No Housing Benefit for most under-21s; lowering of the overall household benefit cap; big cuts in Discretionary Housing payment budgets; attacks on ESA and disability benefits entitlement. No end in sight to the bedroom tax, to sanctions against JSA and ESA claimants, or to benefit levels and incomes of the low-waged falling ever further behind price inflation. Housing Association forced to sell homes at massive discounts to right-to-buy tenants, with local authorities effectively being forced to foot the bill by selling off council housing stock. We don’t yet know the timescale for all these changes, but we do know that before long we are likely to see a massive upsurge in eviction threats – and that we must be ready to resist them whatever it takes. In the meantime we continue to pressure the council to refuse to pass on these cuts to the city’s poorest residents, and to tell us exactly how they plan to respond to the government attacks on social housing (see our latest letter to YEP here)
When the bedroom tax was first introduced, Hands Off Our Homes organised meetings in many heavily-affected areas of Leeds. Some were very well-attended, and led to the formation of local groups which continued campaigning and were able to reach out to lots more people in their neighbourhoods with support and advice. The time is coming when we need to redouble our efforts to get people connected up within their neighbourhoods so that no tenant need stand alone in the face of an eviction threat, or go without the basic necessities of life for fear of losing the roof over their head. We need to let the council know that we will not stand by and let our neighbours be turned out of their homes. But to do this we need a whole range of people involved – so whether you have local knowledge and contacts, organising or IT skills, knowledge of benefits or the legal system, or just anger and a bit (or a lot!) of time to spare – please come to our next meeting to help get plans underway. Wednesday 1st July, 7pm at the UNISON offices on Woodhouse Lane, opposite the Fenton pub and near the universities – or get in touch with us to tell us how you can get involved.
Don’t forget to check out the website/facebook page for Leeds Welfare Fightback too, and get involved with our campaign against sanctions, cuts and workfare exploitation (see event here just for starters – maybe one for people who don’t enjoy meetings but want to get out and do something!)