Posts Tagged ‘bedroom tax’

Support a HASL Member affected by the Bedroom Tax

Posted: April 18, 2014 by lambethsaveourservices in Demonstrate, Rally & Occupy!, Housing
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Reposted from Housing Action for Southwark and Lambeth

Come and show support for a HASL member’s bedroom tax refund. We’ve had enough of being messed around by the housing office!

Join us on Friday 25th April, 11:50am meeting outside Brixton Customer Centre, Olive Morris House, Brixton Hill. Bring friends, family, neighbours!

Ellen is due a refund of the bedroom tax that she has been forced to pay for a year now, as she meets the criteria for the bedroom tax loophole. However, the housing office have not been all that helpful in getting this refund back to her.

The housing office have taken over a month to respond to our appeal letter and we only received the unfavourable response after chasing them up about this. The response gave very little detail or evidence of why this negative decision had been made.

The bedroom tax (one of many brutal welfare and housing cuts) is causing great hardship to the hundreds of thousands of people it is affecting. The refund offers a tiny respite from this stress and suffering by returning a small sum of money that should never have been taken off of them in the first place. It takes little effort from the council and will make a huge different to the people who receive it.

Join us to make our challenge at the housing office to demand the bedroom tax refund for Ellen and that our dealings with the housing office to be met with more respect.

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Axe the Bedroom Tax

Posted: April 13, 2014 by lambethsaveourservices in Housing, Media attention
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Lambeth Save Our Services was one of 25 organisations who signed this letter that was published in last week’s South London Press

SLP letter

As well as having a protest outside the council meeting on 20th November we also sent a delegation inside. Pilgrim Tucker from Unite Community read the following statement. It was greeted with cheers from the public gallery and muted murmurs of approval from some councillors

My name is Pilgrim Tucker. I am the co-ordinator of Unite the Union Community membership in London. I am presenting this deputation with members of Unite Community in Lambeth and other housing activists on behalf of many local groups and individuals who are urging Lambeth Council to do more for their residents on the issue of social housing in the borough.

For some time now we have been working alongside tenants, residents and members of the community on the issue of decent, affordable homes for all. What we have found and continue to fight against is the anxiety, uncertainty and insecurity caused by the wretched bedroom tax and benefit caps brought in by this government.

These measures will hit thousands in our community. Across the borough tenants are living with the fear of homelessness because of rent arrears and the possibility of being uprooted from neighbourhoods where they may have lived all their lives.The council should act to prevent this insecurity, by reassuring the tenants that they will not be evicted due to the bedroom tax, and set an example to housing associations that are already starting legal proceedings against tenants.

To add to this council property and land is being sold to private developers leading to a reduction in social housing in the borough. Where new tenancies for social housing for tenants are proposed they include unaffordably high rents and shorter, more insecure tenancies.

The policy of ‘short life’ recall threatens people who have been in their homes since the 1970s. Pensioners are among these people who have maintained social housing that the council abandoned. These people were given categorical promises by their Labour councillors that their right to stay in their homes would be defended!

The council says it is using the proceeds from the sale of council owned land and void properties to refurbish existing council properties, but this is a short sighted approach. We need to stop the sale of existing council housing and go further – to start to build new social housing which is available at rents that ordinary local people can actually afford to pay.

Without such action we will see soaring rents and the destruction of secure tenancies for our communities, and risk the loss of the vibrant diverse population and culture for which Lambeth is rightly celebrated.

To have a decent home is a basic human need without which well-being and progress is not possible. With the increase in soup kitchens and homelessness in Lambeth we call upon this council to:

Make a public commitment that no legal action will be taken against tenants who are in arrears due to the the bedroom tax and benefit cuts.

Take no disciplinary action against staff that refuse to be involved with legal action and evictions against tenants.

Give tenancies to those currently occupying short life co-op housing in Lambeth.

Stop the transfer of council land and property to private developers.

Build 100% council homes at low rents with secure tenancies.

Pressure the government to abolish the bedroom tax, restore benefit cuts and undergo a massive, publicly owned house building programme to end this crisis.

20th November poster
Lots of people will be protesting outside the full council meeting this Wednesday:

We’re having a united protest outside the Town Hall from 6pm on Wednesday 20th November

Many people will be meeting outside Lambeth College on Brixton Hill from 5pm to march to Lambeth Town Hall

Please come, and please bring all your friends.

