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Thursday, 18 September 2014

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New demonstration in Carlisle against bedroom tax

Protestors angry at the government’s so-called bedroom tax will stage another demonstration at the weekend.

Michael Brader photo
Michael Brader

The protest will be held on Saturday in Carlisle and will be the second in the city as part of a national campaign against benefit cuts.

It hopes to repeat the success of the first event held earlier this month – which was one of 60 peaceful protests up and down the country.

Around 100 people attended the last Carlisle event and Michael Brader, from Carlisle and Eden Green Party, said he thought a similar number would turn out this weekend.

He said: “We are hoping to have a few speakers this time so people may stop and pay attention. I hope it raises awareness – one of the biggest issues at the moment is that people don’t know that it’s coming on April 1.”

Under the proposals, which are due to be brought in as part of the Government’s wider welfare reforms, people with unoccupied bedrooms face having to move to smaller properties or having their benefit payments cut.

In Carlisle alone 1,181 people will be affected, with 1,766 in Copeland, 1,553 in Workington 1,553 and 883 in Penrith and the Border.

Dr Éoin Clarke, a campaign spokesman, said: “The under-occupancy penalty, does exactly what it is supposed to, it penalises.

“The bedroom tax penalises 660,000 households, and a total of nearly 2 million men, women and children are affected. According to the Government’s own figures, 63 per cent of those penalised are disabled.

“Nearly one quarter of those penalised are lone parents.”

He added that foster parents who looked after more than one child would be penalised an average of £728 a year.

According to a recent poll by a national newspaper just one in four UK voters support the bedroom tax – and it is understood that the penalty is unpopular with the majority of Conservative voters.

Dr Clarke said: “This is not a matter of left and right, this is a matter of right and wrong.”

He added that successive governments had failed to build adequate social housing stocks and, according to official figures, 997,000 homes in England and Wales are currently empty.

The demonstration on Saturday, one of 50 planned throughout the UK, will be held outside the Old Town Hall in Carlisle from 1pm.

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