Anti-bedroom tax campaigners from across Scotland will converge on the Scottish parliament this morning (Thursday 14 March), demanding that the Scottish government passes a 'No evictions for bedroom tax' policy.
Govan Law Centre and the STUC have initiated a petition to the parliament which closes on Friday, asking the Scottish government to amend Section 16 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001. This would mean that rent arrears incurred through the UK government's cuts to housing benefit would be treated as an ordinary debt and prevent evictions.
However, the Scottish government has indicated that it is not inclined to make this change despite the campaign's arguments that this could save thousands of Scots from being made homeless, particularly those with disabilities.
Unite Scotland community coordinator Jack Ferguson warned: "The bedroom tax means people living on the breadline will not be able to afford to pay their rent – landlords are already talking about how this will lead to evictions and those affected being treated as intentionally homeless.
"It's not nearly good enough to tell people that things will be sorted out down the line, either after the independence referendum or the next general election, when the Scottish government can and should protect people from the worst effects of the coalition’s policies now.
"It's time the Scottish government acted to ensure that no-one is made homeless and they can do that by listening to the growing anger of people and communities on this issue and make a simple, practical amendment to the existing housing legislation.”
The lobby will take place outside the Scottish parliament from 11:00 and will feature speakers from trade unions, disabled rights organisations and local community campaigners building grassroots resistance to the bedroom tax.
Notes for editors:
Contact: Jack Ferguson, Unite community coordinator, who will be available at the lobby, on 07711 376562.
Unite Community offers membership of Unite the union to those who wouldn't otherwise have a union to join such as the unemployed and disabled people on benefits. We organise in local communities to allow people to make their voice heard and get issues in the community changed. As such we are part of a growing national movement of many groups against the bedroom tax.
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.