A LOCAL campaign group set up to provide support and information to people affected by the Bedroom Tax in Renfrewshire urged other communities to follow its example following the tragic death of Stephanie Bottrill.
The 53-year-old from Solihull took her own life , leaving a suicide note blaming the government.
The pressure to pay an extra £80 a month in rent because she had two spare rooms, formerly occupied by her children, was her breaking point according to her son.
Richard Neville, the campaigner behind the Bin the Bedroom Tax Renfrewshire, said that more communities should come together to support people who are affected by the Bedroom Tax.
Bin the Bedroom Tax Renfrewshire was set up to ensure that local people had support and information on how to cope with the bedroom tax.
“We’ve got to break the isolation that people feel,” said Neville. “People are sitting in their houses, scared, and putting their heads in the sand and ignoring letters, which means they’ll end up facing eviction. So, we’re trying to build that community and let people know they’re not on their own.”
The group has organised a series of public meetings throughout the area and has linked up with the West of Scotland Anti Bedroom Tax Federation.
“I’m working, so this doesn’t affect me, but I could lose my job tomorrow. I’ve got two girls who are both under 10, so we would be liable to pay that because they would be expected to share a room,” said Neville. “If this doesn’t spark people’s anger about welfare reforms, what are they going to think of next?
Bin the Bedroom Tax Renfrewshire has held public meetings in Paisley, Erskine, Renfrew, Kirklandneuk, Gallowhill and Foxbar. The campaign is ultimately calling for the writing off of all Bedroom Tax debt and the abolition of this cut to housing benefit. It has vowed to support people facing eviction as a result of rent arrears caused by the Bedroom Tax and will take direct action if necessary.
It is also fighting against cuts to the welfare state and calling for a crash public works social housing building program to create jobs and provide needed homes.
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