Feb 21 2013 by Rob Pattinson, Skelmersdale Advertiser
TENANTS set to affected by the looming Bedroom Tax took part in a demonstration earlier this week.
The protest, which took place outside Nye Bevan Pool on Monday, was arranged by Skelmersdale North Cllr Neil Furey.
The tax, which will come into force in April, is part of Government welfare reforms that will cut the amount of benefit that people can get if they are considered to have a spare bedroom. Tenants will lose around £13 a week on average for one extra room.
After the event, Cllr Furey said:“The demonstration was well attended by tenants and local councillors.
“During the morning we received some strong support for the demonstration and spoke to many local people who are very angry with the introduction of a Bedroom Tax. People are complaining bitterly that the Bedroom Tax is unfair and people won’t be able to afford to stay in their own homes.
“It is clear that a Bedroom Tax is cruel and completely unworkable. Tenants are being forced to take in lodgers, do without food and pay this hated tax.”
Mandy Lunt, from Birkrig, Digmoor, was one of the tenants taking part.
Mandy, whose husband Ed told the Advertiser last week of their family’s struggle to find a home to downsize before the tax comes in, said: “We’re still in limbo. This was a way of expressing how this tax will affect people in Skem. There are lots of us in the same boat. It was good to see people there supporting this protest and trying to show how strongly we feel about it.”
Mandy and Ed have so far bid on 10 properties without success as they seek to move from their five-bed home to a three-bed to avoid being hit with benefit cuts on their two spare rooms.
And Mandy said: “We’ve got a few weeks’ window now to find a smaller home and if not we’ll start owing.”
A spokesman for West Lancs council said last week that staff had individually contacted tenants affected to discuss the options available, while discretionary grants were available to the most vulnerable.
A Facebook group called Skelmersdale Against the Bedroom Tax has been set up by affected tenants to offer each other support and advice.
Visit the group at on.fb.me/WUSrdH