Stand up to unfair tax

THE Community Action Party have recommended that by reclassifying properties with small bedrooms, box rooms and parlour rooms the punitive bedroom tax could be reduced or eliminated altogether.

The response from Wigan and Leigh Housing (WALH) is astonishing and regrettable.

For the past few months, and as recently as a week ago, supposedly “non-political” WALH have been denouncing the Tory Government and claiming that due to the bedroom tax there is a surplus of three bedroomed houses that cannot be let.

A month ago the Labour MP for Makerfield even waved an article from the WEP under MPs’ noses in the Commons which described how the non-political chief executive of WALH condemned the legislation.

Yet now in response to Community Action Party proposals, made by Deputy leader Mike Moulding in the WEP, WALH have done a complete U-Turn and are claiming that they can re-let three bedroomed houses.

Well they can’t have it both ways! WALH’s excuse that if they reclassify properties the Government could change the rules is preposterous.

If enough Labour Councils stand up to the pernicious bedroom tax then the Tory Government would be forced to scrap it.

The token opposition to the bedroom tax by Wigan’s Labour Council, WALH and the Borough’s Labour MP’s is a disgrace and nothing more than political posturing and empty rhetoric with no substance or commitment whatever.

If reclassification of properties can work for the people of Leeds and elsewhere then why can’t it be done in Wigan?

It’s time to mount real opposition to the bedroom tax, reclassify WALH properties and end the misery for thousands.

Peter Franzen

Leader – Community Action Party

Editor’s note: Ashley Crumbley, chief executive of Wigan and Leigh Housing, says:

“The welfare and satisfaction of our tenants is the prime concern of everyone at Wigan and Leigh Housing. We are closely monitoring the impact of the under-occupancy charge, or bedroom tax, and I’m receiving weekly updates about the situation in Wigan.

“The government’s justification for the policy has been to free up three bedroomed properties by forcing people with spare bedrooms to downsize. However, the shortage of three bedroomed properties is mostly a housing problem in London and the south. In Wigan Borough, like much of the north of England, the situation is reversed. Here, there is a shortage of one and two bedroom properties and a surplus of three bedroom properties.

“Therefore, the bedroom tax is likely to aggravate our problems. That is the point I made publicly. I have stressed this on several occasions including in private meetings with government representatives.

“Our opposition to the bedroom tax has been clear and consistent. However, we are bound by the law and so have tried to make the best of the situation. For example, we have begun mutual exchanges where tenants who do not need a spare bedroom have swapped with tenants who do. When our properties become available, a third of them are ring-fenced for tenants affected by the bedroom tax.

“These are early days and we’re still assessing the impact of the policy but we are predicting there will be problems in letting our three bed properties, which is why we are keeping all options open.”

Labour left us in mess

Reading the letter Cuts attacking the poorest, (WEP June 4), put a great big smile on my face. Ah, a poor old Labour supporter has got himself into a lather, by reading his own propaganda. A few weeks ago he was claiming the mean Tories were going to cut the winter fuel allowance, now what has the Labour party just announced? And they have also apologised for letting in too many immigrants, spending too much money and leaving the country in a mess.

Mike Denny

via email