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Weymouth protest against 'bedroom tax'
2:44pm Friday 15th March 2013 in Latest
PROTESTORS gathered in Weymouth to campaign against a controversial welfare reform.
Dozens gathered at the Weymouth and Portland Borough Council Offices at North Quay today to voice their opposition against the bedroom tax.
The reform, also known as the under-occupancy penalty, is due to come into effect in April and will cut the amount of benefit people are entitled to if they are considered to have a spare bedroom in their council or housing association home.
Organiser Michael McManus said it will affect hundreds of people in Dorset and the rest of the country.
He said: “We want the government to listen to the people who they are hurting and who will be upset by this.
“There are hundreds in Dorset and we’ve got people coming from out of the county as well.
“So many people will be affected by this.”
He added: “The government is putting this tax on people’s bedrooms, it’s not housing benefit cuts it’s basically a tax.
“They are actually not giving you what you need to live on, it’s mental.
“How many one-bedroom properties are there in Dorset, there are people who want to live in them but not enough available.
“There are a lot of questions to be answered.”
Mother-of-two Rachel Mcgarvey said she will be more than £50 worse off each month, which is money she can’t afford.
She said: “I’ve got two sons, one is disabled and because they are both under 16 they are supposed to share.
“It’s going to cost another £53 a month for the third bedroom that we need, I don’t even know how I will find that money.
“The room is tiny, it’s such a small space, what really upsets me is that I was in a two-bedroom property which was actually bigger than the three-bedroom one I’m in now.”
A Facebook group set up by Mr McManus has attracted almost 300 supporters in the first two days of being online.
The protest is part of larger marches in cities across the country against the tax, which are taking place on March 30.
Mr McManus said he is not affected personally by the policy, but many of his immediate family and friends will be.
“They are targeting vulnerable people, those who are disabled or recovering from illness,” he said.
“Some people find it difficult to stand up for themselves, so it’s important that we all speak out about it.”
For more information about the protest, search Dorset Bedroom Tax on Facebook.
Local councillors suppported the protest
COUNCILLOR Mike Byatt turned out in support of the protestors.
He said: “As a labour councillor I’m upset about what the government is doing and I went to the protest because people affected by this need every bit of support they can get.
“They are the ones experiencing the outcomes of policy.
“The government is actually hurting people locally and all over the country.
“It’s not fair and the government needs to be held account for what they are doing.”
Tell us what you think?
Would you be affected by these changes? Do you think the housing benefits system is fair?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01305 830982 to have your say.