Unite’s community activists will be spearheading protests against the government‘s 'bedroom tax', which could hit about 650,000 people, tomorrow (Saturday 16 March).
In the latest twist, ministers appear to be playing politics with the homes of young service personnel, serving in such dangerous war zones as Afghanistan.
Activists will be protesting in dozens of cities and towns across the country against 'the tax', whose architect is the work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith.
Len McCluskey said: "Iain Duncan Smith's attempt to deflect attention from his shambolic policy has fallen flat on its face. It looks very much like the young men and women serving overseas will not, after all, have a bedroom to come home to.
"He has cruelly misled armed forces parents. What thanks is this for the service their children have given this country?
“The government’s decision this week to exempt some foster carers and military families from the bedroom tax is a cynical ploy. This exemption would help just 5,000 people, while 650,000 face upheaval or poverty as they struggle to meet increased housing costs.
“The truth that Iain Duncan Smith is dodging is that 650,000 families across the UK are suffering sleepless nights because this government plans to uproot them from their homes or push them deeper into financial misery.”
Foster carers who look after one child in social housing with a spare room have been exempted, but those with two or more look to be hit – Unite branded such a policy as ”bizarre”.
Len McCluskey said: “Unite is honoured to be working with communities across the UK to help people keep their homes. If this pernicious move is allowed to happen, it will have a terrible impact of forcing kids out of schools and causing people to lose their jobs.
“In essence, the government is engaging in community clearances – and we must oppose this with all our strength.
"The strength of feeling among communities about this senseless and cruel policy is palpable. Unite is defiantly proud to be helping people come together to defend their homes and those of their friends and neighbours too.
“The government has got this very, very wrong. This is no way to go about solving the housing crisis.
“Unite has warned that the bedroom tax will cause social upheaval as communities are cleared of people who cannot afford to pay for their bedrooms.”
For events in particular regions, please contact Unite’s regional community co-ordinators:
Scotland: Jack Ferguson 07711 376562;
North West: Sheila Coleman: 07711 375538;
North East, Yorkshire and Humberside: Joe Rollin 07711 375536
East Midlands: Luke Primarolo 07717 787359;
London & Eastern: Pilgrim Tucker 07970 126249;
South West: Brett Sparkes 07702 874585
Daily Mirror map of some of the main events
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
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.