IHOOPS have had extensive consultation with Islington Council to seek to produce a statement on bedroom tax evictions. Following consultation, IHOOPS has produced a statement below.
IHOOPS welcomes the promise made by Cllr Richard Greening at a meeting of Islington tenants, campaigners and trade unionists on 19 March that the council will do all in its power to avoid evicting council tenants who fall foul of the government’s bedroom tax, and the commitment by Islington Council Executive Member for Housing and Development, James Murray, that the Council will not evict people who “have no option to move and their arrears are entirely due to the bedroom tax”. This progressive stance should assist those trying to gain better policies in other councils.
We recognise the difficult position Islington Council has been put in by the imposition of this iniquitous bedroom tax by the Tory and Lib-Dem Coalition government
We call on the Council not to evict tenants who have got in to arrears with their rent due to the bedroom tax and look forward to it working with the local community to avoid such evictions.
In particular, IHOOPS urges the Council transparently to assess reasonable requests to alter the recorded number of bedrooms
We are pleased that Islington Council is keen to unite with all of us – tenants, trade unionists, community groups, anti-cuts and disability campaigners and ordinary local people concerned about social justice – who are determined to stop the Coalition government from cutting our public services, taking away our jobs, stealing our benefits and, now, kicking the poorest out of our homes to pay for a crisis caused by their billionaire friends in the City and the boardrooms.
The Council estimates that 3,000 households in Islington could lose housing benefit and get into rent arrears as a result of the bedroom tax which will come in on 1st April. Around 2000 of these households will be council tenants and 1000 will be housing association tenants.
We welcome the Council’s commitment to do all it can to protect the interests of all of Islington’s residents and should encourage all other social and private landlords in the borough to do the same.
The Coalition Government claim the policy will free up much needed larger properties in the social housing sector. It will not do this as there are simply not enough smaller properties to go around and so people will be stuck in larger properties without the means to pay the full rent. And the truth is that the current housing crisis in London does not result from under occupation of social housing, the problem is years of sell offs of social housing and failure to build replacements. The removal of rent controls has made the situation much worse.
The bedroom tax policy is a potential disaster for thousands of local residents. And at an average cost of around £11,000 per eviction we know that the council shares our view that it doesn’t make sense at even the most basic economic level.
The decision of Dundee Council to do all it can to mitigate the effect of the tax on tenants is a welcome sign of opposition to the Coalition government’s attacks on the welfare state, which we need to step up the campaign for around the rest of the country.
IHOOPS believes that now is the time to stand up to this nasty but weak and increasingly unpopular Tory and Lib-Dem Coalition government. We believe that all those opposed to the government’s attacks on the welfare state should unite to do their best to ensure that not a single Islington household loses their home as a result of this vindictive ‘tax’.
IHOOPS, as an independent organisation, will continue to oppose all evictions related to the bedroom tax and other benefit cuts.