'Bedroom tax' in the Midlands

Anti-cuts activists will be in Birmingham today, in protest at the Government's welfare changes. UK Uncut said it will highlight the effect of the so-called bedroom tax, with protesters expected to take beds with them to the demonstrations.

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'Bedroom tax' protesters 'storm' Birmingham Council Chamber

Protesters oppose the Government's spare room subsidy which opponents have called a 'bedroom tax.' Credit: Michael Scott

Protesters from the campaign group UK Uncut have stormed Birmingham's Council Chamber. They were protesting against the Government's spare room subsidy which opponents have called a 'bedroom tax.'

Some of the protesters had to be forcibly removed from the building Credit: Michael Scott

A group of around twenty activists got into the chamber through the staff entrance and hung a banner from the Leader's Chair.

A mock eviction notice was served to the council leader Sir Albert Bore Credit: Michael Scott

They also delivered a mock eviction notice to the council leader Sir Albert Bore. Some had to be forcibly removed from the building, one man was arrested but later released without charge.

It was part of national day of action by campaigners.

Anti-cuts protests target 'millionaire misery makers'

Hundreds of people from an anti-cuts group are aiming to bring home the Government's welfare changes to what they describe as 'millionaire misery makers'.

UK Uncut is protesting in Birmingham today against the Government's so-called bedroom tax and housing benefits cap.

The bedroom tax and benefits cap will make hundreds of thousands of people even poorer and homeless as they will be evicted from their homes.

– Rachel Johnson, UK Uncut activist

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Anti-cuts protests in Birmingham

UK Uncut protesters wave banner that says 'We won't buy your cuts' Credit: PA

Anti-cuts activists will be in Birmingham today, in protest at the Government's welfare changes.

UK Uncut said it will highlight the effect of the so-called bedroom tax, with protesters expected to take beds with them to the demonstrations.

National

IDS: 'This is about fairness in the system'

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has said that housing benefit changes that have been introduced today are about "fairness".

In response to criticisms of the so-called 'bedroom tax', he said: "The reality is this is about getting our housing benefit back into order".

"This is about fairness. It's about fairness to those who pay vast sums of money in taxation to see that people living in subsidised accommodation who often don't use the bedrooms they've got, while others in overcrowded accommodation.... they can't get the accommodation they need.

"This is a nonsense problem that was created by the last government who didn't build enough housing and didn't manage the housing stock properly".

Read: What is the 'bedroom tax'

Concerns over welfare reforms in force from today

From today, thousands of social housing tenants will have their benefits cut if they are deemed to have a spare room. It is part of a raft of welfare reforms which critics have dubbed a bedroom tax.

Bryan Tudor and his wife Elaine live in a three bedroom house in Kidderminster. He suffers from a number of health conditions, including problems with his heart and kidneys. Mr Tudor says he will have to pay an extra £50 a month. He believes people with disabilities are being hit the hardest.

Changes 'will cut annual housing benefit bill by £23 billion' says Government

The Government says the changes will cut the annual housing benefit bill by £23 billion. It is also giving councils extra money to help vulnerable tenants. It said:

"It's not fair for people to continue to live in homes that are too large for their needs when in England alone there are around five million people on the social housing waiting list and over a quarter of a million tenants are living in overcrowded conditions."

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'A callous and plunderous policy' say protesters

Around 100 people gathered in Nottingham today to protest against the government's 'bedroom tax' which it is claimed will affect thousands of households.

Dubbed by Labour as the 'bedroom tax', it will cut the amount of benefit people can get if they are considered to have a spare bedroom.

According to the Housing Federation, around 50,000 households could be affected in the East Midlands.

Today protests are being held in cities throughout the Midlands.

"Bedroom tax" in the Midlands, full report

A mother from Nottingham says she could be forced to leave her home because of the so-called "bedroom tax".

Wendy Thompson is one of thousands of people in the city affected by a charge in housing benefit rules.

The Government is cutting benefit for council tenants who have a spare bedroom, saying it needs to help families living in overcrowded homes.

Peter Bearne reports.

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