20th November poster
The is a full council meeting of Lambeth Council on Wednesday 20th November and two campaigns Lambeth SOS supports a holding a joint lobby

Lobby – Save Brixton From Property Developers
No Bedroom Tax Evictions, Save Lambeth College in Brixton, Build More Council Housing
Wednesay 20th November 5:30pm – 7pm
Lambeth Town Hall

We need to make sure people know about it over the coming week. We’re doing the following to publicise it

  • Postering Streatham shops – Wednesday 13th November – 6:30pm – Meet at the Telford Avenue Bus Garage on Streatham Hill
  • Postering South Lambeth Road shops – Time TBC
  • Stall – Friday 15th November – 12noon – Outside the Barrier Block on Somerlyton Road
  • Stall – Saturday 16th November – 12 noon – Streatham High Road (opposite Odeon, outside Sainsburys)

If you can help out with any of these please contact us, and include your phone number in the email (please don’t just turn up as they may be changed at short notice)

Soft copy publicity is available here. If you want hard copy publicity please contact us

Please tell everyone you know about the 20th November lobby. We need it to be big if we are to convince the council that everyone deserves a decent home and a decent education

Earlier this month the Brixton Blog hosted a meeting on how we can can support people hit by the bedroom tax and other benefit cuts. We published a write up by Ian earlier this month. There’s now a full write up on Brixton Blog site

If people are interested in helping out with the campaign, why not come to the housing activists meeting this Thursday:

Thursday 26th September
Housing Activists Planning Meeting
Hosted by Unite the Union Community Branch
6pm, Hambrook House, Brixton Hill

Let us know you’re coming on facebook

By Ian Townson.

Unite community leafleted many estates in the borough to publicise last night’s meeting at Lambeth Town Hall hosted by Brixton Blog on the bedroom tax. It paid off. The meeting was well attended and and there were many contributions from tenants affected by this wretched tax.

Lambeth town hall, Brixton, London.

Lambeth town hall, Brixton, London. 

Pilgrim Tucker (Unite Community Organiser), Ron Hollis (Lambeth Tenants’ Council) and Elizabeth Maytom (Brixton & Norwood Foodbank) made spirited attacks on the bedroom tax and increasing poverty defending tenants’ rights to secure accommodation free from the fear of eviction. EM told of the shocking rise in the number of people using food banks.

In contrast Cllr Pete Robbins (Housing and Regeneration) smothered everything in the cold, wet blanket of managerial blandness. Without any conception of the need for collective action against the bedroom tax from tenants and allies he reduced everything to the level of individual solutions to individual problems in terms of debt management etc. He also refused point blank to endorse a written document pledging not to evict tenants who fall into arrears because of the bedroom tax. Nor would he promise to prevent the imminent eviction of Charmain Lodge (sign the petition).

He implied in a Brixton Rebel tweet that the only significant advice he was given at the meeting was from a political group from the far left thus giving the impression that his audience consisted of the ‘usual suspects’ of well-versed politicos. This completely ignored the fact that most of the contributions were from tenants and was clearly an attempt to invalidate the meeting.

Lewisham Hospital was given as an example of successful collective action with a demonstration of 25,000 people preventing the closure of the hospital and forcing Jeremy Hunt to run for cover with his tail between his legs. That’s the kind of action we want Lambeth Council to organise. Not much chance of that. We the people of Lambeth allied with others will fix it between us.

BB TMSO

Lambeth Save Our Services supported The Mass Sleep Out protest that look place last Saturday to highlight the homelessness that will be caused by the bedroom tax. This protest was reported on the front page of the Brixton Blog. You can read the article here

Lots of issues happening with housing in Lambeth

  • There’s a Mass Sleep Out in Windrush Square this Saturday to highlight the homelessness that will be caused by the bedroom tax
  • Lambeth Council are trying to evict housing coops across the borough, many of whom have been there for over 30 years
  • Lambeth Council are planning to demolish the Cressingham Gardens estate and replace it with an estate with far fewer affordable homes
  • Lambeth Unite the Union Community Branch have called a planning meeting to discuss how to move these campaigns forward

    Thursday 22nd August
    Planning Meeting – Stop Lambeth’s Housing Crisis
    6:30pm, Rotunda, Papworth Way, Cressingham Gardens Estate
    Let us know you’re coming on facebook

    Everyone is very welcome

    The Mass Sleep Out, which Lambeth Save Our Services supports, is on the front page of this week’s Brixton & South London Press

    SLP re TMSO

    The Mass Sleep Out was also covered in the Brixton Blog

    Please come to the event on Saturday 24th, and please help us advertise it