Around 500 people protested in Leeds on 5th April against the bedroom tax. Harrogate Socialists participated in the demonstration which marked the first anniversary of the introduction of the tax. 413,000 people are affected by the bedroom tax in England, two-thirds of whom are disabled.
Following a lively march through Leeds city centre, speakers at the rally highlighted the impact of the tax. Two-thirds of those affected have fallen into rent arrears and many are having to cut back on food and heating in order to pay. The Labour-run Leeds City Council sent bailiffs to a tenant who could not pay the tax, breaking their promise that no bedroom tax evictions would take place in Leeds.
Ben Mayor (Socialist Students, Leeds Metropolitan University) called for the nationalisation of the construction industry and a mass council house building programme. Ben highlighted Labour’s acceptance of Con-Dem welfare cuts and called for a political alternative which genuinely represents working-class people.
Ben is standing as a candidate in the Kirkstall ward in Leeds for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC). TUSC candidates are standing across the country in the 22 May local elections on a programme of:
- Abolition of the bedroom tax
- No evictions for rent arrears due to the bedroom tax or austerity cuts
- A major programme of council house building
- Rent controls and the setting up of council-run, not-for-profit letting agencies and local fair rent councils