Dave Nellist on the Bedroom Tax and the Labour Council
The following letter from Dave Nellist was printed in the Coventry Telegraph on 11 December.
In recent months I’ve attended meetings across Coventry where the threat of eviction from the ‘bedroom tax’ is worrying families.
I’ve explained that people can apply to the council for help through Discretionary Housing Payments, but in many cases they’ve not succeeded. Why is that?
In March the Council’s Labour Cabinet decided to spend only a third of what would be necessary to protect all the 3,000 families facing bedroom tax cuts of £700 a year or more in their Housing Benefit.
But of that limited money set aside, in the first six months of this financial year barely 20 per cent has actually been awarded. For many of the tenants who were unsuccessful it seems to be harsh decision making. And many of them may now be facing eviction. So, two things should now immediately happen:
Firstly, I think councillors should review all the unsuccessful cases, and revise the criteria to make sure no one – especially as winter develops – is evicted for this harsh Tory Coalition policy.
And secondly, every one of the 3,000 families affected by the bedroom tax – even if unsuccessful in the past – should now apply or apply again. There’s hundreds of thousands of pounds put to one side to cushion this callous cut in benefits which is not being used properly.
We’ve often heard criticisms from Labour leaders about the harshness of government policy. But if their criticism is not just to be synthetic indignation then now is the time for them to do something about it and to stop the evictions this winter.