'Bedroom tax forcing me out'


 ​Facing eviction: Deborah Kirk, who is opposed to the new bedroom tax, pictured at home in Immingham with her son, Kneale, 3. Picture: Rick Byrne
  1. Facing eviction: Deborah Kirk, who is opposed to  the new bedroom tax, pictured at home in Immingham with her son, Kneale, 3.  Picture: Rick Byrne

A SINGLE mum who challenged the Prime Minister to live in Immingham on  benefits in protest at welfare reforms has revealed she is facing eviction after  refusing to pay the bedroom tax – and she’s not the only one. Deborah Kirk already owes £160 in missed top-up payments, which she says she  has no intention of paying, and claims she has been told she will be evicted if  she does not settle the bill. She also claims she knows of 15 other households in her area alone who are  also facing eviction from Shoreline Housing Association properties as they, too,  are refusing to pay the tax – although none of them wished to come forward.

She spoke out as protesters came together at Grimsby’s Riverhead against the   reform in North East Lincolnshire, where the cuts amount to a loss of  £1.7-million per year. As reported, Mrs Kirk and her two-year-old son Kneale were left  under-occupying her three-bedroom property in Immingham, where she has lived for  46 years, when her eldest son Jordan, 22, moved out. Having a “spare” room left her with the choice of paying an additional £20  per week to stay in the house or moving away from the area, her family and all  her friends, to a smaller property.

With a monthly income of £480, after her council tax and housing benefit has  been paid, to feed and clothe herself and her son – and pay all the bills – this  is a sum she says she simply cannot afford. And, although Shoreline has also offered to move her into smaller properties  in Grimsby, where the bedroom tax will no longer apply, she does not want  to.

She said: “I am not doing either. They are forcing me now. They are making me  leave. “They have told me it will go to court and what I owe in rent will keep going  up and up. “I am not paying it.” A Shoreline spokeswoman said there had been an increase in the number of  notices served on tenants since the introduction of the reforms, but it was not  yet known how many were as a direct result of the bedroom tax. However, she added most were making arrangements to pay and considering their  options and 18 of 25 Band 1 (priority) applicants into smaller homes.

Our homes mean something to us, yet this ‘Bedroom Tax’ brings a new suffering and deprivation. A characterisation of the Conservative spirit of the age. Unleashed towards the social housing sector, tenants witness a systematic account of wealth denial, as important monies are ruthlessly taken because of the ‘Bedroom Tax’. Our homes are important to us as the poor have less, so what we do have means more.  To remain submissive is no longer an option, not to question this putrid policy would go against democracy, it is our duty our common right to speak out.76936_325017874280597_1346133833_n

As this political far right onslaught takes place, the ‘Bedroom Tax’ appears not to be a sound judgement of economic sense only beneficial to class warfare to suppress social housing tenants. We live in a corporate culture, a logo product consumerist based reality which destroys the welfare state by defunding it on purpose. By forcing extreme poverty upon the poor, they are forced to work. This is their logic by the way. Forced labour, cheap wages still isn’t going to help as high rents will need HB top up, just to make ends meet.

This ‘Bedroom Tax’ dampens the spirits of those effected and our voices are silenced at the councils. Crawley Borough Council refuse to discuss the ‘Bedroom Tax’ claiming they are not paid to talk politics. Not paid to think more like. They just refer you to Tory Henry Smith M.P who voted for the Welfare Reform Act 2012, also voted for an increase in student fees and clearly has nothing but contempt for the poor. The ‘Bedroom Tax’ is the new repression characterising our community in Crawley and up and down the country as the Tories financial massacre of welfare spending gets ripped further as they hate the welfare state, that much is obvious.

They clearly don’t want public opinion reflected in public policy, in fact the gap is widening as our opinions are not expressed in policy. The very definition of democracy. We need to be together as the ‘Bedroom Tax’ brings with it fresh wounds daily as debt increases and the burdens grow heavier. We don’t have to be passive, obeying robots, we can peacefully just not comply. Our very law of nature drives us to question, it drives us to critically think we are social creatures of political content and let us not loose our natural heritage.

