Merseyside Anti-Bedroom Tax Federation founded

Merseyside anti-bedroom tax federation

Merseyside anti-bedroom tax groups get organised

It’s been a slog but, after months of meetings and discussion, anti-bedroom tax groups across Merseyside met, on Sat 18th May, to conclusively set in place the Merseyside Anti-Bedroom Tax Federation.

The federation is run by the members of local groups through a meeting of local group-mandated, recallable delegates. Delegate meetings are open, but only group-mandated delegates can vote. A one group one vote system is in place. Organisations (trade unions, etc) are encouraged to affiliate and participate with/within their local anti-bedroom tax group.

Federation delegates elected recallable officers to the following roles: Chair, Secretary, Treasurer , Press Officer.

On attempts to divide working class people:

Quote:
The Federation stands in solidarity with all those fighting the cuts to the welfare state, and against those who wish to divide us. We will brook no such attempts, on the grounds of race, religion, gender, status, or any other spurious grounds [to divide the working class]

On this basis, the Merseyside Anti-Bedroom Tax Federation have adopted the following anti-oppression statement:

Quote:
The bedroom tax is an attack on the working class and affects people of all races, nationalities, genders and sexualities. In order to prevent people of colour (PoC), migrants, women, LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) and people with disabilities (sensory, mental & physical) from being excluded, we cannot allow far right organisations like the EDL, BNP and the National Front, who act to threaten and discriminate against people on the basis of race, nationality, gender and sexuality, to gain a foothold in the movement.

As a federation, we will not associate with racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise oppressive organisations and/or their members

Racist, sexist, homophobic organisations and/or their members are not welcome at meetings, demonstrations or other events that the federation or its member groups have organised.

The federation will not support or promote events or local groups that involve racist, sexist and homophobic organisations.

On fighting the bedroom tax:

Quote:
The federation will fight these iniquitous cuts, starting with the bedroom tax, by any means necessary. This may include a non-payment campaign and direct actions: it is better to break the law than to break the poor.

The fight against the bedroom tax reaches a crucial stage over the next few months as a bedroom tax eviction battle looms on Merseyside. With a federation in place and with continuing efforts to strengthen the movement, we've just taken a level-up in a rapidly escalating class war.

combatbedroomtax@gmail.com

Posted By

Combat Bedroom Tax
May 19 2013 09:22

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Comments

Chilli Sauce
May 19 2013 12:30

Great to hear it!

What groups are formally part of the federation so far?

madashell
May 20 2013 12:31

Don't have a full list to hand but iirc last meeting had delegates from Toxteth, Granby, Dingle, Wallasey, Leasowe, Bootle and Halton. But I think I'm forgetting one or two and there are other groups that haven't decided whether to affiliate yet.

Chilli Sauce
May 20 2013 21:06

They're independent groups? Or will local trade unions or local Trot groups be able to join as well? (I ask that as a legitimate question, not as a criticism.)

madashell
May 20 2013 23:36

Short answer, it's independent groups only. Was agreed that members of TUs and other organisations should participate in local groups. One local group, one vote, no delegates or votes for other organisations, though meetings are open to observers.

Trots are involved, of course, which is why we had to have a decision on whether or not TU branches could have their own delegates in the first place wink

madashell
May 21 2013 00:01

*

madashell
May 21 2013 00:02

*

madashell
May 22 2013 08:41

It's a reduction in housing benefit (welfare given to pay rent) for people living in social housing (not sure if that exists on your side of the pond) based on number of 'spare' bedrooms. Official name is the under occupancy penalty, iirc.

Obviously it's going to lead to rent arrears and eventually eviction (basic rate of jobseekers Allowance is £71 per week, bedroom tax could eat up £25 of that if you have two spare rooms), focus of the campaign locally has been on building networks to stop evictions and putting pressure on local council and housing associations.

fingers malone
May 22 2013 08:44

And it's worse than it sounds as "spare bedroom" doesn't mean you actually have a spare bedroom. My student has two children, and is caring for her husband who is terminally ill. She has a three bedroom flat and they are applying the bedroom tax as they say that the two kids can move into the same bedroom, so she has a "spare" bedroom.

madashell
May 22 2013 09:31

Yeah, rules on how many bedrooms you're allowed are pretty bizarre and arbitrary. Rooms occupied by foster kids are spare but rooms for kids in boarding school aren't.

Steven.
May 22 2013 09:49

And an important thing to point out is that the government is saying people should move into smaller properties without spare rooms: however these properties are not available. In many cases people were told they had to move into a two-bedroom property as there were no one-bedroom properties available for example.

madashell
May 22 2013 10:15

For anyone wondering why anti-oppression statement was necessary - http://infantile-disorder.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/knowsley-fight-bedroom-...

doug
May 22 2013 11:11

For some info on what's happening with bedroom tax organising in Scotland, check out: http://scotlandaf.wordpress.com/2013/05/12/stitched-up-the-scottish-anti...

And, in Edinburgh: http://edinburghanarchists.noflag.org.uk/2013/04/good-beginning-for-edin...