Star date: 25th March 2013 


Manchester Bedroom Tax Protest
Saturday 30th March
Piccadilly Gardens 1pm

Another Bedroom Tax protest is happening this Saturday, as housing companies in Salford confirm that they will evict people from their homes for non-payment of the Tax. Meanwhile, Brighton Council has stated it that it won't evict, and other groups are finding ways around paying the Tax.

Full details here…

Manchester Bedroom Tax Protest 30th March Manchester Bedroom Tax Protest 30th March Manchester Bedroom Tax Protest 30th March
Manchester Bedroom Tax Protest 30th March
click image to enlarge

Another huge protest against the Bedroom Tax is happening this Saturday, at Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester, to follow up the demo a few weeks ago when over 1000 people expressed their anger at the unfair Tax (see here).

This latest protest comes a few days before the Bedroom Tax is officially introduced and two speakers from Salford have been invited to take the stage – Salford Labour Party Councillor Peter Wheeler and Salford City UNISON's Steven North.

The protest comes at a time when councils are being pressured not to evict people who cannot pay the tax. Brighton Council, controlled by the Green Party, has actually stated that it won't evict…

"The so-called 'spare room subsidy' is yet more immoral and harmful legislation from this morality-free coalition government" says Councillor Liz Wakefield "As Greens, we cannot throw people out onto the streets just because they're unable to pay it. I will therefore be bringing proposals that seek to ensure no household will be evicted from a Brighton and Hove City Council owned home as a result of 'spare room subsidy' rent arrears accrued solely from that household's inability to pay this unjust bedroom tax."

In Salford, however it appears to be a different story. Salford Council actually controls very few socially rented properties but its `arms length' housing company, Salix Homes, told the Salford Star that it will evict people as a `last resort'

"To help those affected by the 'bedroom tax' we have done a number of things including visiting all tenants we have identified as being affected to talk through changes and look at their options and we've held a number of information sessions to provide advice and support to tenants" said a Salix spokesperson "We can also provide support and advice to those who wish to take in a lodger and we have set up a hardship fund to support those affected.

"Salix Homes adopts a firm but fair approach to rent arrears and action is taken to assist a tenant from the first week they go into arrears" the statement added "During this process we provide support to tenants to ensure they are claiming all the benefits they are entitled to and we help them budget to manage their debts.

"For those who continue to not pay their rent or who don't engage with our income management officers we take firmer action, including legal action. Where a tenant persistently does not pay their rent or make an arrangement to clear their arrears, then we would consider eviction.

"Eviction for rent arrears is a last resort and something we seek to avoid whilst working with the tenant to help them retain their home."

Meanwhile, City West has a statement on its website directed at tenants that echoes the sentiment… "Refusal to pay could ultimately result in eviction from your home."

Around the country, groups are trying to sort out ways of getting round the Tax. In Liverpool, the Knowsley Housing Trust has reclassified 600 family homes as smaller properties to exempt households from the Tax…

"It had become increasingly apparent that demand for the two- and three-bedroom flats and maisonettes was virtually non-existent" says Sheila Tolley of Knowsley Housing Trust "Rather than having empty homes blight our neighbourhoods we have instead offered these homes to single people and couples without children. After seeking legal advice, we now intend to re-classify these homes while ensuring that the existing households continue to live there.

"Tenants in these properties who would have been classed as under-occupying under the new bedroom tax rules, will directly benefit from these changes" she adds "Unlike most other housing associations, we took the decision to limit rent increases for the past two years. This was to protect our tenants from rising prices and changes brought about by welfare reform, and to try and keep as much disposable income as possible in tenants' pockets and within the local economy.

"We must ensure that the association remains financially viable so it may continue to provide the vital services so many people rely on" she concludes "But we must also find ways to support our tenants, many of whom face financial difficulty while living in one of the most economically challenged parts of the country."

Elsewhere, in Salford, people are already coming up with their own creative ways to get around the Tax (not for publicising), while on the Manchester Protest facebook group site someone has written…

"People avoided the window tax which began in 1698 and ran until 1851 by blocking up their windows ....rise up and take off your bedroom doors that'll make your house open plan ....without a door a room is not separate ...so no tax to pay. It would be good way to make mischief for a ridiculous uncaring government by forcing lots of court cases to prove a point. A point which should never have been raised in the first place."

