(name of councillor)
I am writing to you as a resident in the (name of ward) ward, to ask you to oppose the implementation of the so-called “bedroom tax” by Leeds City Council, for the following reasons:
• The tax is simply unaffordable: people claiming Housing benefit are by definition on very low incomes, and would have to go without basic necessities to pay this extra money.
• Most people will not be able to “downsize” as the smaller properties simply don’t exist in the city. Most people will not have a room which is suitable for a lodger, and in any case have the right to their own home as private space.
• The tax penalises the poorest and most vulnerable people in society, whilst doing nothing at all to address the shortage of decent affordable homes. Forcing people to leave their homes will break up community support networks and deprive children of normal family relationships. The amount available for Discretionary Housing Payment is nowhere near enough, and simply forces people to compete with each other to meet their basic needs.
Attempting to evict people who fall into arrears makes no sense: the cost of repossession proceedings would be many times the cost of the lost rents, the money would not be recoverable anyway, and the cost to the local authority of the resulting homelessness would be enormous. Using the threat of eviction to frighten vulnerable people into paying what they cannot afford is unethical and completely unacceptable.
I believe Leeds City Council must
• commit itself publicly to a policy of no evictions for bedroom tax arrears
• ensure that no tenant will be subjected to threats of eviction as a means of exacting payment
• write off arrears due to the bedroom tax policy
• commit to invest in housing for social rent for the future.
I am asking you as my elected representative to support these demands, and to campaign for them to become Council policy.
I would like a written reply to this letter, and as part of your reply I would like you to give details of your position on this matter, and what you will be doing to help to get rid of this horrendous policy.
On the reverse of this letter I have detailed my personal circumstances to give you an example of the hardship and distress being caused by this tax, and I would like to hear your response to this.
Address and contact details: