By Mary Jackson , TUSC mayoral candidate, Doncaster
Around Britain, there have already been many protests against the so-called 'Bedroom Tax'. This is one of the coalition's most blatantly anti-poor policies and it will certainly be even more hated when it comes in on 1 April.
David Cameron and his multi-millionaire family have four homes, mansions in reality. Tory welfare minister David Freud, who is bringing in this law, owns an eight-bedroom mansion and a £1.9 million London home. These well-housed millionaires want council house and housing association tenants to lose 14% of their housing benefit if they're deemed to have one spare room, 25% if they have two.
We think that 4,822 households in Doncaster will be hit by this spiteful tax, over 3,000 of them with at least one disabled person. The bedroom tax will hit the poorest, low-paid workers, sick, disabled people, pensioners and the unemployed. The government says people should move in to smaller properties but they haven't done their sums.
In Doncaster, it would take an estimated 16 years to re-house those affected... but only if no other households move into that category, if no grown up children leave home, no one dies, no one joins the army. This can only lead to increasing poverty.
Many people just 'can't pay'. Doncaster, like many other areas, already has mass unemployment and deprivation. With 11,521 people on the waiting list for social housing there is a crying need for affordable housing. Rents must be capped, not benefits. We need a massive council house-building programme which will create much needed jobs and would actually cut the housing benefit bill.
There are things councils can do. There's a huge pot of money from the sale of council houses. Ring-fenced, because of legislation brought in by Margaret Thatcher and not repealed during three terms of a Labour government. And nationalising the banking system under democratic workers' control would free up more resources.
I am standing in an election to be Mayor of Doncaster. One of the first things I will do if elected is to look at a legal challenge to release this money to build the houses needed.
But what we need most of all is a campaigning policy of mass resistance. As with the battle that brought down the poll tax it will need organisation to ensure that no tenant is evicted just because she or he is poor and to convince councillors they should refuse to implement the tax, or replace them with those who will fight instead for a mass house-building policy to meet the needs of the people.