British anti-bedroom tax protest


Protesters against the bedroom tax, in Leeds city centre. Photo: Ross Parry

By Peter Lazenby in Leeds, England:

Leeds unites to defeat the bedroom tax

Sunday 21 April 2013

Nearly 2,000 people took to the streets of Leeds on Saturday in a protest against the coalition government‘s vicious bedroom tax.

Young and old united with disabled people, community and trade union activists to voice not only opposition to the tax but resistance to it.

The protesters marched through the city centre displaying the banners and flags of Unite, Unison, PCS, along with those of community and tenants’ organisations.

“There were home-made placards, with some saying “Can’t Pay Won’t Pay” – reminiscent of the anti-poll tax campaign which led to the downfall of Margaret Thatcher.

The marchers gathered for a rally outside the city’s art gallery.

The rally was rounded off by outstanding speeches – not from politicians but from council house tenants, the ordinary people hit by the bedroom tax. Several said they had never taken part in a protest before, making their first brave and moving public speeches.

Liz Kitchen was one of them.

“Why should I be forced to move from my home?” she said.

“I’ve been a taxpayer for more than 40 years. Why can’t my grandchildren have a bed when they come to stay over at the weekend?

“Why should my daughter be homeless when she leaves university this summer? Why is it that working people are being forced out of their homes in one of the richest countries on Earth?”

She told the crowds: “We will stand up against this tax. We will fight and we will win!”

Wheelchair-user Jenny Salpherson, kept upright by a brace around her head, faces the prospect of eviction because she has a small room in which she keeps equipment which helps her move around her flat.

“I have a tiny, two-bedroom flat which has been specially adapted for me,” she said. “There is nowhere for me to go.”

Leeds City Council came under attack for failing to adopt a “no evictions” policy to protect the 8,000 social-housing tenants hit by the tax.

There were reports of resistance and anger growing in major towns and cities across Britain.

See also here.

9 thoughts on “British anti-bedroom tax protest

  1. The bedroom tax has nothing to do with the trivial amounts it might raise. It is part of the Orwellian strategy of equating welfare with scrounging, and of blaming the victims for this government’s destructive economic policy.

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