Star date: 14th June 2013


Salford residents attending last night's Broughton Against the Bedroom Tax meeting were furious that no local councillors attended, holding up `Wish You Were Here' messages to get their point across. However a statement was read out from former Salford Council Leader John Merry, calling for the Labour Party front bench to commit to repealing the hated Tax.

Meanwhile, Salford City UNISON has demanded the Tax be suspended, while a new petition has been launched imploring City Mayor Ian Stewart to introduce a policy of No Evictions. The pressure in Salford is mounting…

Full details here…

No Evictions Petition Salford
click image to enlarge

As the awful reality of the Bedroom Tax begins to hit social housing tenants hard, pressure is mounting in Salford for the Labour Party, the City Mayor and social housing companies to actually do something – before it's too late.

At last night's meeting of Broughton Against The Bedroom Tax, some emotional residents affected by the Tax, and already on the verge of breakdowns, were horrified that no local Labour Party councillors had bothered to turn up listen to their stories.

"Where is my support?" asked one lady worried about getting evicted "Who is going to support me? I don't think anyone is doing anything…"

Another resident said it was "disgraceful" that no ward councillors had attended. This follows the Ordsall Against The Bedroom Tax meeting recently, where no councillors turned up and organisers substituted them with a cabbage at the speakers' table (see here).

This time, at the end of the meeting people held up messages to vent their anger on the missing Labour councillors which simply read `Wish You Were Here'…

Former Salford Council Leader and Broughton Councillor, John Merry, did send a statement, which was read out at the meeting, calling on Ed Miliband to commit to repealing the Bedroom Tax before the next General Election…

"I support the opposition to the Bedroom Tax but believe the anger needs to be directed at the Government" Merry stated "I believe that my front bench needs to make a clear commitment to repeal it."

Meanwhile, Salford City UNISON has launched a new petition calling on Salford Mayor Ian Stewart to endorse a city policy of No Bedroom Tax Evictions for tenants `with rent arrears acquired due to the reduction of their housing benefit'.*

And, today, Salford UNISON also piled on the pressure, calling on the ConDem Government to suspend the Bedroom Tax "immediately following a number of suicides by those who have fallen victim to it".

Salford UNISON slammed the Tax as a "vicious assault on the poor" and has called on Salford City Council, Salix Homes and City West Housing to take up the same demand – that the Bedroom Tax be suspended while an independent review takes place to investigate its effects so far.

"We don't want to see anybody lose their life in our city because of this horrible attack on the poorest in society" says UNISON branch secretary Steven North "We oppose any evictions that may be proposed as a result of arrears due to the Bedroom Tax and we call on Salford City Council, City West Housing and Salix Homes to pledge that no evictions will take place because of it.

"At the same time" he adds "We believe it is in the interests of all social landlords to join our call for the Tax to be suspended while its effects are investigated. The only beneficiaries from this attack are a Government that continues to force the poor to pay for the crimes of the banks. What we need is to get people back into work building more homes. For us it's as simple as that."

At next week's national UNISON Conference in Liverpool, Salford branch is supporting a motion from UNISON in Scotland, which calls on Britain's largest public sector union, "to campaign and mobilise our members and public opinion against evictions arising from the Bedroom Tax and for the protection of everyone that is adversely affected by securing its abolition – and for sufficient additional resources to cover any additional arrears that have accrued to be provided to social landlords."

Meanwhile, the pressure is mounting on the Salford City Mayor and social housing companies to act; while former Council Leader John Merry is following Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson's call for Ed Miliband to get off the fence and commit to repealing the Bedroom Tax…

…And, as disgusted residents said last night, it would also help if their own Labour Party ward councillors actually showed an interest and turned up at meetings to hear the views of the people they are supposed to represent.

* Copies of the No Bedroom Tax Evictions petition can be printed off from the jpg above or via Salford City UNISON 0161 794 7425.

* To see the newly launched Salford Against The Bedroom Tax facebook page – click here or go to https://www.facebook.com/SalfordAgainstTheBedroomTax

Michael Felse wrote
at 4:53:45 AM on Thursday, June 20, 2013
@George. Thank you for your questions. I am willing to pledge that I will stand again using my democratic right in Salford, where local people need to have a challenging mind. And congratulate Salford Council on having chosen an excellent Mayor and pledge, whilst I am NOT a member of The Labour Party, that my support at the Mayoral Election next time will be totally in favour of returning Mayor Stewart.
George wrote
at 11:45:11 PM on Wednesday, June 19, 2013
@Michael Felse, Thank-you for finally admitting you were not up to the job of City Mayor, will you now pledge to never stand in an election in Salford again??? As you point out quite correctly you are not the best brains in Britain so will you and your Salford Liebour mates commit to saving us all from your idiotic style of governance and all give up your stranglehold on what used to be a good city (before pricks like you moved here)?
not a brain dead labour voter wrote
at 12:20:29 PM on Wednesday, June 19, 2013
@Mike Skeffington, Michael false, the people on this site just take him for the prick he is, you can just imagine him sat in a dark room on his rocking chair going back and fourth dribbling from his mouth trying to catch someone's attention. poor Michael, nurse, wipe his chin
Michael Felse wrote
at 12:20:14 PM on Wednesday, June 19, 2013
@BrianFF - thank you for your question. The only change is admiration of the track record proven by our elected Mayor. When our election was taking its course for Mayor nobody knew what to expect. What is a fact is Mayor Stewart has lead from the front. He has taken on challenges that would have defeated the best brains in Britain. I am now confident Salford Council has the plan and can form a team from those that share the long term vision. Why stay stale to dwell on what other candidates may have done. Much better to help overcome our shared problems.
Brian F Kirkham wrote
at 11:49:40 PM on Tuesday, June 18, 2013
I read the comments on here of an ex-English democrat candidate endorsing the old leader for a possible seat in Westminster. Sorry all, I'm not one for fairy tales, but certain individuals comments are getting a little "Alice-in-Wonderland". Mr Felse whether or not you are courting labour...Surely you would know Mr Merry's Record? After all, You faced a labour candidate in the first mayoral contest - whats changed your mind? change from within?
Mike Skeffington wrote
at 7:43:55 AM on Tuesday, June 18, 2013
I must say Michael Felse's comments have had the desired effect, that is to wind people up. Well done Michael, it looks like you've got some of the attention you obviously need.
not a brain dead labour voter wrote
at 10:09:34 PM on Monday, June 17, 2013
@ michael false, to think I was going to pay a professional clown to entertain me, what are you and labour doing in a couple of weeks, you'd both give billy smarts circus a run for his money.
Bernard Brough wrote
at 7:03:26 AM on Monday, June 17, 2013
Mr Felse, are you clinically insane? Where is this utopian Salford you speak of? Councillor Merry ahs led this city into the dark ages. You want to talk facilities? Fit City, priced out of range for too many Salford families, in some cases you can join private gyms for less. Employment, what employment, there are few jobs & that is getting worse. Health did you read the Salford Star article? I'm really not sure of your agenda. Either you are some kind of political genius manoeuvring into a position where you will take over the world or you are a deluded nut.
Annoyed wrote
at 7:02:54 AM on Monday, June 17, 2013
Hazel Blears sits on her @rse all day doing very little. Michael Felse's posting style looks VERY similar to hers....When you post under a false name you can stick up for your real name too much you know...Get back to work you workshy slacker.
at 3:27:36 AM on Monday, June 17, 2013
M Felse-I was thinking the time way back prior was to the Blears/Stewart face off, when John Merry threw his hat into the Salford Labour party ring on a list of prospective parliamentary candidates and he wasnt chosen. Just like Saford Labour party chose Ian Stewart as their preffered mayoral candidate over him, despite John being the leader of the council at the time. you can look at that two ways, either the party members didnt think John was any good as a council leader or it was all just tactics to get another labourite into a pole position
Michael Felse wrote
at 3:27:18 AM on Monday, June 17, 2013
and @Mary, thank you for your Merry question. And to sum Cllr Merry in one short description we can call him Cllr Trust. I am sure this quality comes from the Law Degree that gave him the grounding to be Salford Council Leader. But think back to 2002, before this remarkable man became Council Leader. Salford was in a difficult position, lack of inward investment had put a sad blanket of depression on Salford. A new fresh approach, with an innovative Unitary Plan, saw changes that began to transform Salford. Yes in just 10 years Cllr John Merry took Salford into the modern world, opening new homes, new works, new leisure facilities and protecting those citizens that needed Council help. Merry is not a book but an encyclopedia of success. A one stop leader that deserves to be Knighted for his unique ability that regenerated a once lost city.
