Wirral protest against bedroom tax

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Raymond battling the winds. Pic Gemma Sherlock

Protester Raymond battles the winds. Pic Gemma Sherlock

Despite the high winds and rain, Wirral residents came together today to support the bedroom tax appeal hearings in the County Court, Hamilton Square.

Whilst busy shoppers were hunting for their last Christmas gifts, the demonstrators from the Wirral Green Party, South Wirral ABT group and Woodchurch Campaign group gathered to show the importance of victories at the tribunals.

Protected by their hoods and waterproofs, the group held onto their banners tightly whilst drivers beeped past in appreciation.

The hearings began at 10am with two of the cases being supported by the South Wirral Anti Bedroom Tax Campaign as residents face possible eviction.

Organiser of the protest, Jim McGinley from Hoylake and Wirral Green Party, said: “The bedroom tax itself is unjust and unfair and hasn’t been administered properly. It highlights government’s war against social provision of any kind and contrasts starkly with people from the other end of the economic scale.

“Recently we have learnt again that tax avoidance and invasion is not being pursued with the same attention as the bedroom tax and it’s clear that this present government is a government of the rich for the rich.”

Wirral Green party show their support for residents. Pic by Gemma Sherlock

Wirral Green party members show their support for residents. Pic by Gemma Sherlock

The bedroom tax, officially known as the under-occupancy charge, began in April this year and is part of the welfare reform that cuts the amount of benefit people receive if they are considered to have a spare bedroom in their council or housing association home.

Wirral Council informed residents if they have one extra bedroom the amount of rent used to calculate housing benefit will be reduced by 14% and if this includes two or more bedrooms then it will be reduced by 25%. Since then anti-bedroom-tax groups have been set up all around Merseyside and the country to campaign for the abolition of the levy.

Mr McGinley added: “The importance of victories at these tribunals cannot be exaggerated and those at the forefront of this struggle deserve every bit of support.”

About Gemma Sherlock, JMU Journalism