Debbie Simmons, Council Tenant, CITA.


Bedroom tax madness as mum faces eviction from home housing chiefs spent £60k making fit for her disabled son


Louise Rennie and son Luis at their specially kitted-out home in Stranraer

LOUISE Rennie and her son Luis, 7, who has cerebral palsy and is registered blind, are facing eviction from the specially adapted home in Stranraer if Louise fails to pay the controversial charge. A MUM faces being thrown out of the home she had specially adapted for her severely disabled son – because of the bedroom tax.

Louise Rennie, 40, had her home extended and kitted out with specialist equipment for Luis, seven, who has cerebral palsy and is registered blind. Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership spent about £60,000 adapting the Stranraer home for them three years ago – but now demand that Louise stumps up £80 a month for the two extra rooms created by the extension. She is deemed to live in a four-bedroom property and faces eviction if she fails to pay the controversial charge imposed by the Department for Work and Pensions.

One of the “spare” rooms is used to store equipment for Luis, who can’t walk unaided and has various wheelchairs and walking frames to help him get around. The other is a sitting room where Louise can grab a few moments on her own when respite carers come in to look after Luis. Louise said yesterday: “DGHP were magnificent when it came to adapting the house, and I got everything I needed to help with Luis.” The housing association built the extension and fitted a lift, so Louise can get her son into the house, as well as a tracking hoist to take him from his bed to a specially adapted bathroom.

Louise explained: “Luis sleeps in his room in the extension, and I sleep in the other bedroom downstairs. “One of the rooms upstairs is used to store Luis’s stuff. “He has a wheelchair, a working chair, pushchair, standing frame and a walking frame. “None of them fold away, and they are chunky pieces of equipment, so they take up an entire room on their own – and they’re all essential. “The other room I use for respite.” Louise has fibromyalgia, which means she suffers chronic, widespread pain, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder, after a break-in at her former home.

Defy bully landlords over hated bedroom tax

http://www.socialistworker.org.uk/art/33477/Defy+bully+landlords+over+hated+bedroom+tax    by Dave Sewell

Rallying against the bedroom tax in Leeds last month

Rallying against the bedroom tax in Leeds last month (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Benefit slashing Tory minister Iain Duncan Smith called for an extra £3 billion of welfare cuts on Tuesday of this week. Ministers were asked to propose savings for chancellor George Osborne’s next spending review. He aims to cut an extra £11.5 billion.  Duncan Smith offered to protect spending on the police and army by cutting from the poor claiments his department covers. His ideas include denying housing benefit to people under 25. Duncan Smith wants young adults to move back in with their parents if they can’t afford the rent themselves.

But parents of grown-up children were among those targeted by his bedroom tax. And some people have left abusive families—or taken Duncan Smith’s own advice to “get on the bus” out of areas with few jobs. Thousands of poor council or housing association tenants are behind on their rent thanks to benefit cuts linked to their “spare” bedrooms. Now landlords have begun sending threatening letters to  tenants warning they may be evicted if they can’t pay.  This includes Labour councils, and Green Party-run Brighton and Hove which last month voted not to evict anyone for the unfair tax.

“I feel like a turkey that voted for Christmas,” one tenant in Labour-run Barnsley told Socialist Worker.  “They’ve sent us a really nasty letter. They’re trying to scare us with court costs on top of the arrears. “They know I have a disability and need an extra room. But the Labour council is pursuing a ConDem policy.” Most tenants’ arrears so far are very small. And despite the letters, landlords are a long way from being able to evict people over the bedroom tax.

They hope that by intimidating people now they can make them pay before the debt gets too big—or get tenants out of their homes. But for many, keeping up with the rent now that their benefits no longer pay for it would mean going without food. Most have not left their homes despite the intimidation. They are right to stay.

The ‘Bedroom Tax’ has swept across Britain like a hurricane blowing illogical and harmful policies to hit the poor, causing a financial massacre for those claiming HB. Heavily discriminated people, those claiming HB, with a spare bedroom have been treated by the Government harshly and unsettling the already troubled minds of social housing tenants of those financially struggling.

