Monday, 14 October 2013

Spend 30 seconds: demand MPs abolish the Bedroom Tax NOW!

The reviled Bedroom Tax is in a shambles, which is why everyone who devotes 30 seconds of their time to sign my online Petition could realistically add to the prospects of it being scrapped - now!

The ePetition is simple and pointed: it demands that Labour leader Ed Miliband moves an immediate Emergency Motion in the House of Commons for Abolition of the Bedroom Tax NOW - instead of waiting until some time after 2015, for the eventuality of Labour winning the Westminster elections a long, agonizing two years from now.

You can add your voice to this demand on Miliband to put his money where his mouth is by clicking here.

[and if you have problems with the link, simply go to and in the 'Search' box type 'Bedroom Tax Miliband'].

Coming Apart at the Seams

Those of us who for the past year have fought consistently and persistently to resist and abolish this obnoxious theft of benefits - tenants, trade unionists, socialists - welcome several recent decisions that undermine it.

We welcome various recent legal judgements that have found in favor of tenants - on grounds of room size and previous usage; disabled people's right to additional space for their needs; the human rights of the disabled, parents, children.

We welcome the decision of the Northern Ireland Assembly to exempt all current tenants for the next 4 years. Whilst the political forces in power in the Assembly are dangerously liable to pass on the £17m cost of underwriting the bedroom tax in the form of cuts to other services, this decision adds weight to the longstanding demand by the SSP, Shelter Scotland and anti-bedroom campaigns for the Scottish government to fund the guesstimated £53m loss of rent this year to social landlords, from tenants simply unable to afford the bedroom tax.

And given that right now - until such time as we win Scottish self-government - it is only Westminster which has the powers to abolish the tax they imposed on us, we welcome the recent political U-turns by two of the major Westminster political parties: the LibDems and Labour.

LibDems under Siege

The LibDems have played a disgusting role, abandoning their party policy of a mansion tax on the rich and privileged, whilst acting as the yellow Tory props to the blue Tories in an unelected Coalition - which has hammered nearly 100,000 families in Scotland with their vile, punitive Bedroom Tax. All the more reason to cheer the decision at the recent LibDem UK conference in Glasgow to slam the bedroom tax and open the door to Clegg being pounded into presenting a Motion for its abolition at Westminster. That decision was, let's not forget, in large measure due to the pressure brought to bear by the protest demo of tenants, trade unionists and socialists outside the LibDem conference.

Labour forced into U-turn

More significant still, that meant Labour was the only remaining mainstream party left standing alongside the Tories, refusing to call for abolition of the bedroom tax.

For the past year, Labour has done nothing to lead the battle for its abolition; refused point blank to promise abolition under a future Labour government, in fact saying they would keep it; refused for months on end to even pledge 'no evictions' in Labour-run councils; and stooped down even lower when they issued real eviction notices to a severely disabled mother of three in Labour-run North Lanarkshire council.

Now, a year after the Bedroom Tax was passed by Westminster, six months after it was implemented on April Fools Day, Ed Miliband has promised its abolition if Labour wins office in the 2015 Westminster elections.

Why wait 'til 2015?

A welcome step, but one which strips away all Labour's feeble excuses about 'needing to examine the cost of abolition', and poses the question starkly: why wait another two or three years? Why not fight for its abolition here and now?

The LibDem conference is supposed to be binding on their MPs. So if - as my ePetition demands - Ed Miliband and Labour were to put forward an Emergency Motion for its outright, immediate abolition, there should be an inbuilt majority of MPs that should vote for it, overruling Cameron's vicious millionaire razor gang.
Not another 2 years of Devastation!

If there's an ounce of sincerity in Miliband's promises - if it's not just a cynical electioneering ploy designed to win votes, and damage the case for Scottish self-government into the bargain - then why would Miliband and Labour make us wait another two years or more?

Why would they punish the poorest sections of the working class with another two years of cuts to their benefits, loss of family homes, upheaval, stress, even suicides? And why would they condemn even more staff in social housing to job losses and pay cuts of £5,000 a year, as has already been imposed by £100,000-a-year chief executives in some housing associations?

We need to demand that Miliband turns his grand speeches into decisive action - action that should be easily successful - action that would rescue 660,000 households from the pit of poverty and despair they've been tossed into by the Bedroom Tax.

NOW is the time for Abolition!

Sign the ePetition today. Encourage others to do likewise.

Sign the petitions at SSP street stalls demanding abolition NOW.

And raise Motions in your trade unions, community organizations, anti-poverty groups and anti-bedroom tax groups demanding that Ed Miliband and your own local MPs push for immediate abolition. That includes those trade unions whose leaderships insist on pouring £millions of members' money into Labour's coffers: demand some return on your money from Labour for once!

It's hardly asking the earth of them! But it could be a life-changer for hundreds of thousands of tenants and workers at the sharp end of this indefensible daylight robbery.

Spend 30 seconds of your day: potentially, if thousands of us do it, and pound Miliband into belatedly pushing for abolition, this could help change the lives of hundreds of thousands.

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