Wythenshawe opposes the bedroom tax

Labour Manchester City Council has once again voted a multi-million pound Wythenshawe in Manchester was once the biggest council housing estate in Europe. Under Labour, those council houses remaining after ‘Right to buy’ were handed over to two housing associations, Parkway Green and Willow Park. Parkway Green has told tenants deemed to be ‘under-occupying’ their homes that ‘you will have to pay Parkway Green the difference to make up your rent or your home could be at risk.’ FRFI organised a Smash the Bedroom Tax meeting in the estate on 28 February out of which came Wythenshawe Smash the Cuts. Sam Knowles explains why she decided to get involved:

‘I’m 23 years old and work, therefore I pay my taxes and contribute to “society”. I look after my younger brother, who is 17, in our three-bedroom flat in Wythenshawe, which the housing association provided to us, knowing there were only two of us. In April, I will have to pay an extra 14% more towards my rent, simply because I have a room that you can walk across in about three paces, which currently no one sleeps in. I am also a student and don’t want to face giving up my course which will finish in August.

‘I am on the bread line anyway. I do not know where I will make up the extra cash. I have told the housing trust this and they simply advise they “might” be able to find me a smaller property if I want it. In the meantime if I fall behind with my rent I face eviction.

‘I have saved and scrimped to pay for my carpets and decorating. If they do find me somewhere to move, who will cover the cost of this for me? “No one” is the answer. I am being forced to give up my home, or invite a stranger to live with me and my 17-year-old brother in our flat, to make up the difference. How is this justifiable?

‘I work, and I work hard. My brother also works, at Macdonald’s on £4 an hour. How can they expect a 17-year-old to work extra hours for such a small amount of money? [When I took the flat] I didn’t have a choice in what was given to me, and now I’m expected to fork up the extra cash from somewhere to pay for something that was out of my hands in the first place.’

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 232 April/May 2013