Aug 122013

By Renee Margaret Slater.

The ‘In-Tent On Action Against the Bedroom Tax in Aberdeen’ at Union Terrace Gardens event is to highlight the plight of those faced with paying the Bedroom Tax in our city. We want the event to emphasize what may happen to public parks when tenants are faced with eviction due to housing debts.

The Bedroom Tax has been brought in by statute to charge people who have spare bedrooms, who are on Housing Benefit and reside in social housing.

Those people in such properties will have money deducted from their benefits – 14% for one bedroom and 25% for more than one.

This legislation discriminates against those disadvantaged through low wage and those who are unemployed. ‘In-Tent on Action Against the Bedroom Tax in Aberdeen’ will highlight what could happen when those who cannot afford to pay the Bedroom Tax are evicted from their homes.

This government wants tenants in Housing Associations & Council Housing (i.e. not private) who are on Housing Benefit to downsize to smaller properties. There aren’t the smaller properties for families to move into. This situation is common throughout the UK. One of our members in Aberdeen Against The Bedroom Tax has acquired information from ACC on the actual waiting figures regarding one bedroom properties in the city.

The number of people on the waiting list for one bedroom properties is 3,855. The number of one bedroom properties available to rent is 89.

Something is definitely not adding up here. This situation is repeated throughout the UK.

In-Tent on Action Against the Bedroom Tax in Aberdeen is supported by a large group of people directly affected by the consequences of the legislation, plus Aberdonians not affected but disgusted by the effects of a government that has no concern about the outcome of its benefit cuts on the poorest sections of our community.

Unlike the poll tax that affected everyone – this Bedroom Tax legislation only affects those on housing benefit residing in Social Housing.

Moving To Other Premises:  One of our members who has an autistic son – has been told by Aberdeen City Council that she must leave her 3 bedroom house in Torry to move into 3 bedroom premises in Manor Avenue. There is no logic here. Apart from the massive upheaval it will bring for her and her child, she still has to pay the bedroom tax, only it will be without family and friends’ support.

We have one major obstacle to overcome. We are faced with government propaganda machine that brands ordinary people on benefits as scroungers. They have a ‘Jeremy Kyle’ attitude to claimants that assumes that ‘everyone is on the take’.

Discretionary Housing Payment is to help those who have paid for the Bedroom Tax from their general benefits – money that is used for food, clothing, travel etc. Discretionary housing payments are worth only a small fraction of the total cut in housing benefit and are often only temporary, meaning problems can go unresolved. In Aberdeen, the City Council has decided not to repay the money to people affected but to add the cash to their Council Tax.

Many people who have to pay the Bedroom Tax are now in arrears with their rent. Once tenants are in arrears they are excluded from the exchange list and therefore cannot move to smaller properties. A vicious cycle ensues, forcing tenants into making painful choices.

This legislation has forced people to juggle paying rent and buying food for their children. Many have resorted to food banks.

We wish to ensure that ordinary citizens in Aberdeen are not fooled by a Coalition Government which accuses friends and families of ‘ripping off the taxpayer’. For every so-called scrounger there are 9 others suffering from this insidious Bedroom Tax. The In-Tent on ‘Action Against the Bedroom Tax in Aberdeen’ – in UTG’ is an opportunity for Aberdonians to see for themselves what may happen when we begin to see our parks occupied by ordinary people who have been evicted due to arrears.

Our protest is a message to both Aberdeen City Council and the UK Torry LibDem Coalition – Do not be complacent – your legislation WILL force families onto the streets!

Those expected to turn up on Saturday 24th August are people already paying Bedroom Tax, Those In arrears due to Bedroom Tax and supporters who see their friends and neighbours suffering from this insidious legislation.

This will be a peaceful and symbolic gesture from the people of Aberdeen in support of those affected by the Bedroom Tax. Similar actions are happening in over 30 cities throughout the UK.

We request that people be peaceful & to keep the park clean. We expect tents, gazebos, food parcels soup kitchen & some musicians. There should be speakers explaining the effects of the Bedroom Tax on the population. There will also be stalls with information..

 ‘In-Tent on Action Against the Bedroom Tax in Aberdeen’

 Union Terrace Gardens, Aberdeen

 24th August 2013

 12 noon – 8.00pm

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  8 Responses to “In-Tent On Action Against Bedroom Tax – Aug 24th”

  1. If someone has a 3 bedroom property and a family is waiting for that type of house then it makes sense the single person downsizes, obviously if a house is available. A good scheme that will work as long as people are not penalised for having a property when no other is available.

