Sunday, 6 April 2014

My bedroom tax speech that never was

There was supposed to be a bedroom tax rally in Penzance, on saturday just passed to coincide with the UK wide day of action. But due to the wet and windy weather and the fact it relied on street theater the organisers, Cornwall Anti Cuts Alliance, decided to call it off.  Which was unfortunate as the Tory and Lib Dem government need pressure from every corner of the UK to stop this horrible and pointless policy. Anyway I was as PPC  for the St Ives constituency was (possibly) going to give a speech.

Here it is:

Dydh da Pensans

Here we are marking the 12 months anniversary of the bedroom tax. 1 whole year of a policy that is unfair, does not work and brings shame to the Conservative party and their Liberal Democrat allies. 

The statistics are clear, despite the rhetoric, that this would be helpful to the needy, that it would incentivise people to downsize, this has not happened.

A recent BBC survey revealed that 6% of tenants have been able to move, downsize and avoid the bedroom tax.

That is, 94% of people have been punished by the bedroom tax for simply living in their own home.  

The Tories and the Lib Dems argue that it is not a bedroom tax, that it is not a tax at all. Although bedroom tax has resonance. What the government call it, describes exactly what it is. They call it the under occupancy penalty.

And a penalty it surely is, that same BBC survey revealed that 3% of victims of the bedroom tax have been penalised so severely that they are now facing legal action including eviction.

28% of tenants have been penalised so severely that they find themselves in the unenviable position of falling into arrears for the first time. It is clear that this is a policy that is not working and penalises unnecessarily.

During the recent floods, or to be more accurate when they reached the Thames valley. The Prime Minister declared: “We are a wealthy country”.

He quite rightly stated that if people’s homes were being effected by floods, the government would help.  That the state would step in, use taxpayers money to protect people in their homes. To make their lives more bearable.

But yet this logic, this compassion, this admittance that the UK is wealthy, does not seem to apply to people in social housing. Far from “money being no object” every penny is squeezed out from the poorest in society.

The United Kingdom is wealthy, no matter what the Tories, Lib Dems and their austerity agenda would like us to believe.

The collective heads of Westminster are buried deep in the sand if they believe penalising people is justified.

We need to send a clear message to London that we’ve had enough of the bedroom tax. That the lie we need to penalise the poor, is a shameful lie in a wealthy country. I urge you all to pressurise the government to challenge MPs to talk to people effected by bedroom tax, challenge them to look deep into their own souls and try to find some morsel of compassion. So they too can see that the right and proper thing to do in a wealthy country, is abolish the awful bedroom tax.

Statistics taken from this BBC article.