Bedroom tax protest planned for Halifax Town Hall

Jonathon Maguire and Amy Freeman

Jonathon Maguire and Amy Freeman

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A protest against the forthcoming “bedroom tax” is being planned outside Halifax Town Hall on March 22.

Jonathon Maguire, 21, said he is incensed by what he called a Draconian tax on the poor which drove him to organise the demo.

From April 1 the Government’s under-occupation “bedroom tax” will hit some of the district’s poorest families in the pocket.

Pennine Housing estimates 1,000 properties in Calderdale will be affected.

Tenants on housing benefit will have to pay at least £12 every week if they have a spare bedroom.

Mr Maguire said it was important the council and councillors understood the level of feeling although the tax is being imposed by central Government.

“There will be a lot of affected people and I want to stand up for them,” he said.

“That is why I am planning the event and hopefully we can hear their stories and get some kind of response.

“These people don’t have a lot of money and I know people who don’t put their gas fire on because of the cost.”

Mr Maguire said the authorities need to know there are people prepared to protest and he is gathering support from social media.

He lives in a two-bed privately rented terrace with his partner Amy Freeman. They are unemployed and aren’t directly affected due to living in private accomodation and in receipt of housing allowance rather than housing benefit.

Pennine said it had been contacting people affected to discuss their circumstances and options.

Benefit advisors can be contacted on 0300 555 0266.

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If you live in social housing accommodation housing benefit will be reduced for any tenants who have “spare bedrooms.”

One bedroom h is allowed for each couple, each adult over 16, two children of the same gender under 16, two children of different genders under 10.

You may have a child who stays with you regularly but the new rules do not include a bedroom for any child you do not claim child benefit for.

If you have one extra bedroom, the housing benefit office will calculate 14 per cent of your rent. This amount is then taken off your weekly housing benefit.

If you have two extra bedrooms 25 per cent of your rent will be deducted.