Unite vows to continue the fight as High Court judge r...

Unite vows to continue the fight as High Court judge rejects 'bedroom tax' challenge

30 July 2013

Unite, the country’s biggest union, today vowed to continue the fight against the bedroom tax, as 10 families had their legal challenge rejected by a High Court judge.
The union pledged to continue to stand in solidarity with disabled people and their families, who were challenging the policy on human rights grounds, as well as the other 660,000 households who are affected. 
Unite branded the bedroom tax “a callous attack on vulnerable people”, while committing to continue “helping communities organise across the country to fight back and oppose evictions”. The union also revealed plans to fight the bedroom tax in the courtroom.
Additionally, the union called for the government to concentrate on building new homes as a means of tackling the housing benefit bill and stimulating the economy.
Commenting, Steve Turner, Unite executive director for policy, said: “The bedroom tax is a callous attack on vulnerable people.  Our union applauds the brave actions of the families at the High Court today; they may not have won the day, but they did win the argument. This tax is discriminatory and is causing hardship, which is why the judge ordered the government to produce a further stream of cash for councils struggling to cope with one of Westminster's most absurd and cruel policies. 
“The government is punishing some of the most vulnerable people in the country for our housing crisis, telling them to move to smaller properties that don’t exist.  In Bolton for instance, there are now 11,000 people on the waiting list for just 91 one-bed homes*.  While Lord Freud, the minister who introduced the bedroom tax, lives in an eight-bed country mansion he has been telling people hit by the policy that their children should sleep on a sofa.
“The fight does not stop here.  We are helping communities organise across the country to fight back and oppose evictions.  Where possible, we will also look to support members who are able to fight the bedroom tax in court and our community coordinators offer advice and support to people faced with eviction. 
“Instead of victimising ordinary people, the government should get on with delivering desperately needed homes.  Building a new generation of genuinely affordable housing would bring down the housing benefit bill, as well as creating skilled jobs and stimulating the economy.”
For further information contact James Bevan on 07711 347 645.
Notes to editors:

*Bolton News - Special report: How 'bedroom tax' has left 11,000 people in Bolton waiting for just 91 one-bed homes - 18 July 2013

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.