Trade Unions Must Take Action To Smash The Bedroom Tax!

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TODAY is the day when the outrageous Bedroom Tax begins and hundreds of thousands of working people will see between 14% and 25% of their housing benefit slashed while their rent remains the same.

Those who cannot or will not pay the tax face being evicted and turned out onto the streets.

There is only one exception to this harsh benefit rule. The biggest state benefit beneficiaries in the country are the Royal family and its aristocratic hangers on. They have huge benefits and hundreds of empty rooms, but remain untouchable because they are part of the ruling class.

The Bedroom Tax is strictly for use against the working class and the middle class.

House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chair Margaret Hodge has already issued a warning, to no avail, of the ‘severe impact’ this savage tax will have on low-income families.

All the talk that people should move home and find more ‘suitable’ accommodation is so much sick cynicism. Unless they are moved into Buck House and other such first-class accommodation, there is a vast housing shortage. There are no homes available for working people outside those that they already occupy.

This tax is just a cruel instrument for raising billions of pounds from the already oppressed and needy to try and save the bankers and the bosses from the crisis of their own rotten and collapsing capitalist system.

From today, changes to housing benefit (HB) affecting working-age social housing tenants deemed to have spare bedrooms will mean a 14% cut for those with one extra room and of 25% for those with two or more.

The measure will see affected tenants lose an average of £14 a week and having to choose between paying the tax or feeding their children and keeping their homes warm.

The Department for Work and Pensions is consciously underestimating the situation when its says that it expects 660,000 social housing tenants to be affected by the cut across Britain.

Millions of working class people young and old, children, workers and pensioners will be affected and, if they don’t pay up, face eviction.

Margaret Hodge says that, ‘The DWP says it can’t accurately predict the effects of its housing benefit changes either on individuals or on the housing supply.’

In fact, it has all of the relevant and up-to-date statistics at its finger tips.

She says that it ‘will rely on a “wait-and-see” approach and monitor changes in homelessness, rent levels and arrears so that, where there is a need, it can intervene and respond’.

Nobody believes this. They intend, like well-trained ostriches, to keep their heads in the sand until the dirty work has been done.

They are relying on the trade union leaders standing by and watching this disaster taking place without taking any real action.

Action must be taken by the trade unions and the communities to smash this tax by bringing down the coalition.

Every area must set up a council of action, made up of the trade unions and all the local community and youth groups to stop evictions with mass actions to drive bailiffs off the streets and keep working people in their homes.

Not a single eviction must be allowed.

However, this resistance will not be enough to win this struggle.

The trade unions must enter the fight 100%. The union leaders must not be allowed to hide behind phrases of ‘general support for community action’. The TUC must be made to tell the government that it must withdraw the Bedroom Tax or face an indefinite general strike that will bring it down and bring in a workers’ government.

This is what must be done!