Opinion Former Article

BFAWU: No more Bedroom Tax deaths

Benefit Justice campaigners everywhere are sad and bitter at the heartbreaking death of Stephanie Bottrill.

The Government's attack on benefits must not be allowed to kill another person. As Stephanie Bottrill wrote in her letter: 'don't blame yourself… The only people to blame are the Government.' – see Mirror story.

Linda Burnip of Disabled People Against Cuts says: 'Ministers are literally killing us with their savage and unjust cuts to housing, disability and other benefits. We send our condolences to Stephanie Bottrill's family and we offer our help to take her message to every Minister between now and 1 June. The war on benefits must stop now - never again!'

Eileen Short of DCH and Benefit Justice says: ' We do hold this Government responsible, and will tell every Minister so, collectively and individually. The nation-wide day of protest 1 June agreed at the Benefit Justice Summit2 yesterday, will honour Stephanie Bottrill’s memory in the best way we know.'

To co-ordinate or help organise 1 June protest action in your area contact Benefit Justice: benefitjustice@gmail.com or 020 3371 2031 (answerphone).

Anti Bedroom Tax and Benefit Campaigns link up for 1 June action

The fight against the Bedroom Tax stepped up yesterday, when campaign groups from across the UK linked up to co-ordinate national action.

350 people from more than 37 area campaigns and another 37 organisations, trade unions and other groups, came to the Benefit Justice Summit2, making it the most representative meeting so far of the anti-Bedroom tax and benefit cuts campaigns.

A steering group will now move to federate these and other local campaigns, to co-ordinate action and beat the Bedroom Tax.

A national wave of co-ordinated protests is planned for 1 June. Anti Bedroom Tax marches and protests across Britain will coincide with protests across Europe against austerity.

Eileen Short of Defend Council Housing, chairing the Benefit Justice Summit discussion on co-ordinating the campaign, says: ‘ This is just the beginning – we want to involve all the anti Bedroom Tax and benefit campaigns.  We are coming together to learn and strengthen this fight. The next step is a massive loud and co-ordinated day of protest on 1 June.’

The Summit agreed a ten-point action plan, demanding that Councils and other landlords do not evict tenants due to benefit cuts, with plans for direct action, lobbying and mass protests to resist evictions and bailiffs.

Liz Kitching of Leeds anti Bedroom Tax campaign Hands Off our Homes, met Conservative former Minister Norman Fowler on the train as she travelled to the Summit yesterdayl.  She confronted him: ‘I told him I was evicted with my two small girls in 1980s, due to his social security cuts – and now IDS wants to evict me again. They will not steal our babies’ bedrooms.’

Maria Brabiner, Greater Manchester against the Bedroom Tax, told the Summit: ‘How dare they call us shirkers? Our parents survived the war by rationing food and heating.  This government has declared war on its own people.’

Other speakers included John McDonnell MP, Chris Baugh PCS Assistant General Secretary, Steve Clarke of Welsh Tenants organisation, Sean McGovern chair of the TUC Disabled Workers’ Committee and Disability representative to Unite Executive Council, and Ian Hodson of Bakers Union.

Barrister Liz Davies, Ciara Doyle and Andy Green of Disabled People Against Cuts, and a Spanish anti-eviction campaigner led workshop sessions.

The new steering group of Anti-Bedroom Tax and benefit campaigns is planning to meet on 8 June to co-ordinate action following the 1 June national day of action.

Ends

 

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