Since the 16th March, the Bedroom Tax campaign has seen more than 60 peaceful protests staged successfully in every corner of the UK.

Next Saturday, the 30th March, the campaign steps up a gear as, coinciding with national protests in London and Glasgow, more than another 50 protests are planned throughout the UK – including our grass roots, community protest in Kidderminster – that are again expected to attract tens of thousands, to make their feelings clear on the bedroom tax and its unacceptable effects on the disabled, the sick and their carers, those on low incomes and many others subject to this ill thought out policy.

It is worth repeating what it is about the Bedroom Tax that we are protesting against, and why so many people, affected and not, and so many organizations, will come together in Kidderminster and Wyre Forest, to join the more than 100 towns and cities that, by Easter Sunday, will have sent a clear signal to David Cameron – Scrap your Bedroom Tax, Dave.

According to Dr Eoin Clarke, of the National Bedroom Tax Campaign Committee, the bedroom tax penalizes 660,000 households, nearly 2 million men, women and children; according to the government’s own figures, 63% of which are disabled, and nearly 1 in 4 of whom are lone parents. More victims include those fleeing abusive households, foster parents looking after more than one child, those who have served in our armed forces, carers, the terminally ill, the low paid and grandparents helping with childcare costs.

A Sunday People poll found that just 1 in 4 of UK voters support David Cameron’s Bedroom Tax – and not even a majority of Tory voters support the penalty.

David Cameron knows and has said that there is a housing shortage problem in the UK. Since 1979, a total of 1.5 million social homes have been sold off, but precious few built to replace them. For example, in the first 6 months of 2011, just 454 affordable homes were commenced, a 97% reduction on previous years. Successive governments have failed to build adequate social housing stocks. As well as this, 997,000 homes in England and Wales lie empty. 150,000 of these are social homes. The solution lies in curbing excessive private rents, building homes, and utilising empty homes. It is wrong to blame a failure to tackle all three of these problems on the disabled, and the vulnerable.

Ellen Walker, joint organizer of the Kidderminster protest, said;

“When we have an enormous shortage of social housing, long waiting lists and cutbacks in funding, to handle the administration involved in facilitating house moves for tenants, it is clear that, far from being a mechanism by which social housing might be better allocated, according to need, the under occupation penalty is nothing more than a tax, a bedroom tax, penalising the most vulnerable in our society.

“The bedroom tax neither addresses the shortage of affordable housing, nor helps over crowded families, nor saves a penny of public expenditure. In fact, its implementation shall not only lead to seriously adverse effects on the health and well being of the most vulnerable, but also rising evictions and homelessness, rent arrears and additional expenses for local authorities.

“That, as concerned residents with no political affiliation, we have been able in a matter of weeks, to bring together a coalition of participants, including not only tenants affected by the bedroom tax and homeowners concerned over its effects, but community organizations, faiths, unions and a diverse range of political parties, shows that this is not a matter of left or right, but of Right and Wrong.

“The central objective of our campaign has been to maintain as broad a coalition as possible, so as to send a clear and unequivocal message to David Cameron. The nation opposes the Bedroom Tax. The event on Saturday 30th March will be a family friendly affair and everyone is welcome. Join us in our call to Axe the Tax.”

Yours Sincerely,

Ellen Walker & Brian Ryder


Kidderminster Bedroom Tax Protest