Green Party leader condemns bedroom tax on visit to Tameside Emmaus Community

natalie+bennettGreen Party leader, Natalie Bennett, is marking the anniversary of the deeply damaging bedroom tax by visiting the Emmaus community in Mossley, Tameside today, 28 March. The project provides a home and work to the homeless and unemployed.

Natalie Bennett said: “The figures exposed today by the BBC’s research show that only 6% of people affected by the bedroom tax have been able to move. We already know that 66% are in rent arrears, with 15% facing eviction as a result. This latest research is further evidence that the bedroom tax is causing widespread misery and suffering. That there are hundreds of thousands of households trapped in unaffordable homes, is an indictment of the bedroom tax policy, and this government.” (1)

She continued: “The bedroom tax is one further blow to disabled people in Britain, already hit hard by the deeply flawed and unreasonable Work Capability Assessment administered by the dreadful Atos. Two thirds of the households affected by the bedroom tax have at least one disabled member. This unjust tax is piling disadvantage on disadvantage – it expects children of the same gender to share bedrooms yet we’re expecting schools to improve the results of the most disadvantaged pupils. Forcing those children to try to do their homework and study in overcrowded, stressful environments won’t help.”

She concluded: “I’m looking forward to seeing the work of Emmaus Community in Mossley, Tameside, who are trying to tackle the very real challenges of homelessness and unemployment in Greater Manchester. We currently have a government that it is detached from reality with Iain Duncan Smith proclaiming “let them move house” when there are no homes to move to. I’m visiting Emmaus to show that the Green Party understands that many people are struggling. We have sensible, practical policies to ensure that people have a roof over the heads and enough to eat in the UK, the seventh richest country in the world.”

Peter Cranie, the North West Green Party’s European election candidate, said: “I’m deeply concerned about the way in which this cruel tax is affecting families across the North West. Figures from the National Housing Federation show that Greater Manchester is being hit the hardest in our region, with 11,360 households affected and some of the poorest families losing an average of £723 per annum. It’s grossly unfair that the poor are being targeted by this tax, especially when the richest are benefiting from tax cuts. It’s horrifying that such a high proportion of those affected are disabled. The policy risks pushing people who are already desperate into homelessness or into the hands of pay day loan sharks.” (2)

2,457 households in Tameside hit by the bedroom tax

index

According to new data released by the Government and analysed by the National Housing Federation In Tameside 2,457 households were hit by the bedroom tax in August and , the first to show actual numbers affected by the controversial policy, in Tameside the Average amount of Housing Benefit lost per year was £731.90.

The bedroom tax came into force on 1 April, 2013 and this is the first time the Government has released data showing the actual numbers hit. But even this does not show the full extent of families affected – it excludes those working families, previously in receipt of a small amount of housing benefit, whose entitlement has been completely wiped out by the bedroom tax.

The National Housing Federation stated “These new Government figures show that bedroom tax is affecting thousands of people……for many, there isn’t even anywhere for them to downsize to. There simply aren’t enough smaller social homes available, and the cost of private rented housing is rising all the time.” Continue reading