#bedroom tax protest- the next stage.
Since writing this there has been more coverage in the main stream press-not of the demos of course but of Osborne perpetuating the myths- no, let’s be honest, lies- about those in low paid jobs, unemployed and disabled. The Philpotts have been used as representative of the welfare poor rather than the neighbours in Allenton who tried to rescue the kids and who gave so generously to a fund before the true horror was known.
In a Guardian article today, Zoe Williams suggests we don’t get mad but get even. She concludes her article by saying:
We won’t eradicate this vitriol against the poor with reason or facts or fury of our own; only greater equality can rebuild normal trust in one another. Or, in other words – don’t get mad, get even.
I disagree. However difficult it is, we can’t wait for equality to suddenly emerge. If we carry on banging our heads against a brick wall, one day that wall will collapse. There is talk of a national strike. That’s not going to happen. But there are small things we can all do:
1) Continue to try and present facts.
2) See below. If you are directly affected by the bedroom tax,ask for written explanation and appeal
3) Appeals need to be in writing. If you are not directly affected, see if you can help others..
And so to my original post…
Today has seen -belatedly- protests against the bedroom tax in a number of cities across the uk. Largely unreported, these demonstrations have brought together a cross section of our people, those who realise what is going on and what it means.
Unfortunately there will be scant coverage of this in the main stream press. Not surprisingly.
This powerful piece by Polly Toynbee expresses clearly the problem- the majority of people are accepting the cuts because the narrative scroungers v strivers (my post) has gained credit despite it being built on lies.
I have stated my views on the bedroom tax in a previous post – not only will it cause extreme hardship – not something that will unsettle the condem coalition unduly- but it will not achieve what they claim they want it to achieve: cuts in government spending.
Since writing that post I have thought of some of the indirect consequences- intended or otherwise- of the Housing Benefit changes and I believe that, one way or another we will all be affected. Some examples that spring to mind:
- There will be an increase in evictions and in cases of homelessness which will need to be dealt with by your Local Authority. Increased costs in officers’ time, in use of costly bed and breakfast accommodation. Someone- us- will have to pay for this inefficient use of resources.
- Children will have to move school as their parents or carers are forced to find somewhere else to live . Do you realise the disruption caused in a class when children move in and out of a school? It has an impact on the whole class and on their learning.
- As we continue to fail to provide adequate social housing, more people will be forced into the expensive private sector. A single person, living in a 2bed social housing flat may need to move to a shared house in the private rented sector- probably more expensive, less energy efficient and potentially removing a property from the “buy to live in ” sector into the “buy to rent” sector as private landlords exploit this new market.
I’m sure you could all add to this list (please do) but I hope you get the point I’m trying to make- this affects us all. And if we do escape these consequences somehow- what about the consequences, the reality, of living in a society where the gap between rich and poor- even relatively well off and poor- continues to increase?
There are more benefit changes to come. All with the same impact of creating a greater gap between the poor and the relatively well off.
The labour party has done little to dispel the myths surrounding those who find themselves in need of claiming benefits – don’t you just wish they would come out with a clear agenda?
So what next? From Monday, the bedroom tax is in force. Those directly affected do have a right to question decisions and to appeal. DO IT! And if you are not directly affected, help and encourage those who are to do it.
The Black Triangle disability group have produced this guide to challenges and appeals which outlines the general procedure. Please read then find out from your local authority what the specific procedure is where you live. This is not just about clogging up the system but a way of demonstrating how people will be affected and why the whole thing doesn’t work.
I don’t just want to be in the position, in a month or two’s time, to say I told you so.