Archive for the ‘Housing rights’ Category

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Emergency Housing & Temporary Accomodation residents meeting

May 29, 2016

E&THRMB&H

Wednesday 8th June

7pm Friends Meeting House Ship Street Brighton

Meeting for residents in Emergency Housing & Temporary Accommodation in Brighton & Hove

Emergency and Temporary Accomodation is a scandal, provided not by the council itself but by companies who can make many hundreds a month for each shabby damp room, far more than they would get in rent on the open market!

The council is failing to provide people in need with secure, supportive and habitable accommodation.  There are bedbugs in Grand Parade, suicides and drug overdoses, families and people with mental illnesses living in unsuitable conditions with shit cooking facilities and sometimes no ability to wash clothes.

If you are fed up with your living situation then you need to come to this interesting meeting with like minded residents who want to reclaim our housing, improve conditions and put pressure on the council to rethink their policy on Emergency and Temporary Accommodation.

If you have any questions or want to clarify anything then please email daniel@survivorblog.co.uk

It’s time to fight back!  Together we can expose the wrongdoing that is happening and we need your voices and horror stories. See you there!

https://www.facebook.com/events/1015529065200442/

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Stop the Council’s Tax Attack!

October 18, 2015

Tax attack

Council Tax Reduction scheme 2016-17

Brighton & Hove City Council proposals mean much higher bills for people on benefit

Before 2013, Council Tax Benefit covered the cost of council tax for people on some benefits. This was in recognition that, if you qualify for certain means tested benefits, you can’t afford to pay council tax.

Council Tax Benefit was abolished by the government in 2013, and replaced with a council run scheme called “Council Tax Reduction Scheme”. Since then, the amount of help the poorest households in Brighton & Hove can get with their council tax bills has been cut from 100% to 85%.

The council are now proposing another cut in this help – so that it will only cover 75% of the full council tax bill. Some people will therefore see their council tax bills go up by 67% from April 2016. This is despite the fact that, in real terms, benefits are worth less than they were in 2012, so people are actually less able to pay, not more.

From April 2016, life for people on benefits will get even harder, because the government are freezing all working age benefits and making big cuts to tax credits. The council’s proposal will mean yet another blow for these very same households.

This is deeply unfair. It will increase poverty and push people into debt. It is also not a sensible way for the council to raise money.

The amount the council is owed in unpaid council tax has already increased substantially because they are asking people to pay who are simply unable to afford to do so. Trying to plug a funding gap by billing people who can’t pay the bill is not just unfair and unethical but impractical, and will lead to the council spending yet more on chasing debts. It will also put people under even more stress and strain, which is likely to lead to even more pressure on local services, such as mental health services.

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PUBLIC MEETING:  NO MORE CUTS TO COUNCIL TAX REDUCTION

Thursday 12th November

7.30pm

Synergy Centre West Street (opposite the Odeon)

Called by Brighton People’s Assembly against Austerity, Brighton & Hove Green Party, Brighton & Hove Left Unity, Brighton Benefits Campaign, CASE Central

Join us to hear first hand what this will mean for people in Brighton & Hove, and to share your story.  Speakers (details to come) and discussion.

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OTHER ACTION YOU CAN TAKE

Complete the council’s consultation by October 20th.  Tell your friends – many people don’t know this is going on.  Have a look at our briefing notes for ideas about completing the consultation.

Sign the petition

Spread the word through your networks

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March and Sleep Out for the Homeless in Brighton today!

April 15, 2015

CHANGE NOT CHANGE

WEDNESDAY 15th APRIL

MARCH – 11.30am OLD STEINE GARDENS

SLEEP OUT – FROM 4pm OLD STEINE GARDENS

General Assembly
Love Kitchen
Speakers/Open Mic
Music

Join us!

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The Labour Party is called the Opposition – tell them to start acting like it!

September 16, 2013

LPDemoPosterFullC

TELL LABOUR TO STOP SUPPORTING TORY POLICIES!

 When a Labour government swept to power in 1997, it could have restored those rights which had been under attack since the 1970s. Instead it chose to ally itself with corporate tax-shirkers, company bosses, grasping landlords and rich investors, to turn Britain into a paradise for the privileged.

Now we have a Coalition intent on breaking open every last part of our public services for private profit, and threatening millions of us with homelessness and destitution.  Our rights to secure housing, employment, healthcare, education, justice and social security are all under attack, while divisive propaganda is used to blame the worst off and turn us against each other.

Yet Miliband and Co. just stand on the side-lines or actively cheer it on, because Labour still agrees with every cut, every sell off, and every assault on the rights of  working people.

Labour supports cuts in the name of austerity.  Despite the fact that the financial crisis was due to the gambling of greedy unregulated bankers and that trillions of pounds was spent on bailing them out, it has been used as an excuse to launch a vicious attack on the public sector.  Since the crisis the income of top earners has rocketed while the rest of us face frozen pay, crippled services, and job and housing insecurity.

