Petition pressure on Miliband to end Bedroom Tax misery for Scots


  By Lynn Malone
An online Petition demanding Labour Party leader Ed Miliband call for the hated Bedroom Tax to be abolished gathered more than 1000 signature within 48 hours of its launch.
Richie Venton, a prominent campaigner against the Tory tax and Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) organiser, is putting pressure on Mr Miliband to lodge a Motion in the House of Commons immediately.

Mr Venton said: “The Bedroom Tax was imposed by the unelected Westminster Coalition. It has caused untold damage to the lives of countless families.  It has caused added poverty, stress and upheaval to the 100,000 households in Scotland and 660,000 families across the UK who are directly hammered by this grotesque theft of benefits from the poorest, most vulnerable people, many of them disabled.

“It has already also meant staff in social housing losing jobs and thousands of pounds a year in wages, as the bosses of social sector housing impose cuts arising from a measure that will not lead to a single house being built.”

The SSP official claimed the Bedroom Tax has driven some people to suicide, but added: “But the courageous, ferocious resistance of tenants, trade unionists, anti-bedroom tax campaigners and socialists united in action has begun to tear this measure apart at the seams.”

Recent legal challenges have been won on the grounds of room size and usage, the rights of disabled people to have additional space for their needs, and fundamental issues of human rights.

Mr Venton said his decision to launch the petition was due to the “U-turns and retreats by some of the mainstream parties” which he claims have had a negative impact.

He added: “The LibDems have been the yellow Tory props to Cameron’s blue Tories on this and other issues, attacking the poorest whilst abandoning their own policy of a mansion tax.

“But the pressure we pounded them with at their recent UK conference in Glasgow helped win a conference motion condemning the Bedroom Tax, which opens the door to forcing Clegg to advocate its abolition in Westminster.

“In the wake of that achievement, Ed Miliband declared that if elected in 2015, Labour would scrap the Bedroom Tax. I welcome that promise, as another nail in the coffin of a pernicious measure; further pressure on the besieged Coalition to dump it.”

The campaigner also claimed it was months after the Labour council in North Lanarkshire issued eviction notices to a severely disabled mother of three kids, before Ed Miliband decided to follow suit and announce plans to scrap the tax.

Newsnet Scotland reported last month how The UK Labour party had announced its plans to scrap the Bedroom Tax if the party wins the next UK general election.  The surprise announcement was a significant U-turn on the party’s earlier statements and followed months of criticism of Labour’s stance after Ed Miliband repeatedly refused to be drawn on the issue.

Mr Venton added: “Labour has failed utterly to give a lead in fighting for its abolition, and only eventually conceded to the demands of those of us who have persistently fought and organised against the vile bedroom tax for the past year.

“Personally I believe he did so for two main reasons: because Labour was the only party left standing alongside the Tories failing to call for its abolition; and as a trick designed to con Scottish people to vote No to self-government in 2014, then elect ‘Red’ Ed and Labour in 2015, and live happily ever after.”

The campaigner is adamant that Scots are unable to wait until after May 2015 for the tax scrapped.

“How many job losses, pay cuts, evictions, how much human suffering, even suicides, are we supposed to let happen over the next two years?  No, if there’s an ounce of sincerity in Ed Miliband and Labour’s pledge to abolish the Bedroom Tax, they will act on it NOW!”