Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Hundreds March against Bedroom Tax

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Hundreds March against Bedroom Tax

Article excerpt

Byline: SOPHIE BARLEY sophie.barley@eveninggazette.co.uk

ANGRY Teessiders who oppose the Government's controversial bedroom tax gathered in their hundreds to stage protests.

Rallies took place in Redcar, Middlesbrough and Stockton with campaigners saying the tax is unfair and will hurt vulnerable families.

The bedroom tax affects people on housing benefit who are judged to be under-occupying their rented properties.

The Government has said that housing benefit almost doubled over the last decade to more than PS23bn a year and that spending had to be brought under control.

Middlesbrough's Labour MP Andy McDonald led the protest in Middlesbrough town centre. Campaigners gathered with placards for the demonstration.

Mr McDonald, Middlesbrough Council's Labour group leader Charlie Rooney and MP for Easington Graham Morris gave speeches. People were asked to sign a petition which Mr McDonald said he will take to Parliament.

He said: "We have had a lot of support today. So many people have come to share their stories about how this tax will affect them and it is heartbreaking.

"Hopefully this will make the Government think again. We think they should just scrap it all together."

Alan Thompson, 56, from Berwick Hills, said: "I think this tax is totally unfair. It is targeting the vulnerable. I have two spare rooms at my house so it will affect me.

"I have five grandchildren who come and stay. I love them coming over. And now I am going to have to pay to have my grandchildren to stay. It's terrible."

Caroline Martin, 50, from Middlesbrough, said: "I have a three-bedroomed house and two of the rooms are spare. This tax means that I will lose PS25 a week off my benefits. This means I will have PS37 a week to live off - to pay all my bills with. I won't be able to live - I will have to downsize. …

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