Monday the 1st July saw our delegation to the Leeds City Council full council meeting take place.
The text of our message had been delivered in advance to the councillors so we decided to press release it for general consumption. The tales of despair told to us by those suffering from the Bedroom Tax and the Council Tax benefit reductions certainly struck a chord and we were contacted by the YEP, Calendar News and Radio Aire and Radio Leeds who all produced sympathetic coverage.
The delegation itself went down well in the council chamber and afterwards we were collared by a number of councillors who wanted to explain how much they were opposed to the Bedroom tax. Quite how they are going to demonstrate that opposition remains to be seen but the matter is to be discussed at the Executive Board on Wednesday the 17th July at 1.30 p.m.
This meeting is open to the public so join us in the gallery to listen to the “debate”.
No immediate pronouncement has been made that no eviction threat will be faced by those falling into arrears and arrears will be written off but it is a message we need to continue to hammer home. Why not solicit the views of your local councillor and tell us of those who are prepared to take such a stance so we can sign them up and publish a list of those who really intend to oppose the Tax.
Councillor Gruen did suggest that he might meet with us and this is an offer we will be pursuing – watch this space for any developments.
We have continued to spread the word over recent weeks. The Summer Galas at Beeston, Halton, Hunslet and Seacroft have all seen our stall with literature to distribute, and a steady stream of affected tenants and other supporters have signed up to the campaign.
There was a first meeting in Burley on Monday the 8th July and a first meeting has been built for Wednesday the 10th July at the Halton Moor Social Club at 7.00 p.m.
If you want to hold a meeting in your area with the intention of developing a local group – don’t be shy, find a venue and contact us for help with publicity and speakers.
At our last meeting we agreed to offer help to those groups in the West Yorkshire who are starting up. It looks like we will be joined by groups in Wakefield, Pontefract, Castleford and hopefully Bradford amongst others.
Thursday 11th July sees our comrades in Selby being dragged before the York Magistrates for failing to pay their Council Tax in full. We have been asked to support and John’s taxi will be leaving Leeds at approx 9.00 a.m. Ring 0113 2629046 to grab a place.
We are hearing of Leeds people being summoned to the Leeds Magistrates Court on Thursday 25th July at 10.30. for arrears in council tax payments. We hope to discover the full extent of appearances soon but it is unlikely that just one or two will be there. This is a test of the ability of the group to support those affected by the benefit cuts and gives a great opportunity to talk to people who will be in some state of despair. You could call it a captive audience. An announcement will be made on the web site when we have more details but please look at how you can find the time to get to the Court to give encouragement to those who attend.
We have decided to try and regularise our city meetings to the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month at the Leeds Trades Union Centre at 88 North Street each meeting commencing at 7.00 p.m. All are welcome to attend and as the battle against the bedroom tax is soon to “hot up” all help is gratefully received.
Finally please make a note in your diary for Sunday the 29th September. That is the start of the Tory Party Conference in Manchester. A demonstration is planned in support of the NHS and against all cuts in benefits. There is sure to be a large contingent opposed to the Bedroom Tax and the Unions are already arranging transport from Leeds which will be free so there is no excuse for not crossing the Pennines to let Cameron, Pickles Osborne and Duncan Smith etc etc. know what they can do with their austerity. More news on the web site when we have details.
All errors in this news letter are again the total responsibility of John Davies.