British bedroom tax makes people homeless

This music video from Ireland is called Lough Sheelin Eviction, by the Wolfe Tones.

The song tells about one of many similar tragedies in nineteenth-century Ireland.

The Wikipedia article about the lake Lough Sheelin writes about it:

Lough Sheelin (from Irish: Loch Síodh Linn meaning “lake of the fairy pool”) is a limestone freshwater lough (lake) in Ireland located in County Westmeath, County Meath and County Cavan near the villages of Finnea (also spelled Finea) and Mountnugent and the town of Granard, (County Longford).

The lake is naturally populated by brown trouts whose native stocks had depleted in recent years, hence the Central Fisheries Board stocking with farm reared the lake for the pleasure of anglers.[1] Trout stocks are estimated to be over 100,000.

It is also the setting of the song “Lough Sheelin Eviction”, made popular by The Wolfe Tones. The lyrics tell the sad, but unfortunately, too typical story of a family being evicted from their home by an unforgiving & merciless landlord. Absentee landlords were common in Ireland and for many landlords the main interest was income rather than the conditions of their tenants. Many landlords realized that they could get a higher income by turning their properties to pasture than to continue with the old practice of collecting rents from tenant farmers. Evictions were the most common way of getting rid of unwanted tenants. In the song, the woman, Eileen, dies in the cold and the man is forced to flee his native land in order to find a new home.

It seems that the British government now wants to bring back the horrors of nineteenth-century Ireland to twenty-first century Britain.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Stop ‘bedroom tax’ evictions

The Bedroom Tax will lead to massive rises in rent arrears and homelessness, hitting the poorest people the hardest, Margaret Hodge, Chairwoman of the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of MPs said yesterday.

The tax comes in on 1st April next week, hitting housing benefit (HB) for tenants deemed to have spare bedrooms, who will have a 14 per cent cut for those with one extra room, and 25 per cent for those with two or more.

The bedroom tax will see affected tenants lose an average of £14 a week, while the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) expects 660,000 tenants will be affected by the cut. It is certain to lead to mass evictions.

Committee chair, Labour MP Margaret Hodge, said: ‘Even small reductions in housing benefit can have a severe impact on the finances of the poorest people.’

Sarah Newton, of Dingle Combat Bedroom Tax, told News Line that the evictions would have to be stopped.

‘The first thing that springs to mind is that communities will defend themselves out of necessity. They have nowhere to downsize to.

‘Single households are being multiply hit with removals of benefits. There are people who are already affected because they are disabled who are now being affected by the bedroom tax and they can’t afford it.

‘Coupled with the absense of adequate social housing to downsize to, communities will have to defend themselves, it’s not a question of should they, it’s one of necessity. They are between a rock and a hard place.

‘The Labour Party needs to take responsibility and take action, their handling nauseates me.

‘Labour brought in a bedroom tax for private tenants and they have no plans to abolish the bedroom tax if they get back into power, so any noise they are now making against the bedroom tax is empty, absolutely empty.

‘I think there should have been general strikes for the last three years. Calling a march once a year is an empty gesture.

‘The bedroom tax is happening in the context that, for the first time in my life at the age of 42, I am comfortable in using a phrase like class war.

This is class war, an out and out attack on the most vulnerable in society. Services, jobs and homes are all being cut to ribbons.’

The PAC also warned that when Universal Credit comes into force, paying benefit to the claimant rather than the landlord, it will result in a sharp rise in evictions.

Hodge said: ‘Experience from the past suggests that stopping direct payments to social landlords will simply lead to an increase in arrears and evictions.’

More than five million families in England face the choice of putting food on the table or keeping a roof over their heads, housing charity Shelter warned.

Britain: HUNDREDS of thousands of welfare claimants are being denied support by the social services, and are being referred to foodbanks by Job Centre staff if they don’t have enough cash to buy food: here.

19 thoughts on “British bedroom tax makes people homeless

  1. IT feels as though the world is going mad… I may have to stop reading blogs I’m getting so depressed about arms piles in the US, cloning cows in NZ, bees dying everywhere, governments kicking their own people in the teeth…oh dear!!!!


    • Hi Valerie, I hope there will be better news next time at this blog:)

      There is also some good news in this blog post; about people resisting against the bedroom tax.