As the Bedroom Tax, literally, hits home next week, expect even bigger protests, high profile court cases and more creative Tax avoidance schemes…

Manchester Bedroom Tax Protest
Saturday 30th March
Piccadilly Gardens 1pm

For more details and a full list of invited speakers see the Bedroom Tax Protest Manchester facebook group – click here

See also previous Salford Star article…Salford Bedroom Tax Nightmare Looms - click here and follow the links at the end of the article for more info  

Tracy Collins wrote
at 06:25:09 on 18 April 2013
Please sign and share this nearly 9,500 strong petition soon to be delivered to Downing Street. There is space to leave your message for Cameron and/or your reason for signing. Please refrain from profanity..i have to delete offensive remarks. Thank you. Dear Dave, I would like to remind you of something. Your speech on April 27th 2010. You said: “ Let’s mend our broken society.” You said: “ I know I’ve been criticized for saying our society is broken and I know I will again.” You said: "Something is broken. Society is broken. The broken society is not one thing alone. It is not just the crime. It is a whole stew of violence, anti-social behaviour, debt, addiction, family breakdown, educational failure, poverty and despair. This is life - or the backdrop of life - for millions of people in this country. So how should we respond? The first response - the human response - is to feel unutterably sad at so much waste. Wasted hopes. Wasted potential. Wasted lives. But sadness and anger aren't going to change anything on their own. Mending the broken society needs head as well as heart.” You said: “There is, I believe, only one way out of this national crisis - and that is what I have called the Big Society. A society where we see social responsibility, not state control, as the principal driving force for social progress. A society where we come together, and work together, to solve problems. A society where we remember every day that we're all in this together. And today, I want to make the case for the values that should drive the creation of the Big Society - and the policy agenda that flows from those values. It requires, I believe, drawing on the deepest values of Conservatism, giving power to people not the state, strengthening families, encouraging responsibility, common sense and rigour, and applying these values to the key aims of improving the lives of people in our country - especially the very poorest”. You said: ‘The poorest are getting poorer”. You said: “We need to move from big government to the Big Society - a society with personal and collective responsibility right at its heart. To set off on this new course, we will be guided by the philosophy of progressive conservatism. Progressive - because if the Big Society exists for any reason, it must be to help the most disadvantaged in our country and seek to create a more united and equal place for us all.” BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY YOU SAID: “Above all, we will be the most family-friendly Government you've ever seen in this country, because I believe that the family is the crucible of responsibility. Strong families lead to strong societies. It's as simple as that. We are going to do all that we can to support every family - and every kind of family Many of our biggest problems start and end with the family - and there can be little progress until we recognise this.” So Dave. You were right on one thing. You will be “criticized for saying our society is broken and I know I will again.” Because I am criticizing you now. You talked of a broken society and you acknowledged that : “Many of our biggest problems start and end with the family - and there can be little progress until we recognise this.” So what do you do, Dave? You introduce the bedroom tax, abolish council tax benefit and replace it with local schemes forcing local authorities to clean up your mess, and cap benefit payments even though you acknowledge that: “‘the poorest are getting poorer”. How does this fix our broken society, Dave? Please. Explain. You instruct ATOS to carry out work capacity assessments on your behalf. So far, Dave, 7,100 people have died after being placed in groups entitled to unconditional support because they were considered to ill or disabled to work. 1,300 people have died after being placed in a work related activity group. And, 2,200 people have died before their ATOS assessment was even completed. And, on average, a further 73 people die every week. So, please Dave. Explain. This is nothing short of the culling of the most desperate and vulnerable members of our society.....I call it : "The Cameron Culling Policy". And it doesn't end there, does it, Dave? How can you claim: “Above all, we will be the most family-friendly Government you've ever seen in this country, because I believe that the family is the crucible of