Home demand is greater than available properties

People gathered to protest about the Bedroom Tax outside Retford 'Town Hall G130323-2a
People gathered to protest about the Bedroom Tax outside Retford 'Town Hall G130323-2a

Snow on Saturday didn’t dampen the fighting spirit as Labour councillors marched through Retford to protest against the Bedroom Tax.

They gathered at Retford Town Hall on Saturday morning before moving through town to speak to people about the changes to Housing Benefit.

Under the plans, due to come in to effect on 1st April, people in social housing deemed to under-occupy their homes will see their housing benefit cut by 14 or 25 per cent.

The march came a week after councillors launched the Axe the Tax petition in Worksop town centre - signed by more than 300 people to force the Government to make a U-turn.

Coun Josie Potts said the turn-out was smaller on Saturday because of the snow but that there was strong feeling nevertheless about Government proposals.

“I think this is absolutely disgraceful and so do many people in Retford, judging by the amount of concerned people who came to talk to us,” she said.

“I know of one particular couple who had a three-bedroomed property and managed to downsize, but it’s going to be difficult for many people to do the same.”

She added: “People are also very worried about the prospect of having to take in a lodger.”

“If you go for a job in a school you have to be CRB checked but will there be the same kind of checks for people taking in lodgers?”

“These changes will affect the most vulnerable people and this could make things even more difficult for some.”

Bassetlaw Council leader Coun Simon Greaves said he was overwhelmed by the strength of feeling shown at the marches.

“I am very grateful to everyone who showed up to support the cause,” he said.

“This is a tax on the most vulnerable people in our society and if we don’t stand up for them then it’s a poor show.”

Coun Greaves said people were eager to sign the petition - particularly after reading about the plight of Whitwell man Richard Rourke in the Worksop Guardian. ]

The disabled 46-year-old, of Bakestone Moor, has mounted a High Court challenge over the tax which could see him become homeless - less than a year after losing his wife Claire.

Said Coun Greaves: “We really had a great response - people were approaching us directly to say how outraged they were by the Bedroom Tax. They had read the story about Mr Rourke and wanted to show their support for the cause.”