Campaigners aim to 'axe the tax' with public debate

NEARLY 200 people have signed a petition calling for the ‘bedroom tax’ to be scrapped – with protestors urging Councils to debate the issue.

Last Thursday, an organised protest group set up in Angel Place to ask passers-by if they would add their support to the campaign.

The protest was the third one in Worcester since the summer, with banners and A-boards placed along the route.

About 170 names have been put on a petition, which is being sent to the city council asking the authority to help influence the campaign.

Bus driver Noel Kennedy, aged 46, of Battenhall, who organised all three protests, said: “We had people coming up to us constantly saying ‘where can I sign your petition’.

"I was amazed by the support – we went into Worcester expecting to have to stop people and ask them to support us, but in the end they all came to us. 

“It was absolutely brilliant, people out there do care and our spirits are high.

“So many people are hurt by this policy. We’ve always been determined not to give up, and we are hoping to get the petition in next week.”

The city council’s Labour administration, which has backed any form of peaceful protest over the bedroom tax, says it would be happy to accept the petition.

Councillor Roger Berry, cabinet member for safer and stronger communities, said: “We agree with their principles about this – Labour is committed to abolishing the bedroom tax.

“We’ve got to implement policies the Government imposes on us, but staff are told to offer sympathetic consideration to people.” 

The bedroom tax, officially known as the spare room subsidy, means tenants in social housing get reduced housing benefit for each spare room.

The Government says the policy is easing welfare spending and will eventually free up more houses as smaller families downsize, rather than pay extra.