Poverty brings heavy burdens, heavy weighed down minds, heavy eyes and life is often too heavy to handle. A broken person has multiple scarcity issues, food scarcity, financial scarcity, job or employment scarcity, no social mobility, a scarcity in options, choice and opportunities. We have land scarcity to deal with so no new council homes are being built and the poorest are being punished for it.  Iain Duncan Smith with his cronies are like vultures tearing down upon the lower classes, it isn’t class war, it is class decimati474on and the ‘Bedroom Tax’ is just one of the multiple ways of destroying the Welfare State to effect us and destroy us too.

Our voices are trampled upon, with no encouragement of political innovation or expression by any public trustee. All public trustees include politicians but also council workers, who right now are in ‘breach of trust’ towards their responsibilities. To protect the very people they are crucifying, taking important monies away for basic survival in this man made corrupt capitalist system with a biased man made economic book of control to go with it.

We have to let our political inspirations grow and not be trodden on. We are a great body of humanity full of dreams, hopes and desires that hold common sense and specialised common knowledge that politicians can only dream of having. We are more qualified to politically activate our communities and they are not. We have the power, they do not. We have the ability to orchestrate a healthy local socio-economic political agenda and generate policies that fit, are justified, balanced and logical to elevate our town, they clearly simply can’t. We will not let them shatter our lives, so we need to stand firm and say ‘no, stop screwing with our lives and let us take over!

Debbie Simmons, Council Tenant, CITA.

Bedroom Tax: Leeds Council To Reclassify Rooms To Help Tenants


Leeds council tackles bedroom tax with semantic  solution

Reclassifying spare rooms as  ‘non-specific rooms’ should help tenants in social housing avoid reduction in  housing benefit

Leeds town hall

Leeds town hall: the council hopes other  ‘fair-minded’ officials in other towns and cities will follow its example.  Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian.


bedroom tax

Labelled bedroom tax by its critics, the government insists it is a ‘spare room subsidy’Leeds council has confirmed it will reclassify hundreds of rooms in council houses in a bid to help residents avoid the so-called “bedroom tax.”

Across the city 837 houses will have their bedrooms reclassified as non-specific ‘rooms’, the council said. This will allow residents to avoid their benefits being docked under what the government insists is a “spare room subsidy” not a tax. Labour Councillor Peter Gruen said the move had been prompted in part by welfare changes as well as “looking at ways to help all tenants across the city.”

Labour MP for Leeds North Fabian Hamilton told the Huffington Post UK the bedroom tax was “outrageous” and he was glad the council had come up with a creative solution. He said: “I think anything done to help hard-pressed families and couples is welcome. This bedroom tax, and it is a bedroom tax and not a spare room subsidy, is an outrageous reorganisation of benefits. “It’s a tax on you for daring to have a spare room, for your children, or grandchildren. There are couples that need to sleep separately and legitimately need that spare room.

“It is such a shocking tax and I’m glad Leeds has come up with a creative solution. I’ve no doubt the government will attempt to outlaw it immediately.” However Conservative Councillor Barry Anderson told the Yorkshire Post: “The decision is a poor one that appears to have been rushed through with no real thought other than to avoid spare room subsidy payments.”

How to avoid paying your bedroom tax – get it reclassified as a study


Councils and housing associations are reclassifying thousands of bedrooms across Britain as box rooms, studies or non-specific rooms so that tenants can avoid the so-called “bedroom tax”.


Under new regulations brought in last month, council tenants with one spare bedroom will lose 14 per cent of their housing benefit, while those deemed to have two or more spare will lose 25 per cent. The Government said this would result in £490m savings for the taxpayer in 2013-14.

But councils in Leeds, Nottingham and North Lanarkshire in Scotland have already found a way to circumvent the law. One of the largest housing associations, Knowsley Housing Trust in Merseyside, has also reclassified more than 500 bedrooms, while Edinburgh, Birmingham and York councils are looking into it. The latter will get inspectors to check whether a bed can actually fit in each room.

