Notts Bedroom Tax Campaign Plannning Meeting – Minutes 17/04/2013

1. FEEDBACK FROM THE MEETING IN THE MEADOWS
Feedback was very positive and that the meeting went well. It was also noted that Paula was warm, welcoming and very helpful and was a credit to the campaign. It was agreed that the future NBTC meetings should be held in venues in the areas where we have local groups set-up and as such the next meeting would be in the Meadows.
It was noted that a local group in Hyson Green had been established independently of NBTC and so links should be made them.
ACTIONS:
• Ensure that regular contact is made with Paula & to provide help and support where needed.
• Make contact with the Hyson Green group to see how we can help/support them.

2. AIMS OF THE CAMPAIGN
There was much discussion and it emerged that the main aims for the NBTC fell into 2 areas;
• To instil confidence, provide knowledge and give support to the people affected by the bedroom tax of what can be done to appeal and fight it.
• To campaign in Notts against the bedroom tax until it is revoked.

3. WIDER STRATEGY FOR CAMPAIGN ACTIVITY
It had been agreed that the campaign would take a ‘pyramid’ approach where there would be central Notts-wide co-ordination, with lots of underlying groups formed at a local level.

As this approach was being taken it was raised that there needed to be some form of ‘structure’ that the local groups could follow in their campaiging. This would be as a means to supporting them with their activities rather than something they had to follow rigidly.

It would be beneficial to locate WHERE social housing was in the city so we could help provide wider support and information. Initially the NBTC would be focusing on those areas where there are the higher concentrations of people likely to be affected – The Meadows, and St. Annes were identified.

It was also flagged that there will be many people in areas where the bedroom tax doesn’t affect many and thus will be feeling isolated and fearful, so it was hoped that the campaign could reach and support these people shortly.

The wider strategy for the campaign would be a multi-pronged approach and would include;

Objective

How / what format

Lobbying Councillors & MPs to

a)Re-designate housing to avoid BT (as done by NCH re high-rise flats)

b)Provide a ‘no evictions’ pledge over BT arrears

  • Petition – online & physical.
  • Arranging for representative to speak about the BT at council meetings wherever possible.
  • Nottingham City residents to submit written Q’s about BT at City Council meetings to be answered & which are formally recorded within their minutes.
  • Get public statements from councillors/MPs who oppose the bedroom tax.

 

Setting up of local NBTC groups, providing support & a ‘structure’ for their campaigning to follow.
  • Meadows group getting established – next to focus on forming a St. Annes group.
  • Local campaigning ‘structure’ to focus on SWAMPING the councils with paperwork via everyone doing the following;
  1. Sending requests to council for further information
  2. Sending appeals to council re BT decision
  3. Applying to the council for DHP
  4. Writing to councillors & MPs.
  • Use the flyer distributed in the Meadows as template for creating local groups in other areas.
  • Providing information to people at a local level to include;

 

  1. Outline of council’s procedures’ overview re rent arrears & evictions to alleviate the misconception that the council can just evict overnight.
  2. Templates of information requests & appeal letters

 

  • Local NBTC groups to attend any BT protests/rallies.

 

NBTC website as a co-ordinating hub for the campaign
  • Information on the website to include;
  1. Info/diagrams of what can be done by everyone (points a-d above)
  2. Template letters (info/appeals) on the website
  3. Council’s procedures’ overview over rent arrears & evictions.
  4. Contact details of the Law Centre for support on legal level.
  5. Testimonials of people through different media such as video – helps put a ‘face’ to the BT issue.

 

  • Possibility to provide a NBTC ‘hotline’ for people wanting to get involved in the campaign (cheap mobile to be manned via campaign
  • Encourage more NBTC people to contribute to the website.

 

Get local & national media coverage
  • Make contact and build relationships with local media
  • Regularly send press releases followed up by telephone calls to contacts.

 

Link into regional and national BT protests / campaigns.
  • Advertise any known BT events on the facebook page & NBTC website.
  • Send NBTC representatives to regional/national events wherever possible.

ACTIONS;

1. Source the locations social housing through existing contact or if not to research this information.
2. Draft wording for a petition to be circulated to the group for comments before being established.
3. Acquire some public statements from Labour councillors opposing the bedroom tax.
4. Outline the council’s procedures for rent arrears & evictions.
5. Put templates of information requests & appeal letter on the NBTC website
6. Council eviction process onto the NBCT website
7. Collect testimonials of people affected by the bedroom tax for the NBTC website.
8. Obtain media contact spreadsheet

4. HOW TO ACCOMMODATE THOSE NOT ABLE TO ATTEND EVENING MEETINGS

As the next meeting would be based at the meadows the time and date of the next meeting would be dictated by their availability and direction.

5. FINANCE
The TUC had so far covered the costs of the meeting rooms but it would need to be taken over by the NBCT group – so NBTC will need to appoint a Treasurer.

6. AOB
It was raised that Channel 4 were looking for people interested in taking part in a documentary about living on the benefits that would have been given in the 1940’s, if anyone was interested.

Date of next meeting – to be arranged to take place in the Meadows so time and date to be circulated asap.

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3 Comments on “Notts Bedroom Tax Campaign Plannning Meeting – Minutes 17/04/2013”

  1. It would be far more effective to get Liberal Democrat and Conservative councillors/apparatchiks to make statements condemning the bedroom tax. It’s only members of those parties that can end the policy.

    • rkent1980 says:

      Yes, I completely agree! There was someone from Labour present at the meeting, and as such he can readily provide us with statements from some Labour Councillors within his group. Ideally we would want the same from Lib Dem & Cons Councillors too, but it may take us a bit of time to find one of them willing to do so. Maybe the Labour Councillor statements can be used to help ‘encourage’ them to join the cause??

      If anyone knows of any Lib Dem or Cons Councillors sympathetic to our BT campaign then please do let us know their names and we can engage with them to try and get some sort of statement from them.
      Cheers

      • First port of call is prospective Liberal Democrat councillors/MPs in your area. It is the Lib Dems who will buckle first and some of their MPs abstained on the bedroom tax legislation; Greg Mulholland comes to mind. They are in meltdown at the moment and desperate for some direction. Local residents contacting them and expressing their fury at Lib Dem support for the legislation will – will – get back to their party’s hierarchy in London, where the only effective action can occur. They are the weak link since the Tories will not challenge Iain Duncan Smith. I am not in your area but I know from emailing local Lib Dems that they privately loathe the welfare changes and if the Lib Dem vote looks like collapsing they might put pressure on their MPs in the capital. They are rock bottom in the polls and their collusion in the bedroom tax is one of the major factors.


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