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Friday 31 May 2013

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Labour votes down rebel councillors 'no bedroom tax evictions' motion

Sue Atkins with Don Thomas and Keith Morrell, photo by TUSC

Sue Atkins with Don Thomas and Keith Morrell, photo by TUSC   (Click to enlarge)

THE SOUTHAMPTON council meeting on May 15th debated a motion moved by the 'rebel councillors' Keith Morrell and Don Thomas that the council remove the threat of eviction if a tenant falls into arrears because they are unable to pay the 'Bedroom Tax' increase in their rent.

The motion was quite straightforward. It read:

"Further to the resolution of the council concerning the under-occupation penalty (so-called 'Bedroom Tax'), Southampton council further resolves not to evict any tenant who goes into rent arrears because of the 'Bedroom Tax' and calls on other local social housing providers to do the same.

"This council also calls on the next government to scrap the 'Bedroom Tax' legislation and reimburse councils where debts have accrued through non-payment".

Given that Labour is supposed to be opposed to the 'Bedroom Tax', how could a council with a big Labour majority possibly vote against? But shamefully the Labour councillors did (bar one, who abstained), joined by the Tory and Lib Dem councillors.

The bedroom tax is an important part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) campaign in the council by-election taking place in Southampton's Woolston ward, on June 13th. (See the background story on the by-election at http://www.tusc.org.uk/press070513.php )

Sue Atkins on doorstep, photo by TUSC

Sue Atkins on doorstep, photo by TUSC   (Click to enlarge)

The TUSC candidate Sue Atkins was at the council meeting when Keith and Don proposed their motion. She said: "The bedroom tax will hit many Woolston ward residents.

"TUSC campaigners have spoken to many people worried about how it will affect them. Every vote for TUSC is a vote to back up Keith and Don in the campaign to make sure Southampton council stands on the side of tenants facing this spiteful tax and not the side of the government".

Help TUSC's election campaign

Can you help out the campaign in Woolston? There's plenty of leafleting and door-knocking to do and help would be especially appreciated on polling day, June 13th.

Accommodation can be arranged for anyone coming from outside Southampton. Contact the election agent Nick Chaffey on [email protected] or phone 07833-681910.

And if you can't physically come to Southampton to help, could you make a donation instead? There's a PayPal facility on the TUSC website (at http://www.tusc.org.uk/donate.php ) or you can send cheques, made payable to the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, to TUSC, 17 Colebert House, Colebert Avenue, London, E1 4JP.