Brighton marches against the Bedroom Tax

Bedroom tax march Brighton holds up traffic

By Rosie Murphy

Brighton residents opposing the proposed Bedroom Tax marched in the town centre today in solidarity with 57 protests across the country.

They gathered at North Street’s Clock Tower at 12pm to hear speeches and then slowed traffic by walking in Western Road.

Nation-wide people are protesting the new tax affecting the poor by cutting housing benefit by up to £14 a week for those deemed to have a spare room.Brighton's bedroom tax protest hears speakers

An organiser for the march said, “They’re doing it for greed; all of this is about profit. It’s part of the general attack on workers.

“Virtually everybody is affected, except the very well-off, and of course what they get is tax cuts so they’re doing very nicely out of it, and they’ve got a chance to invest in these newly privatised services.”

The government will implement the tax in April intending to cut the £23billion annual housing benefit bill.

It comes as part of the Welfare Reform Act, aiming to lower unemployment and the necessity of relying on benefits.

However critics of the tax fear it could create more homelessness and poverty among those already struggling financially.

Brighton's Bedroom Tax march on Western RoadRepresentatives from both The Labour Party and The Green Party joined Brighton’s march to show support for the 660,000 people expected to be affected by the tax.

Brighton & Hove City Council announced yesterday that it would not force residents who could not afford the under-occupancy tax to pay or move home.

Caroline Lucas said, “The so-called bedroom tax legislation is not only morally wrong and a cause of great potential hardship, it is also unworkable in a city with a long waiting list for smaller properties”.

In the run up to this weekend’s protests, the media has been dominated with stories of disabled people who could be affected by the cuts.Brighton's Bedroom Tax March

Iain Duncan Smith has already announced a number of exceptions to the tax in a partial  U-turn including foster carers and the armed forces.

Ed Miliband attacked David Cameron with the claim that hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities could lose  over £700 a year.

One Brighton resident said, “We need solidarity of people who are in work and aren’t in work to prevent this tax, to prevent the cuts to benefits that means that people will lose their homes.”

He told the protesters his expectation of a mass rejection of government reminiscent of the poll-tax riots if austerity measures continue.

A public meeting ‘The Assault on Welfare’ will allow further discussion on how the cuts are impacting Brighton at 7.30PM, March 20th, at the Friends Meeting House, Ship Street.

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3 thoughts on “Brighton marches against the Bedroom Tax

  1. Thanks for reporting the protest. Just a couple of things:

    Brighton & Hove council actualy stated they would NOT force anyone who can’t pay to move – the linked report is about just that!

    The government CLAIM they are trying to cut the housing benefit bill, but the bedroom tax is likely to cost far more than it saves. The cuts don’t save public money, just redirect it from public services & welfare that serve all of us, into the pockets of the wealthy who want to make profit out of need & avoid paying taxes.

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