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Greens say no to 'bedroom tax' evictions

 

In the week when the Liberal Democrats were in Brighton to defend their support for Conservative welfare legislation, the Brighton and Hove Green Party, Brighton Pavilion MP and the Brighton & Hove City Council’s Chair of Housing today announce their intention that no city council tenant should be evicted from a council-owned home just because they cannot afford to pay their bedroom tax.

This makes Brighton & Hove the first city in the country to see such a declaration.

Liz WakefieldCouncillor Liz Wakefield, said, “The so-called ‘spare room subsidy’ is yet more immoral and harmful legislation from this morality-free coalition government. As Greens, we cannot throw people out onto the streets just because they’re unable to pay it.

“I will therefore be bringing proposals that seek to ensure no household will be evicted from a Brighton and Hove City Council owned home as a result of ‘spare room subsidy’ rent arrears accrued solely from that household’s inability to pay this unjust bedroom tax.”

She added, “To ensure that people don’t take advantage under these proposals, the housing department would still be able to use all the other methods open to it to collect arrears, and officers would have to be satisfied that tenants are doing all they reasonably can to pay.”

CarolineLucasBrighton Pavilion MP, Caroline Lucas, said, “The so-called bedroom tax legislation is not only morally wrong and a cause of great potential hardship, it is also unworkable in a city with a long waiting list for smaller properties.

“The council cannot downsize households on the scale required by the government, nor would we want it to, and we should not be prepared to evict hard-pressed families, the disabled and other vulnerable people purely because they are unable to pay this unjust levy on a home they either cannot or should not have to leave.”

Rob ShepherdChair of Brighton & Hove Green Party, Rob Shepherd, said: “This government is willing to see people thrown out onto the streets purely because they can’t pay their bedroom tax. They can be sentenced to homelessness simply for trying to maintain a normal, liveable family home.

“The Conservative and LibDem coalition government should be ashamed of itself and, as Greens, we will have no part of it. I congratulate the party and councillors who are taking such a principled stand. We call on the other parties to support us in protecting, in this way, some of our most vulnerable residents.”

Caroline Lucas has been in the forefront of opposition to the bedroom tax in Parliament. Together with the SNP and Plaid Cymru, she has chosen the bedroom tax as the subject of an important opposition day debate.

“In doing so, she said: “The bedroom tax is a cruel and counterproductive measure from a Government that is intent on punishing the poor.¬† There is no evidence that all this will save the Government money, but what it will do is lead to mass evictions and homelessness, and all the related problems that brings to our communities.”

Councillor Wakefield has said she hopes to bring proposals to the next housing committee on May 8th, 2013.

Notes

For more information please contact Brighton and Hove Green Party office on 01273 766 670.