Monday, 10 June 2013



The bedroom tax debate is putting people to sleep. And they need to waken up.

 A week ago, the debate hit the headlines  of Carlisle`s News and  Star with the front page of the paper nearly filled  with this outburst: ”Flats to be pulled down…bedroom tax  causes increased  need for one-bedroom homes, but these homes are being demolished

The story behind those headlines was about the demolition soon by Riverside Housing Association of  16 one-bedroom flats in Borland Avenue, Botcherby. And also about a campaign  by Botcherby councillor Robert Betton to halt the demolition.

Councillor Betton rightly claimed that the Riverside demolition of the flats and the replacement with two and three bedroom houses on the site would leave more people struggling with the bedroom tax.

Councillor Betton is a popular figure in Botcherby with a lot of support. And he did well to highlight Riverside`s appalling decision to demolish these flats.

But having done so well so far, why has Councillor Betton  fallen asleep? He had his chance to follow up his protest with some punchy questions for the boss of Riverside, Mr Patrick Leonard, when the two of them met  at public protest meeting about the bedroom tax a few days later.

Other  protesters at the meeting had some punchy questions for Mr Leonard  about the plan to demolish the flats. But there were no punchy questions from Councillor Betton.

And  neither was there any convincing answers from Mr Leonard.

Nor was there any convincing answers when the other protesters said the tax had  generated a  massive amount of fear among tenants of all housing associations, worried that they would lose their homes.

The Carlisle branch of the national movement, Axe the Bedroom Tax, did a  good job in organizing the meeting and being prepared to support tenants being evicted.

But support is also needed for a challenge to Riverside`s policy over the Botcherby flats and about other matters.

And support is needed for a challenge to Riverside`s power to make that policy without having proper scrutiny of it by Carlisle people.

The alarm about bedroom tax  is now deafening: the alarm about Riverside  is equally deafening!

Wakey! Wakey!

INFORMATION about the Federation is contained in the first entry of this bliog, dated March 25.

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