Angry protestors will take to the streets of Brixton today in an action against the bedroom tax and housing policies under the coalition government.
Activists from the UK Uncut group, a grassroots movement arguing for alternatives to budget cuts, will meet at 11.30am at Windrush Square today to start their action. The protest is supported by the Lambeth Green Party and Lambeth Save Our Services.
With the introduction of the ‘bedroom tax’ this financial year, the government is now charging council and housing association tenants who “under-occupy” their homes. It has calculated that one bedroom is enough for two children under 10, regardless of their gender, and that two siblings of the same sex should share a bedroom until age 16. If households have one “spare” bedroom under these rules they will lose 14% of their housing benefit. The bedroom tax will affect over 300 households in the Coldharbour Ward alone.
Andrew Child of Brixton Uncut said: “The bedroom tax is attempting to victimise people who more than any other group are likely to live in cramped, inadequate accommodation. It’s perverse. What next, a window tax?
“The fact is that no alternative local accommodation is being made available to those under threat of bedroom tax eviction.This is not just about protesting at this callous government. It’s also a call for action from Lambeth Council. Councils up and down the UK, from Dundee to Brighton, have said they will not allow Bedroom Tax evictions. Yet Lambeth fails to act. Instead it evicts people from cooperative housing, signs off on new housing developments without social housing provision and threatens to demolish model estates.”
In an interview with the Brixton Blog earlier this year, Lambeth Council leader Cllr Lib Peck said: “We are determined to do everything within our power to alert Lambeth residents to the government’s benefit cuts and provide support and advice to local people on managing their finances and opportunities to find jobs and training.”A report from Labour-run Lambeth council on the benefits cuts also said: “Many families may no longer be able to afford their private rental housing…Obviously there is unlikely to be sufficient cheaper accommodation in Lambeth so families will be forced to move further afield.”
Brixton Uncut is also arguing for more social and affordable housing in the area, including getting developers to include genuinely affordable housing in their developments.