Labour-run Leeds City Council has reclassified 837 bedrooms in homes across the city in a move the deputy leader, Peter Gruen, said was “prompted by welfare changes”. One third of these, which would have been deemed “under-occupied” before, will now be exempt from the spare room subsidy. “This is a totally perverse tax,” Mr Gruen said. “Fair-minded councils cannot simply stand by and see such havoc.”Whiffs-of-Failure-from-No-10-1899689

Reclassification was based on specific criteria: where bedrooms were used as box rooms, where they were entered through another room, or where they were on the ground floor and not near a bathroom. Tenants will still pay the same rent as before, Mr Gruen added, and will be reimbursed any money that was deducted as a result of “under-occupancy” conditions.  Labour-led Nottingham City Council has reclassified 1,000 two-bedroom flats in high-rise tower blocks as one-bedroom, while bedrooms less than 50 square feet could be reassessed.

Jim McCabe, leader of North Lanarkshire Council, said authorities “have been left to pick up the pieces of this horrendous reform”. A Government spokeswoman said it had provided £150m to councils for discretionary housing payments to support vulnerable people. She added: “Councils may choose to redefine some properties, but we don’t expect this to be widespread.”

Expert: Bedroom tax breaches rights


The head of Scotland’s human rights watchdog appeared lost for words today as he recounted the bedroom tax’s impact before MSPs.

People Hold All Power They Just Need To Understand This!

People Hold All Power They Just Need To Understand This!

The Scottish Commission on Human Rights’ Professor Alan Miller told Holyrood’s welfare reform committee that he was shocked even to discuss the scheme, calling it a matter of “human dignity.” Since April, those in council homes or renting from housing associations have lost up to 24 per cent of their housing benefit where their home has been deemed “under-occupied.” More than 660,000 households are expected to fall into arrears, losing an average £728 a year – the equivalent of six weeks’ worth of payments. Yet councils and housing associations have warned they simply have nowhere for tenants to go to, with barely 100,000 one-bedroom properties available across all of Britain. Already several people committing suicides have left notes saying they sought to avoid homelessness and destitution under the policy.

Prof Miller said he was in no doubt the bedroom tax breached article eight of the European Charter on Human Rights, which prohibits unnecessary “interference” with a person’s home, and arguably article three, which prohibits “inhuman or degrading treatment. “That is, there should be evidence given as to what other measures were considered and why they were rejected,” he said.567

But successive governments had refused to “constitutionalise” the charter in order to make compliance a requirement for any new legislation.  Instead the coalition had introduced the bedroom tax’s legislation wiwth merely a single sentence saying any assessment was unnecessary. “A box was ticked to say ‘no impact on human rights’,” he said, after a pause. Professor Miller added that the Con-Dem approach to welfare went “against human dignity and the reality of life in the UK. “The bedroom tax is one of the most compelling human rights issues in Scotland.

“It’s not something we should be sitting round the table talking about in this day and age,” he said.  The committee’s deputy convener Jamie Hepburn MSP said the professor’s comments showed the need for a Scottish constitution in the event of independence. “Despite 90 per cent of Scottish MPs voting against this tax, it has still been imposed – and these welfare changes are stigmatising people and hitting our most vulnerable the hardest.”  “As he said – we shouldn’t be in this place,” Mr Hepburn said.

Thurrock Council to take 1,500 people to court over unpaid Council Tax


HUNDREDS of Thurrock residents that still haven’t paid their Council Tax are being urged to settle their bills.

Eviction notice on front door

  Thurrock Council has been trying to contact and help local people who are having to pay Council Tax for the first time this year.   Phil Smith, the council’s cabinet portfolio holder for central services, said: “At the end of April I urged people who had yet to contact the council to get in touch, then in early May I repeated the call, saying we would have to start taking tough action soon. “Unfortunately that time is now.”

Thurrock Council is expecting to take about 1,500 people to court who have not paid up.  Mr Smith added: “We have followed our standard reminder processes for people who are ignoring the need to pay; we wrote to everyone affected before the bills were produced and we have not taken action as quickly as we should have. “You don’t need to have a court summons, contact the council immediately to discuss satisfactory terms – this is the last chance for people to avoid significant additional costs and bailiff action.” The council says bills can be spread across 12 monthly payments to make it easier for struggling families.