Labour scorns those reliant on benefits.  It was Labour that introduced US-style workfare schemes, which it still approves of, and employed Atos to force the sick and disabled off benefits  through the iniquitous work capability assessment.  No wonder Liam Byrne is promising to help the Tories salvage the shambles of  Universal Credit, which is planned to punish all those on low incomes.

Labour has turned its back on workers.  Far from reversing Thatcher’s assault on employment rights, Labour openly got into bed with business.  Workfare in particular represents a state handout to the bosses while attacking real jobs – substituting dole slavery for paid work and threatening pay and conditions, health and safety, and the right to organise.

Labour supports privatisation. Hardly surprising, after all it introduced academy schools, tuition fees, NHS foundation trusts and the Private Finance Initiative.  Dodgy private companies like G4S have been paid millions in public money.  Labour talks of saving the NHS in 2015 – but there won’t be anything left to save.

When will Labour stop embracing Tory policies and remember who it is supposed to represent.  We already have one major party for the wealthy and privileged, we don’t need another.

 LABOUR IS CALLED ‘THE OPPOSITION’  – TIME TO ACT LIKE IT!

Meet at the Level at 10.30am.  Wear black if possible. Follow the coffin representing the death of our rights in a slow march to the Brighton Centre.

MASS PICKET OF WORKFARE AND ZERO HOURS EXPLOITERS

Directly following the demo.  Join us in taking action against the private companies and charities making use of corporate welfare.

LPdemoleaflet2

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The Mass Sleep Out in Brighton

August 26, 2013

TMSO Brighton

On August 24th concerned citizens and activists from a number of campaigns and groups including Brighton Benefits Campaign, Brighton People’s Assembly, Brighton Solidarity Federation and Marea Granate gathered in Brighton’s Old Steine gardens to raise awareness of the mass homelessness which will result from the bedroom tax and other benefit cuts.

Red Green Singers

Because of the weather, a large marquee (kindly lent by Duncan Blinkhorn) formed the focus. There was much public interest during the afternoon despite the heavy rain with many leaflets given out, some interesting debates and a high level of support. In the evening the Red-Green singers led enthusiastic versions of old songs adapted to the current circumstances and ending with an inspiring rendition of the Internationale.

Marquee

We heard from Brighton Benefits Campaign. Our friends from Marea Granate held a meeting. Food and drink was shared and we made many cups of tea (later resulting in many trips to the bushes!). Guitars were played and we had another, even more rousing go at Bella Chiao.

Brighton Benefits Campaign at TMSO

Around 23 people spent the whole of the wet and increasingly cold night sleeping out under canvas, in tents or in the marquee. During the night those of us who remained in the marquee were joined by another ten people. Some were street homeless, others for one reason or another adrift in Brighton with nowhere to stay the night, including one young man visiting the city who had lost his companions after an evening out and was completely lost.

TMSO tents

All in all, despite horrible weather, the Sleep Out was a success, reaching a lot of people and gaining support. Our event was one of many throughout the country, raising awareness of the issues to a new level. The contribution of so many homeless or precariously housed people also brought home the desperate housing situation in this country today.

WE SAY BRING BACK RENT CONTROLS AND HOUSING SECURITY, COMMITMENT TO SOCIAL HOUSING AND THE USE OF EMPTY PROPERTIES, PRIORITY GIVEN TO SOLVING HOMELESSNESS, A DECENT LEVEL OF BENEFITS BASED ON NEED, AND AN END TO CORPORATE WELFARE!

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Indymedia wrote up a good report http://indyrikki.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/brighton-opsleepout-protest-report-and-pics/

Filmaker Bob Maddams shot footage & interviews which we will post up asap

The Argus did write us up – article below (not online as yet)

Argus Sleep Out article small

 

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.10151706704391263&type=1

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Benefits Road Show pictures

August 18, 2013

The weather was grim and business a bit slow but those who came enjoyed an afternoon of cake, tea & the wonderful Bandana Collective, while informing themselves about the latest attacks on benefits and how to counter them.

Benefits Road Show

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Mass Sleep Out in Brighton 24 August

August 7, 2013

BMSO

Groups all over the country are sleeping out on the night of August 24th 2013, to protest at the way bedroom tax and other benefit cuts are threatening the security of people’s homes, resulting in mass homelessness.

Bedroom tax is a cut to housing benefit for council and housing association tenants who are living in houses deemed to have “spare” bedrooms, according to inflexible government rules brought in this April.

This month, the introduction of the overall benefit cap will threaten the security of many more people in Brighton & Hove, as their housing benefit will be cut, leaving them unable to pay the very high private rents in the city.

