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From The Socialist newspaper, 18 September 2013

Leicester council feels the pressure

Steve Score

There's been a small victory for Leicestershire Anti-Bedroom Tax Federation and the Unite Community trade union.

At Leicester city council's housing scrutiny commission, councillors including the assistant mayor responsible for housing, said they would be prepared to consider a non-eviction policy for those hit by the bedroom tax.

This was a result of the questions and points put to them by us, and a packed public gallery listening to their answers.

Leicester rent arrears increased by 100,000 in the first three months of the tax. It is also clear that there are not enough suitable homes for people to 'downsize' to.

There are 2,400 Leicester city council tenants and families affected. Yet in the first three months of the tax, only 73 were moved, all but four to one-bedroom properties.

Not a single affected family waiting to downsize to a two-bedroom house has been successful.

Many people hit by the bedroom tax do not have a 'spare bedroom', including people who are affected by illness and disability and those who care for their children for only part of the week.

The council are yet to evict as a direct result of the bedroom tax. However, 910 'notices of seeking possession' have been issued from April to June.

Some tenants already in arrears before the bedroom tax have now been given court dates.

A small number of tenants may get temporary help through Discretionary Housing Payments.

However, disabled tenants who get the Disability Living Allowance (or now PIP) have that money treated as income when their entitlement to DHP is assessed. This is wrong and we will demand the council changes that policy.

We now need to build up the pressure to make a 'no evictions' policy happen - without the caveats that some councillors have already suggested.

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In The Socialist 18 September 2013:


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