Leeds Hands Off Our Homes Almost Weekly Newsletter: 18th July 2013.

After our latest meeting last night we will be preparing for a meeting with Councillor Gruen and council officers to discuss how the Bedroom Tax and other benefit cuts can be opposed and eventually overturned. The meeting is scheduled for Monday the 5thAugust at noon.

We have enlisted the help of Gary Cooper for this midday show down and for those who can’t cope with my film memories just whistle “do not forsake me oh my councillor for neighbourhoods and communities”.

The news of the week from the YEP is a front page report highlighting figures from CPAG which indicate 31,790 children in Leeds are living below the poverty line. The next question has to be why does the Council think it appropriate to chase those who are now having to find 19% of their Council Tax by issuing summonses requiring attendance at the Magistrates Court thereby making people even poorer. Because issuing they are. We understand that in June 28,000 reminders were sent out and now 3,000 summonses have been delivered with the first Court appearances listed for the 25th July. We will be there to give support and encouragement to those who can’t afford to pay. Can you be there from 10.00 a.m. at the Magistrates Court on the Headrow towards the West Gate end, to hold the banner, stand at a stall with our leaflets and able to talk to those who want to build resistance to austerity.

It is important that people attend Court because in their absence a liability order will be made for unpaid Council Tax and costs. Elsewhere in the country it seems that if people attend then the costs claim can be argued away.

But the bottom line is – Why impoverish further those who are in financial difficulty?

No doubt Councillor Gruen will have an interesting response.

Area activity continues. The numbers are not large but new faces are seen in Armley, Guisely, Halton, Holbeck and Seacroft. There are plans to resume leafleting sessions in Middleton, to hold a meeting in Morley and one in Chapeltown on Thursday 1st August. Check the website for up to date details.

A new leaflet was called for now that information is regularly becoming available.

8000 households still seek a property of the appropriate size, 4,300 are now in arrears,17% of those who have lost full Council Tax benefit are not paying what is due.

Last week Selby campaigners held a picket of the York Magistrates Court where C Tax non payers were attending.

On the 27th of July there is a national day of action by anti bedroom tax campaigners.

It was agreed that we would do a town centre stall from 12 until 2.00 p.m.. Pontefract are starting in their town before moving to Doncaster and then Selby.

All the work we do requires financing. This Saturday an application that a few of our team got together to the Edge Fund is coming to a climax. We will discover if we have been successful and if so in what amount. Fingers crossed and many thanks to those who have been responsible – they know who they are.

The National Federation of Anti Bedroom Tax and Austerity Campaign is planning another “Steering Committee” to pull people together and exchange ideas. The venue is likely to be Manchester in early September. All will be welcome – so watch out for final details.

Also in Manchester on the 29th September there is the warm Northern welcome being prepared for those attending the Tory Party Conference. Union sponsored coaches are being booked from Leeds leaving about 10.30 a.m. places are likely to be free so there is no excuse for missing the action.

We are in the process of preparing a more substantial Newsletter for general distribution, if you can help in its production contact us.

The next meeting of the group will be on the first Wednesday of August – the 7th at 7.00 p.m. at the Leeds TUC Centre at 88 North Street – all welcome.

Finally – a plea. If you pick up any information of relevance to the campaign against austerity do not keep it to yourselves. We try to keep abreast of developments but whatever you hear of let us know. And if you want to build activity in your area do not hold back, set things in motion and call us for assistance.

Again John Davies takes responsibility for the content of this newsletter

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