Wednesday, 25 September 2013

New Charter Housing call on police to evict Bedroom Tax protestors!

On Saturday 21st September 2013 'Tameside Stop the Bedroom Tax & the Cuts' engaged in a peaceful protest demonstrating against the scandalous Bedroom Tax outside the Headquarters of New Charter Housing Trust Limited in Ashton-under-Lyne. The company are by far the biggest social landlord in Tameside, and being the biggest, they ought to be leading the fight against the Bedroom Tax, working alongside tenants in opposition to it which they have signally failed to do so far.
On  Saturday, New Charter held their annual 'jewel in the crown' Resident Showcase event. This was an ideal opportunity to reach out to tenants especially the 1,700 New Charter tenants that are affected by the Bedroom Tax. New Charter say they are opposed to the Bedroom Tax, but seem unwilling to join with tenants to oppose it? Actions speak louder than words!  New Charter haven't shown any real opposition to the Bedroom Tax even though housing boss, Ian Munro, declared it to be 'unfair and incompetent'. They have also declined to reclassify bedrooms to circumvent the tax in order to help tenants to remain in their homes and are pursuing legal action, against their tenants for Bedroom Tax arrears. 
The protestors  arrived outside the front entrance of New Charter H.Q. at 10:30 and set themselves up without obstructing entry. Shortly after tenants began to arrive, New Charter staff came out in force to form a  'cordon sanitaire', with three or four of them standing in a line with their backs towards the protestors trying to confine them to the wall area thereby blocking access to passing tenants. As tenants were guided into the building, they were told to ignore the protestors. 
New Charter staff initially refused to take any leaflets but one was seen to snatch a copy at the side entrance, which he tore in half as he angrily scrunched it up. As a protestor with his megaphone, called on New Charter to adopt a Bedroom Tax no evictions policy, a prominent New Charter tenant representative, Belinda Jeffrey, was seen to give  'the finger' to protestors from inside the building.  It is also understood that one female tenant, who was attending the event, asked if she could use the megaphone, then called  the protestors 'wankers'!  

An hour into the protest, the police arrived after being summoned by New Charter. The Bedroom Tax protestors were told that there had been a report that people had felt harassed and intimidated. After being reassured by protestors that this was  peaceful demonstration on the International Day of Peace,  the officer left, much to the chagrin of New Charter Housing staff.
The very purpose of the annual Residents Showcase event is for tenants to SHOWCASE what THEY are doing for tenants and the wider community as long as this doesn't involve campaigning against the Bedroom Tax, or treading on New Charter's big corns.
Steve (Starlord) Fisher, a protest organiser, told NV blog:  
"We had a very successful day and great fun was had by all. We had a wonderful time and would like to thank New Charter for the kindness they  have so far shown to everyone affected by this atrocious Bedroom Tax, brought-in by this wretched Tory-led government that is cutting taxes for the rich while introducing punitive taxation, for the most vulnerable people in society.
While it is excellent news to hear that Labour if elected, have pledged to repeal the Bedroom Tax, social landlords and council's, should in the meantime adopt a no evictions policy and cease pressuring tenants to leave their homes to move to smaller properties. We expect Tameside Labour to come off the fence and support the campaign against this iniquitous tax. We will also continue to protest and work in the best interests of tenants."  


Anonymous said...

Fabulous and highly informative article relating to the heinous bedroom tax. It is with great sadness that the rest of us note the petulant, aggressive and somewhat childish reactions of New Charter staff in relation to the peaceful protestors. The bedroom tax is a cruel, punitive and particularly vile tax levied upon those who can least afford to pay, this tax was designed to free up social housing and force vulnerable tenants into the over inflated private sector rental market, thus quadrupling the housing benefit bill. It is just and right that members of the public stand and demonstrate the vagaries of such an unfair tax bringing into the public forum. Well done those brave souls!

seer charlotte said...

Fantastic blog and a true interpretation of events that day.

tonydj said...

The New Charter organisation has close links to the police. £36k worth of motor vehicles given to GMP (See "Whatdotheyknow") web site. Also one of their senior enforcement officers is ex-Special Branch and Anti-Terrorist Squad

(I apologise for the crude "Copy and paste" link)

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