    As for the story about a family being asked to move from a 3 bedroom to another 3 bedroom I refuse to believe that.

    • It wouldn’t surprise me in the least George in regard to the family being moved from a 3 bed to a 3 bed. Aberdeen City Council works in mysterious ways. I was regarded as being inadequately housed in a private room and kitchen many years ago. What was I offered? A room and kitchen! Nothing would surprise me about ACC. They simply make the rules up as they go along and deny any liability for any shortcomings on their part.

      • I have lived in an Aberdeen council house for many years, and as a landlord they are very, very nasty.

    • George. Did you in the article thow many 1 bedroom properies there are in Aberdeen? 86! Given the amount of tenants requesting to downsize, they could be paying Bedroom Tax for many years before local authorities can get round to building enough suitable accommodation.. COSLA statistics have already stated that this could be up to 25 years..
      As for the woman with the autistic child, you seem surprised! It is in fact a true account. I know the woman and I can verify it as accurate.. If you come to UTG on the 24th August you can meet her yourself.
      This tax has only one reason for existance, to stigmatise low waged and unemployed workers & make them scapegoats for far greater problems in the economy. They are being blamed for problems created by speculators & gamblers on the movement of stockmarkets. It was their greed that caused the slump, not a low-waged worker in B&Q, Sainsburys or the local shop. It is these people who claim Housing Benefit. And it is these people who struggle & juggle daily to find enough money to pay for clothes & food for their families. Dicretionary Housing Payment – (An extra amount recieved if a tenant is struggling to find Bedroom Tax payments) lat only six months, In some circumstances up to one year. There is no right of appeal, the government scrappet that on April 1st when the Bedroom Tax legislation becam law. If a tenant goe into arrears due to housing debt – they cannot transfer. It is vicious. People are getting into more & more debt & it will get worse. So if you can, lets stand up for our neighbours & friends who will be affected by this cruel legislation.. August 24th is a symbolic gesture. It is happening in 30 cities around the counry. Aberdeen is playing it’s part too. We don’t have much – but one thing we all have are voices. Let local & national politicians hear them.

    • My God George you are one big bit of rubbish! I have NEVER read anything positive from you – are you sick?

  2. We should ask ourselves what brought this legislation about. Could it have been the private landlords in the South East & London ripping off the taxpayer by charging inflated rents(Aberdeen being a close second)? Would a more sensible solution not have been to put in place legislation curbing rent levels?

    It’s all very well bleating about tenants being in larger properties than they need. Had The CONservatives not raced to sell off the housing stock in the first place and instead brought about a massive social house building programme instead, the problem would have been partially resolved. The fact is that council housing was, in the main, two bed flats. Those allocated them were assessed on need. If you need a roof over your head you can’t afford to be too choosey. The problem is that not nearly enough one bedded properties were built leading to single people being offered two bedroomed properties which they did not need or want. Hardly their fault. To penalise them is fundamentally and morally wrong.

    Ordinary people are being hit because of The Tories obsession with market forces and monetarism. They brought about the problem but are making no effort whatsoever to resolve it instead trying to put one section of the populace against the other. Divide and rule – the oldest tactic in the book.

  3. I have to admit that I am lucky and the bedroom tax does not affect me, but I think it was introduced for genuine reasons i.e. to free up larger houses for those that need it. I know looking into it the system has some serious flaws especially when you read of parents with sons, daughters in the army being hit with it, but if you only need a two bedroomed house and you are in a 3 then I believe you should downsize and let the ones that need the 3 bedroomed move in. Again the flaw here would be that the Aberdeen council apparently does not have the smaller houses to downsize people, but it this actually true, I mean has anyone actually counted the empty properties the council actually has.

    We could look back and blame the fact that the council brought it the right to buy, but the main problem we now face is the fact that councils across the country did not invest that money into building other properties for future generations of tenant’s on this is what we are now left with.

    But going back to the original point I still believe that this is a good thing providing it is managed correctly and all possible solutions have been examined

  4. @Tom Newton there are very few smaller properties to move to right across the UK! The bedroom tax was introduced with one thought in mind to undermine the poorest in society. What can possibly be good about forcing people onto the street? This is by far the most nasty policy ever to be thought up and this government knew the consequences before introducing it.
    In answer to your other point regarding investing the money from the sale of council homes into building more homes,Maggie Thatcher included a clause that prohibited council from doing this

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