People who haven’t contacted the council or paid their bills will be given a court summons – adding an extra £65 cost. They will be allowed another 14 days before a court hearing where a liability order will be granted which will add another £30 costs.

It is demonstrably true how ‘fear’ is being used as a tool, used here by the media to show social housing tenants they too can be taken to court, they too can loose their homes, now pay the ‘Bedroom Tax’! Fear forces people to perform in ways they wouldn’t normally. It would be nice for everyone to stand up against the heartless Tories and not pay, but ‘fear’ stops us as we don’t want to be evicted, or to get into trouble.

We have in our political arena ‘bare faced deceit and total unjust discrimination’ against us which is completely debilitating social housing tenants effected by the putrid ‘Bedroom Tax’. The principle policy makers who make their economic framework without empathy, and not knowing ‘sadness’ do not have the insight of families or individuals effected by poverty. Without knowing what sadness is all about, their economic plans are ruthless in our eyes, demeaning as we constantly live at the mercy of others. We have to deal with policies that make no sense, hold no common sense, no common knowledge and treat all welfare claimants as digits on a screen, and not human beings.116m5om

The ‘Bedroom Tax’ is another out of touch policy that treats social housing tenants as pieces of leggo, or cattle to shunt around from one place to another in order to suit some Tory middle class politician who learnt about poverty some while ago in grade 6. This text book education on poverty teaches them nothing and they gain no insight into how to socially manage low earners, the lower classes without an air of arrogance in their agendas.

It is tragic when democracy which we go to war for, isn’t being practiced as it should be and how the poor are easily ignored, left out and silenced. This marginalisation is all too true and it is time for each of us to become more politically active. Political innovation is within us all, and all that pent up frustration should and can be put to use in a more practical methods. Voice your concerns and be political active it is your right and your duty to keep democracy alive for us the poorest of the poor, for we are not cattle, barbarians or worthless junk. We have value.

Debbie Simmons, Council Tenant, CITA.

Handouts to 1,400 since bedroom tax


More than 1,400 desperate families and council tenants have applied for emergency hand outs to help them cope with the controversial ‘bedroom tax’, figures show.


Councils in the Black Country, South Staffordshire, Cannock Chase, Lichfield, Stafford and Wyre Forest have received more applications for help in the past month than they had in six months last year. Figures revealed today show 1,267 applications for support with paying rent, called discretionary housing payments (DHPs) in April 2013. The same councils had 2,102 requests for the whole of the 2012/13 financial year.375908_3359846969940_251314789_n

Tenants are seeking tens of thousands of pounds in aid to cover their rent following cuts to housing benefit for anyone who has one or more spare rooms. Under the controversial new measure, dubbed the bedroom tax by critics, people in council or social rented housing with one spare room lose 14 per cent of their housing benefit. People with two or more spare rooms lose 25 per cent. The Government wants people who are ‘under-occupying’ to trade down to smaller properties to reduce soaring waiting lists for council homes from families living in cramped accommodation.

But there is a shortage of smaller properties for people to go to. Pensioners with spare rooms are exempt from the charge. The worst affected area is in Dudley where 529 applications for help. The Government provides funds to councils to cover the costs of DHP, even though it has tried to save £480 million with the bedroom tax. It has increased the amount available as it expects to see claims increase.

Stafford Borough Council has already had more than 100 applications. Last year it got 97 for the whole year. It has £136,857 available. South Staffordshire Council said it had also seen a rise in applications for the time of year and had received 39 by the end of April. In Sandwell there were 245 requests for help in April compared with 408 for the whole of last year. Walsall Council has handled 231 requests so far this year compared with 522 last year. It has £590,745 to cover DHPs.