  2. The UK Government is also totally changing the benefits system, so that you can only apply on line. Of course, if you can afford a computer and on-line access, and have the savvy to negotiate the web site (bet that turns out to be a nightmare!) you probably don’t need the benefits. But you could go down to your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau, except that it’s been shuttered as a cost-saving measure. Meantime, we have over 300 food banks, up from 20 in 2008. But we’re assured this is all good for some strange mythical deity called The Economy. Except it isn’t.


    • Hi Paul, thanks for the comment!

      I think that at the moment, even some people who are Internet savvy and own computers from the time when they still had jobs, need benefits now because of mass sackings etc.


  3. A point of principle to resign

    Tuesday 26 March 2013

    by Ian Mearns

    Last week I voted against the party I have represented in various forms, whether in local government or Parliament, for the past 30 years.

    As a result of my action, I regrettably and with a heavy heart resigned my post as parliamentary private secretary to Ivan Lewis, shadow international development secretary. To do this was no easy thing. But it boiled down to a simple question – was it the right thing to do?

    Much is said in political circles of the squeezed middle, and my concern as an MP is of course for those in middle and lower-middle incomes. But the welfare of those at the very bottom has to be a priority.

    Who was it that said they would be “with you in tough times?” For nearly three years I have watched the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government push through policies that will have a significant impact on those least able to weather those tough times.

    I have long talked about the coming “Black April,” when on the first of the month hundreds of thousands of families will be hit by a combination of bedroom taxes, cuts to council tax benefit and freezes to child benefit and working tax credits, as well as benefits caps, direct payments of benefits and having to apply online.

    Experience has shown us that many will simply not cope with these regimes and so will lead to significantly increased levels of hardship.

    Some are already struggling because of changes that directly affect low-income families such as increases in VAT, the capping of benefits uprating to 1 per cent and the Chancellor’s changes to the benefits system whereby benefits rise by CPI and not RPI.

    Since I was elected as the MP for Gateshead in 2010 I have dealt with hundreds of people hit by the punitive and ideological crusade of this government.

    It is still a legitimate question to ask why should people, ordinary people, at the bottom of the income scale have to pay for the huge mistakes and casino economics of the bankers which has got us where we are today?

    It is working people, and those desperately seeking paid employment, that are feeling the most pain from these policies.

    They are very often the people stuck in cycles of low-paid work and increasingly reliant on topping up shortcomings in their income with benefits and tax credits.

    So to freeze these benefits is to disproportionately hit low-income families.

    Where are families with limited incomes meant to find £20 or £30 a week to make up the shortfalls in their income as a direct consequence of these welfare reforms?

    This is a question I’ve had to ask myself a lot of late.

    For me, the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Bill was a moment where I had to challenge the government directly.

    Where is the fairness in retrospectively changing the law to absolve the government of responsibility for its predicted and monumental mismanagement of the workfare scheme?

    It has to be said that there is profound disagreement and unease with the Parliamentary Labour Party over the party’s position on welfare.

    Last Monday there was a meeting of the PLP, and it must be said that the overwhelming majority of those voicing concerns and unease about the Bill were not the usual suspects.

    I believe that the Labour Party has got itself on the wrong side of the argument when it comes to welfare reform.

    Instead of protecting those who are most vulnerable, it seems we’re keeping in step with a coalition government that is hell-bent on cutting the safety nets intended to help those in freefall.

    Labour needs to be a party that protects those who need protection.

    Welfare to work is a two-part equation – welfare and work. In many parts of the country, demand for jobs far outstrips supply, yet people who are desperately seeking real work are being forced to work for nothing to gain, in some instances, a very poor work experience when many others would happily do the jobs that their labour is replacing. Where there is no real work, there have to be decent safety nets for real people.

    It is of great concern that we seem to be dancing to a tune of populism that ignores the fact that these are real people’s lives that the government is ruining.

    The background

    Ian Mearns defied party leader Ed Miliband’s instruction to abstain in a Commons vote on the government’s vicious decision to prevent jobseekers from receiving compensation for the docking of welfare payments under the workfare scheme for unpaid labour.

    The Gateshead MP was among 44 Labour members who took a principled stand and voted against the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Bill.

    Turmoil has erupted within the Labour Party in Parliament and across the country following the leadership’s decision not to oppose the Bill.

    It was rushed through Parliament to retrospectively overturn an Appeal Court judgement which would have resulted in £130 million in benefit rebates to nearly 250,000 jobseekers.

    The court found that the jobseekers, who had been made to work unpaid for months in some cases, had been unlawfully punished.


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