Michael Felse wrote
at 3:26:40 AM on Monday, June 17, 2013
@Mary, thank you for your Blears question. I could write a book on the good works done by Blears MP. Fact is you have prompted a valid point. That is, instead of the press and anti-MP bloggers putting out the bad news on MPs we must have Parliament write a magazine on each MP, put on line, writing quality professional journalism articles about the work their MP has done during a term of Parliament. I am sure Hazel Blears MP's 5 year annual would include saving Salford Royal along with a service record as our Health, Communities, Home Office and Cabinet Minister. Exceptional Value for Money.
mary ferrer wrote
at 1:30:29 AM on Monday, June 17, 2013
Just sat here reading the latest comments from Mr Felse.John Merry a MP??????? Hazel Blears "The best MP ever in the Uk" I don't know the man, but I do feel a friend or family member needs to take him too see someone and fast. Please tell my why or what has Mr Merry ever done that makes you think he would make a good MP. And I can't wait for the answer to my next question. What has Ms Blears done to make you think she is the best MP ever????
Michael Felse wrote
at 1:30:07 AM on Monday, June 17, 2013
I am shocked at continued attacks on our MP. If one is in business one has qualified professionals to manage finances. I suspect this was the case with the MPs who quite honestly should get our praise at being able to manage home away abodes as well as the required constituency address. Most of us only have to budget for one home, image if we all had to find ways to pay double those expenses. But attacks cannot take away the fact that Ms Blears MP is the most amazing talented character, getting jobs done and communities inspired. Look at her current work on helping young people with professional bursary support. Time some brains moved onto the here and now. The General Election will bring us a sensible government as we in Salford can look forward to our MPs being influential on the new front bench. I do trust this will include outlawing Bedroom Tax.
not a brain dead labour voter wrote
at 7:18:44 AM on Sunday, June 16, 2013
@ Michael False, is this the same hazel "best MP in the country" who fiddled her expenses, just imagine hazel in charge of this city or nations finances, with her mathematical and accountancy skills we'd be bankrupt over night, oh sorry, Gordon Brown and labour have already done that. Michael go back to the doctor, tell him to either up the dosage or change the prescription. on the bedroom taxes you will find it was labour who brought this in, because of there past policies when they was in power, think about it.
White wrote
at 1:43:45 AM on Sunday, June 16, 2013
I'd love to see Merry as an MP as long as it gets him away from Salford and he isn't our MP.
Michael Felse wrote
at 1:43:09 AM on Sunday, June 16, 2013
@wrote, you are correct Hazel Blears did win a face off, but it was for Salford and Eccles in a contest against then Ian Stewart MP. This result proved a good one for Salford because it kept us the best MP ever in the UK in place (Blears MP having done more for grass root communities than any MP in history). Then went on to give us our first elected Mayor in the shape of Mayor Stewart who has much experience of how London Parliament works. This fact said, we still have room for John Merry who is in touch with our feelings about Bedroom Tax. He must be given a safe Labour seat. Worsley and Eccles South could be a perfect fit.
at 1:09:55 PM on Saturday, June 15, 2013
I think many years ago John Merry was in the running to become a Salford MP. However, I think the Salford Labour party chose Hazel Blears over him. If Im wrong will someone please correct me. Thanks
Mikes a mong wrote
at 1:09:47 PM on Saturday, June 15, 2013
Michael Felse, please do everyone a favour and shut the f up. You keep commenting on here one minute saying labour are scum the next saying how great they are, your goal is clearly to detract from the debate for the gain of your Labour ringmasters. You have been rumbled so do us a favour and fook off.
Insider wrote
at 1:26:30 AM on Saturday, June 15, 2013
John merry has spoken? It's a bit late having run down this city for the last ten years and recruited non job scary spicer 200k per year for doing nothing! How many bedrooms does that pay for!
Michael Felse wrote
at 1:25:48 AM on Saturday, June 15, 2013
Clearly we need voices like Cllr Merry to become MPs. Why are MPs not echoing his words. I urge John Merry to get a Labour safe seat and stand as an MP. He has shown here that he truly is a man of the people.
Matt wrote
at 1:25:39 AM on Saturday, June 15, 2013
I think this is just another example of the lip service that Labour give to the average citizen. These concerned people are giving up their time to fight a huge injustice in society so it's only polite that the relevant Councillors turn up to listen to what they have to say. Also I find it rich that Mr Merry is putting the issue at Ed Millibands door (who can't do much about it at the minute) rather than at Mr Stewarts and his majority Labour council who could sort it straight away.
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