In Wolverhampton there have been 187 applications for £633,653. Last year 270 people applied and were paid a total of £254,057. Cannock Chase Council has had 69 requests so far and has £114,550 to give out. Lichfield District Council has handled 50 requests for a share of its £103,000. In Wyre Forest 48 applications were made in April for an annual budget of £152,091.

All the credit system is doing is humiliating the poor and placing them in to further misery. Poverty  like a disease is degrading for all effected of every minute of every day. Poverty eats your mind, coats everything you see and covers everything in your life and saturates your very existence with rampant scarcity. It feels like you are discarded from mainstream society. Out caste and dispossessed as the Tories continue their fantasy of blaming the poor for the economic troubles of our time, when the rich take millions in unpaid taxes abroad to off shore banking.5

The economic lab of control does not reflect ‘the real’, ‘our real’ that is, only ‘their real’. These economic behaviourists who control serious levels of our monetary system have trouble equating the differences between ‘their world’ and the ‘general public’s world’ with serious consequences for the poor. We are one insignificant cog in a monster well oiled financial machine and the puppet principle policy makers make sure the rich gain and the poor loose. Social housing and the ‘Bedroom Tax’ is screaming that these suited and booted, Eton handshake, bow down and your in Government, have no idea of the social consequence of this putrid policy.

They assume the ‘Bedroom Tax’ will encourage social housing mobility freeing up larger properties regardless of emotional attachments of tenants who were born and have lived in their homes all their lives. The policy  makers have no ‘sadness’ or any experiences of dire straits, never having to ever ‘want’ in their privileged lives so their economics reflects this attitude. The number crunching is cold, heartless with no empathy, as they do not understand unhappiness, to not have much but have it ruthlessly taken away.

If political local innovation were to take off by using social housing tenants as the principle voice, there would be ample empathy. We know what it feels like to have nothing, to have little, to have it threatened, to see it break, taken or stolen. There fore we can deduce the poor’s political economic framework would contain ’empathy’ and be more ‘just’ and ‘fair’ towards their communities. I feel the poor have more qualifications to become the prime political speakers given the right platform and encouragement. Stand and unite together and eventually the best policies would be established. This has to be better than Tory right wing, out of touch, gutter social housing policies such as the ‘Bedroom Tax’ derived from elite ruthless millionaires of central Government?

Debbie Simmons, Council Tenant, CITA.

Epileptic boy evicted by Hackney Homes-despite pleas from medical staff-is fighting for his life in hospital


George Hawkins in hospital on a ventilator George Hawkins in hospital on a ventilator

Just two weeks after Hackney Homes forced a sick epileptic boy out of his home despite doctors’ warnings the upheaval could trigger life-threatening fits, he is fighting for his life in hospital.George Hawkins, 16, who suffers from degenerative autistic condition Dravet Syndrome, began having unusual seizure activity and spasms last Saturday, but stopped breathing and turned blue after taking a dose of Midazalam, an emergency medication to stop seizures, the following night.

He has spent the last few days on a ventilator in the Royal London Hospital, and doctors are trying out various strong drugs to control his fits – which have still not worked to bring them under control. His mum Debbie Hawkins said he stopped breathing 10 times before ambulance crew arrived on Sunday.

“I really thought I had lost him,” she said. Mother-of-three Debbie Hawkins and son George with the eviction letter which forced them to move from her childhood home.Mother-of-three Debbie Hawkins and son George with the eviction letter which forced them to move from her childhood home. “George has not had to be ventilated since he was three-years old, so this whole episode from seizures to stopping breathing is not normal for him.

“Although I could never prove it I’m sure all the upheaval and confusion has caused this, but this has happened 100 times worse than any of us expected.” Mrs Hawkins believes living in four different places within the space of two weeks triggered George’s fits, and is angry with Hackney Homes for ignoring doctors’ advice and evicting the family.

Jon Wheater, director of care and family services at Richard House children’s hospice, where George sometimes stays for respite care, had written to Hackney Homes warning: “George needs stable surroundings as the likelihood of increased seizures and challenging behaviours will increase over periods of change and will very likely lead to him requiring higher levels of supervision, medication re-assessment and more direct care.” He added: “I know from my senior staff members supporting George over this stressful period that he is becoming more anxious and we are assessing his stability and number of seizures.”