responsibility” and then introduce welfare reforms that could see families forced out of their homes? Homes where families have been brought up, homes where grand children visit to stay with nanny and grandad for the weekend, homes that people have built up over the years and hold precious memories. You even target the homes of those out fighting for your country by demanding bedroom tax whilst they are away- men and women risking their lives fighting for YOUR country. Home is where the heart is Dave. And you are ripping out what is left of the heart of the already broken society you talk about-and damaging it beyond repair. So, yes, Dave. Society is broken. And YOU broke it. Haven’t you worked that one out yet? Sincerely SIGN HERE AND LEAVE YOUR REASON WHY: https://www.change.org/petitions/the-government-stop-bedroom-tax-the-atos-assessment-the-abolition-of-council-tax-and-universal-credit
A J wrote
at 07:48:08 on 01 April 2013
what do protests actually accomplish other than getting a bunch of p*$&"d off people who feel the same way about an issue together outside somewhere making a bit of noise and venting a bit of steam off(really scary...). how is it possible to reason with a dictatorship disguised as a democracy? by protesting peacefully? now in my reality if i had a bunch of people outside my home for example protesting and what not for something that i was doing it wouldn't bother me much, to be honest i'd find it quite amusing and i doubt it would stop me and make me listen to their message... But if someone chucked a brick through my window (protesting) while i was watching t.v i think it would get my attention and make me think about the effect my actions were having on other people and morally change my ways for the better of my fellow man. i'm all for peaceful demonstrations i think they have a massive purpose in a civilized society but the only thing that's gonna get results from this backward government is backward thinking unfortunately. Dictatorships are not voted in and out peacefully bottom line is that they are ultimately overthrown and violently ousted, if these strange policeys continue to be enforced upon us i guarantee within the next 6-12 months civil disorder will reach breaking point in all our major cities leading to massive riots resulting in serious and long lasting damage to our economy. George Galloway is the bomb and we need people like him if things are ever gonna get better for us and for our children! x.Peace preech not Hate.x
not a brain dead labour voter wrote
at 08:45:38 on 28 March 2013
@Prisoner Irlam. when this labour council becomes democratic and accountable, the people of Salford will then, stop slagging them off
Michael Felse wrote
at 11:26:22 on 27 March 2013
@ Brain. Rest assured my call for the SalfordGate inquiry is alive and kicking. Nothing to hide means nothing to fear. We should get the ball rolling to clear the air. Turning over a new page is a healthy solution for Salford Council and it would prove our Mayor is willing to uncover any bad apples with him insisting that a District Auditor pursues offenders with fines, prison stays or expulsions, if they are not proven then all must accept the result.
Prisoner Irlam wrote
at 06:30:13 on 27 March 2013
I find the Anti labour...a tad offensive as a working class Lad you can't put a wet parp between any of the political parties at present we have a a council that is rotten , spin doctors etc etc can bull.hit till the cows come home , I suggest the new movie with Karl Pilkington in fine form as a mild anti inflamatory to what Salford council are dishing out !!!bullsh.t
not a brain dead labour voter wrote
at 06:29:30 on 27 March 2013
Michael Felse wrote at 10:51:02 AM on Thursday, March 21, 2013 As I said in 2012 "If we are going to do Salford justice we must have a SalfordGate inquiry". In Doncaster I was part of pulling down the Doncaster Labour Councillor Group, including its Leaders, by publicly calling for the DonnyGate inquiry. I have assurance from Salford independent District Auditor that this Salford Reds grant will be part of annual audit. I urge a call for others with concern to be sent at speed to the District Auditor. I am able to provide the Auditor's address. In view of comments on this page I will write to the Salford District Auditor calling for Councillors' personal liability on this topic, requiring them to pay for any losses if unjust action is found. I recommend Councillors insist on independently named recorded votes on the topic's Council Chamber decisions, to ensure they are not mistakenly personally surcharged.*************** are you still calling for your new found friends to be investigated Michael or have your new found friends got you on side by making a few personal promises, like a council seat, "oh" how the worm turns, you'll make a great labour politician, always ready to stab the Salford voter in the back.
