Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Bristol council opposes bedroom tax evictions

By Mike Luff, Bristol Socialist Party
'No eviction' for bedroom tax victims is now the official policy of Bristol City Council.

All four parties - Labour, Greens, Tories and Lib Dems - and the Mayor gave full support to a 'no eviction' resolution at Bristol council's full meeting on Tuesday 18th June.

All the councillors also called on mayor Ferguson to review the definition of a bedroom, reclassify box rooms, downstairs rooms and small bedrooms - which he agreed.

We have had two demonstrations and local meetings across the city, building opposition to the bedroom tax.

There will now be a working group of councillors who will look at the details of the new policy, so our campaign will continue.

Tom Baldwin (mayoral candidate last year for TUSC - the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) spoke at the council meeting on behalf of the Bristol and District AntiCuts Alliance.

His call to stop any evictions whether by the council or social housing organisations and for a house building programme, was supported by the full public gallery.

The mayor and councillors also supported the resolution calling for the building of social and affordable homes.

This could be paid for by the government lifting the borrowing restrictions on the housing revenue account.

However, their only weapon to change the government's mind was in having a directly elected mayor! While the councillors are keen to promote 'localism', there was no mention of building a city-wide mass campaign to fight for more housing and against the cuts.

They seemed to be suffering from mass amnesia, forgetting that it is their parties' policies which introduced and maintained these financial restrictions that have decimated council housing.

We can't trust councillors who have shown no opposition to other cuts, with over 300 local authority job losses as part of a 9% budget cut, including the eviction of old people from their residential homes.

There is the prospect of similar cuts for the coming year. We will be vigilant, hold them to their promise, organise to prevent evictions if they happen, and we will keep up the fight against all cuts.

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