Bedroom Tax: Demand for ‘no evictions’ by angry Leeds tenants

Protesters against the bedroom tax, in Leeds city centre. PIC: Ross Parry
Protesters against the bedroom tax, in Leeds city centre. PIC: Ross Parry
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HUNDREDS of protestors called on Leeds Council not to evict tenants who get into rent arrears due to the controversial bedroom tax.

Placard-carrying children and pensioners joined activists from Hands Off Our Homes for a march and rally on Saturday calling on housing providers not to evict tenants.

Debbie Locke, a campaigner with Hands Off Our Homes, said: “Over 1,000 people marching against bedroom tax evictions is something Leeds City Council cannot ignore.

“They know it does not make financial sense to evict bedroom tax victims; they can save these people huge anxiety by making this commitment now.”

The demo heard from tenants hit by the housing benefit cuts.

Jenny, who has a degenerative neurological condition and is affected by the cuts, told the crowd: “It’s Leeds City Council who are forcing us to move out on to the streets – because there is nowhere for us to go.

“We haven’t got the money, we’re not going to be able to pay this.”

Campaigner Carole O’Keefe, of the Hands Off Our Homes’ Armley group, told crowds outside Leeds City Art Gallery: “We’ve been leafleting outside schools in Armley and I can’t believe what people are going through.

“We’ve been hearing some dreadful stories about young families that are going to be forced onto the streets. These are people with young kids who are already facing fuel and food poverty and that to me is unacceptable. There is such a strength of feeling about this.”

Last week a council spokesman said it was “working through” policies on dealing with rent arrears arising from welfare changes. The authority has a “clear duty to all tenants to collect rent,” he added.