Bedroom tax is an attack on the idea of secure public housing as a resource for everyone in the community. The government wants us to think that homes are a reward for good behaviour and that people can be moved around like jigsaw pieces.

We say housing is a human right. People on benefits have real lives which should not be disrupted to suit the agenda of millionaires like George Osborne and David Cameron. They have strong local networks of support and contribute to their communities.

Successive governments have attacked our housing rights. Fair rents and housing security have been done away with, mortgage benefit slashed, housing benefits for private tenants cut and capped.  Now people living in social housing are faced with the stark choice – pay up or get out.

Those having to find up to £26 per week out of their benefits to pay this unfair tax include seperated parents who share the care of children, people who need a room to store medical equipment, those whose homes have been adapted for their special needs, and people who can’t share a room with their partners because of illness or disability.

In addition the overall benefit cap will slash the amount available for housing for people living in areas with high rent levels, like Brighton & Hove.

It’s time to end state handouts for landlords and employers. The government wants us to see those on benefits as feckless and workshy. The truth is 80% of working age benefits are spent topping up low wages, and  housing benefits go straight into the pockets of landlords.

We say bring back rent controls and housing security, a decent level of benefits based on need, and an end to corporate welfare.

 

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Brighton Benefits Road Show is on its way!

August 6, 2013

Brighton Benefits Road Show poster

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Brighton Benefits Action / Brighton Bedroom Tax Victim Support Group

June 24, 2013

BRIGHTON BEDROOM TAX VICTIMS SUPPORT GROUP

Bedroom tax support group meeting flyer

BRIGHTON BENEFITS ACTION GROUP

The next organising meeting will be on Wednesday 3 July at the TUC Unemployed Centre, Crestway Parade, Hollingdean starting at 7pm.
All are welcome to join in planning action against welfare cuts and attacks on housing rights.

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Benefits Justice Action gets results but the fight must carry on!

June 1, 2013

Despite a recent decision of Brighton City Council’s Housing Committee not to evict those hit by the Bedroom Tax during the course of this year, a number of Council tenants have already received letters entitled ‘Notice of seeking possession’.  These letters have been sent to them without any previous contacts. They also unfairly accuse tenants of having failed to pay a number of weeks’ rent, when in fact they only failed to pay a number of weekly shortfalls (smaller than a full rent).

On 31 May 2013 a group from Brighton Benefits Campaign presented themselves with banners and placards at the Housing Centre in Moulsecoomb, asking to see a manager with regard to the recent threats of sanctions. A delegation was seen by the Head of Housing Management Ms Dafe and another Council officer.

Ms Dafe told us that:

• The Council has now recognised that the procedure so far applied to Bedroom Tax Victims (BTVs) was too harsh and that it is now revising the procedure.

• No more letters entitled ‘Notice of seeking possession’ will be send to BTVs straight away. Ms Dafe guaranteed that such a procedure will stop from next week (3 June 2013).

• From 3 June 2013, two preliminary steps will be taken by the Council before sending a letter threatening a Notice of Seeking Possession. The Council will first make more than one effort to contact BTVs to enquire about their circumstances and offer advice.

• The Council is now drafting a new letter, to be used as a ‘first step’, and will send a sample to Brighton Benefits Campaign in about a week and a half.

• Ms Dafe agreed that the Council rent statement should not unfairly call a ‘week’s rent’ what is in fact a shortfall on the weekly rent.

These decisions are a good sign. However Brighton Benefits Campaign believes that more political pressure should be exerted in the course of this year, for two reasons:

Firstly, the Council can only guarantee that no-one who is in arrears solely due to the Bedroom Tax and who has taken all reasonable actions in their circumstances will be taken to Court during this year, but the Council can still serve them with a Notice of Seeking Possession during this year.

This means that a possible future eviction will be pending over many heads, and that innocent and compliant BTVs can be evicted from April 2014 – only because the Council has not enough suitable homes to offer them!

Secondly, although Ms Dafe told us that individual cases may be selected for humane consideration, the Council cannot guarantee that tenants who were already in arrears for other reasons won’t be evicted when the Bedroom Tax plunges them into deeper debt.

Please get in contact with us if you experience anything that contradicts this information, and help us pushing for more: for a U-turn in the recent attacks on benefit levels (including the Housing Benefit cap, the Bedroom Tax, the abolition of Council Tax Benefit, and the attack on the Local Housing Allowance), for the reintroduction of rights for tenants and private rent control, and for increasing social housing provision.

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There will be a meeting in Hollingdean next Thursday to organise a local group to fight the Bedroom Tax and benefit cuts (details in previous post).

If you would like to help with leafleting the area we will be at the TUC Unemployed Centre from 3pm on Sunday,  or leaflets can be collected from the centre during office hours during the week.

Hollingdean Meeting Leaflet