VIDEO: Protesters make their voices heard in Plymouth over bedroom tax
PROTESTERS have made their voices heard over the “bedroom tax” being introduced by the Government.
More than 50 people met at the sundial in the city centre to make their stand against the policy.
The new scheme, being brought in next month, is part of the new universal credit scheme.
It means housing association and council tenants will have housing benefits cut if they are deemed to have spare bedrooms – 14 percent cut for one spare room and 25 percent for two – in a move designed to free up large housing.
There were a variety of groups at the protest, including Unison, Unite, the Socialist Party, the Labour Party and Plymouth Uncut.
Representatives from all groups were handing out leaflets and encouraging people to sign the petition to oppose the proposed cuts.
Suzy Franklin, from Stoke, is part of the group of people who organised the protest.
The 49-year-old healthcare assistant, said: “We want to raise people’s awareness on the attack on the working class.
“It’s going to affect so many people so we need to get the message out there.
“It’s all about getting names on the petition.”
Charlene Sibley, another co-organiser of the event, added: “All anyone has got to do is look at the policy to know it’s a bad move.
“This is going to push people out onto the street and without a place to live.
“We need to remind people they have a voice and to show them the way.”
Those against the tax claim the cut in benefits for those with spare rooms in social housing would hit disabled people as well as military families.
Margaret Gale from Efford attended the protest to sign the petition.
The disabled woman, who turns 60 in April, is concerned about the road ahead.
“I’m really worried about it. I’m afraid of moving. It’s constantly on my mind and it’s the first thing I think about when I first get up.
“I just don’t see how I can pay it or what I’m going to do.
“I’m here to sign the petition and make my voice heard.”
Wendy Evans, aged 42, from West Park, agreed.
“I feel really strongly about it. I’ve looked into downsizing but the government would actually end up paying me more in benefits.
“It doesn’t make any sense, how is anyone winning,” she said.
Protestors came out in force with masks, placards and posters, and organisers spoke over a megaphone to encourage passersby to sign the petition.
Gemma Peter, aged 30 from the city centre said: “This is blatantly unfair. The government is turning it’s back on the people who need help.
“There’s not enough social housing anyway so what are people expected to do - where can they go?
“We want to raise awareness of what is happening.”
55-year-old Philip Yard from Estover had another view.
“I don’t disagree in principle for putting fines on bedrooms for the amount of people. However it’s not fair to do that for people with disabilities.
“They may need extra rooms to store what they need to assist them with their disability.
“I don’t believe benefits will reach people and families who need them most and that’s simply not fair,” he said.