And Adelaida Martinez, consultant paediatric neurologist from the Royal London Hospital who has cared for George since he was a toddler, had told them: “George has intractable epilepsy, severe global developmental delay, severe behavioural problems and also the risk of being aggressive. If there are any changes to his daily routine, he could have increased seizure frequency and anger outbursts.” She continued: “I am aware of the tenancy rules that the borough has but I feel this is the time when the rules need to be able to accommodate people who are in desperate need of a stable home.

“I would very much appreciate if all of the above is taken into consideration and the family is allowed to remain at the maternal family home.” The family was evicted on Tuesday May 7, but just three days after the Gazette contacted Hackney Homes about the situation, a suitable home was found for the Hawkins family, and they moved in on Thursday May 16. But by that time George had spent time in four different properties within the space of two weeks – his old family home in Upper Clapton, Richard House children’s hospice, the temporary accommodation in Forest Road once funding for the hospice ran out, and then the new home.

“When we got keys to new house and I felt I sigh of relief thinking the nightmare was over. Little did I know that my nightmare was about to begin only 48 hours,” said Ms Hawkins.

Bedroom Tax: Gran is threatened with eviction despite council's pledge


After living at council home for 30 years, she says “the house is now like a  noose around my neck”

Notice: Maureen

A gran has been threatened with ­eviction from her home of 30 years over  Bedroom Tax arrears – despite a council pledge no one would lose their  house.

The Sunday People can report that Maureen Pilbeam, 59, owed £177 to Brighton  Council on the three-bedroom council home where she raised her five  children. She now lives alone but says the city has no one-bed flats. She was served a  “Notice of Seeking Possession” giving seven days to pay eight weeks’  ­arrears even though the ­ruling Greens promised no evictions.

She said: “The house is now like a noose around my neck. All the lady at the  ­council said was ‘this is austerity’.” Her daughter paid the bill, but jobless Maureen says that can’t last for  ever. She is one of the first in England to face being forced out by the tax –  where tenants lose an average £14 for an extra bedroom and £25 for two.


‘Torture is the deliberate infliction of unbearable agony“. This is relevant when council housing ‘robots’ send out letters of eviction to innocent citizens with no thought or emotion and no empathy attached like for this lady. 30 years in her home, is unbearable torture if she is forced to leave it against her will. The psychological mechanisms of this ‘Bedroom Tax’ is causing off the scale distress and torment up and down the country, no social housing tenant is left behind if they are claiming HB and have a spare room. To me it shows the Tories have innumerable layers of stupidity, and distorted concepts of life as a social housing tenant. Their views are multiple layers of total inaccuracies and ill thought out processes of public management, they really don’t know what they are doing.

The ruling classes fundamentally flawed on their views of localised democracy and it is my view they fear us, and hence local political innovation is marginalised, ignored and excluded especially if you are a social housing tenant. Yet it is us who hold the knowledge so specialised on how to live with little money, no opportunities, minimum wage, long hours, unemployment. We have the experiences of sarcastic job centre staff, ruthless medical treatment of ATOS and cold no empathy G.P’s and so on. We have every right and all the credentials to politically organise us, our community in a fair localised democratic manner.

Why do we allow Westminster to dominate using democracy as their tool for their purposes when it causes mass psychological harm, distress and torment for so many? The ‘Bedroom Tax’ touches on many other issues as well but the Tories have admitted this is about saving money, not solving the housing crisis. The exclusion of the poor’s views is the very framework designed by the elites to control the board game, and on both sides too.

We have to say ‘no’ to this control. We have to unequivocally banish this biased elite framework for localised politics and to banish evicting the poor, the vulnerable the sick and disabled from their homes with outlandish out of touch social housing policies such as the ‘Bedroom Tax’. Every local community needs it’s own political local framework void of official biased organisation, but to be free for people to organise themselves through local but public democratic means. Every citizen has full inclusion and every local organisation has important knowledge to hear as well.

Debbie Simmons, Council Tenant, CITA.