not a brain dead labour voter wrote
at 17:47:50 on 26 March 2013
@ Michele false, £30,000 on a bridge competition.Ian Stewart wants to start building bridges with the people of Salford who he and his parasite labour councillors are shafting. you need to up the medication mate. don't forget labour put us in £1 trillion in debt in the first place
Chris Taylor wrote
at 17:47:21 on 26 March 2013
This is not a tax. It is a reduction in benefits. Effectively the opposite to a tax.
Michael Felse wrote
at 09:38:54 on 26 March 2013
Clear as day that the anti-labour mod are out to kick Salford's Councillors. They forget across our City Labour has taken seat after seat, seeing off a raft of competitors. The wake up is that in Salford people see it is the Con-Dem's Government making cuts to all Council budgets. Con-Dems are pulling the strings and we would be dishonest not to realise Salford's Mayor and his Councillors are forced to make cuts. Salford voters are not being fooled, unlike the rest of the UK. If we want to plant blame put it at Cleggs door for keeping this scheming Tory Government in office.
Prisoner Irlam wrote
at 06:29:17 on 26 March 2013
Felse you seem a decent chap you seem to have a f ixation on the demcon government , as bright as the pelaides, and damp as a sponge the only puppet I see is Salford council in some manor pulling your chains , if they wanted to re classify housing to help Joe bloggs out they would have!! Look outside of the box.
not a brain dead labour voter wrote
at 06:29:08 on 26 March 2013
@Michele false, you say your on the same page ,sorry mate, your not even on the same planet. your having a laugh, if kissing labour ass was a Olympic sport you would be a gold medallist. what part don't you understand, this labour council don't give a shit about the people of Salford. come back on when you've stopped hallucinating. ps Ian Stewart said he's got your labour party membership card you asked him for, but can't think why it's in the name of Walter Mitty.
at 22:32:14 on 25 March 2013
Can someone please tell me what is Michael Felse taking."Salford Labour Councillors would never choose to hurt the local people that vote for them" Mr Felse, just spend a couple minutes backdating on Salford star and read what YOUR Salford Labour Councillors have and are doing for ALL the people of Salford,not just the daft sods that voted for them.
Wise man wrote
at 22:27:48 on 25 March 2013
Totally ludicrous report. There is a big difference between what they have to say publicly and what they actually do. Please give them some credit.
Michael Felse wrote
at 19:31:43 on 25 March 2013
Bernard, we are on the same page here. I will support actions to stop evictions, but do not blame Salford's Labour Councillors who would never choose to hurt the local people that vote for them.
Bernard Brough wrote
at 15:41:30 on 25 March 2013
If those at the funhouse had a communal brain cell they would be looking at ways of circumventing this pernicoius tax. Why do they not look at what constitutes a bedroom? There is no legal definition so it is possible for councils to just redifine the number of bedrooms a property has. It really is that simple. Mt Felse, you can blame whoever you like, the fact remains that the Labour Council in this City should hang their heads in shame. They stand aside & do nothing but blame others. They should either come clean & admit that they are really just closet Tories or grow some spine & stand up for the people they are supposed to be representing.
Michael Felse wrote
at 15:40:50 on 25 March 2013
Neil, you should have been consulted there are no excuses for lack of communication. Telling, you are falling into the Con-Dem trap. They cut the funding and are causing the wave of disruptive action. I do not want anyone evicted but the blame is Con-Dem not our Labour Councillors who work under these extremely unprecedented demands from National Government.
Telling it as it is wrote
at 11:49:33 on 25 March 2013
Mr Felse yes it's the Con-Dem government telling Salix and City West to evict isn't it. Sit down you Labour party puppet, the options for the council as ultimate bosses of Salix and the options for City West whose board is occupied by Labour cllrs are clearly stated in the above article. You and your Salford Liebour chums have no argument.
Neil James wrote
at 10:52:16 on 25 March 2013
"visiting all tenants we have identified as being affected to talk through changes" ? When? They didn't visit me!
Michael Felse wrote
at 09:44:45 on 25 March 2013
Salford is doomed. We can only blame this Con-Dem Government for making our Local Labour Party have to be Con-Dem puppets in forcing local service cuts. Do not let this Government cause local in-fight. It is National Government fiscal policy causing evictions along with the other nasty things that are going to get worse in Salford.
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