to tell we may have to prepare ourselves to defend those being evicted from their homes at this point labour party members and officials will leave the campaign and stick to empty rhetoric. They could pledge to reverse this tax if elected yet no such pledge looks likely. So it’s left to us the organised labour movement and the socialists to get organised and raise the ideas of mass resistance. It will be tricky as those affected are more in some areas than others no doubt quite deliberately thought out by the Tories but we must link up where a common issue arrises. This can be defeated and we must link it to the need to fight all cuts and raise the need for a working class political alternative which could mean supporting or standing for TUSC this may in the local county council elections TUSC is looking to contest.