!!!! Notts Bedroom Tax Campaign: Public Meeting Reminder !!!!

NO BEDROOM TAX EVICTIONS!

Tuesday 15th October 2013

7.15pm – 9.15pm

@ Nottingham Mechanics,

3 North Sherwood Street, Nottingham

NG1 4EZ

Public meeting to share experiences of fighting the Bedroom Tax and call for local Councils to adopt no evictions policies. Speakers will include local campaigners and Councillor Greg Marshall who has campaigned for Broxtowe Council to adopt a no evictions policy.

WE HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE


Notts Bedroom Tax Campaign Public Meeting

NOTTS BEDROOM TAX CAMPAIGN PUBLIC MEETING

NO EVICTIONS!

Tuesday 15th October 2013

7.15pm – 9.15pm

@ Nottingham Mechanics,

3 North Sherwood Street, Nottingham

NG1 4EZ

Public meeting to share experiences of fighting the Bedroom Tax and call for local Councils to adopt no evictions policies. Speakers will include local campaigners and Councillor Greg Marshall who has campaigned for Broxtowe Council to adopt a no evictions policy.

!!  ALL WELCOME  !!


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.


Planning meeting 17th April

The next planning meeting for the Notts Bedroom Tax Campaign will be on Wednesday 17th April.

It will be in a room at the International Community Centre, 61b Mansfield Road, Nottingham NG1 3FN. Beginning at 7pm and continuing till closing shortly after 9pm.

Facebook event for this meeting: http://www.facebook.com/events/566308866726291/

The Centre is wheelchair accessible and there is a very small car park. As you come in the door there is a board saying where different meetings are and you then have to follow the signs to rooms. It’ll probably be Room 2. There may even be some tea and coffee.

We are forming the agenda in advance, especially on the Facebook group. If there are matters you’d like to discuss post them as comments here or go to http://www.facebook.com/groups/433271280090704/permalink/444942138923618/ and add to the thread.

Otherwise, see you there.


Meadows Public Meeting – report

The public meeting this evening in the Meadows to organise against the Bedroom Tax was well attended. There were about 7 people from the Meadows there, the rest being from the general Notts campaign, from advice centres and just people who are interested in getting involved.

Someone from St. Ann’s Advice Centre began by outlining the nature of the Bedroom Tax and how it affects people; a member of the Defend Council Tax Benefit Campaign then followed with more information about that. The floor was then opened up to everyone to speak. Local residents told the meeting about how they were affected and why they were there, and the visitors offered their support and knowledge. It was emphasised that the role of the citywide Nottingham campaign would not be to ‘save’ Meadows people but to support them in setting up their own local group which would then liaise with the general Nottingham one – the idea being to repeat this in the rest of the city.

Many specific points were made including:

  • The Meadows often has a bad image, but people who’ve lived there for decades really like it, don’t feel unsafe and find many parts of it perfectly attractive. It was suggested that there could be publicity material associated with the Bedroom tax campaign aimed at informing people from outside the area that its residents are proud of it, have no intention of moving out and will stand firm as a community. One person specifically offered to help with the photography.
  • The idea of clogging the implementation of the Tax by mass awkward appeal letters was raised and discussed quite a lot. Someone from Nottingham Law Centre was there who had been at the Radford meeting the previous Saturday and they had brought copies of the ideal appeal letter (originating from Joe Halewood in Liverpool) for people to take away and use.
  • It was questioned how come there were so few Meadows attendees considering the size of the district and the leafleting the previous Sunday, but it was pointed out that it was quite short notice, and a lot of residents were single parents who could not come out in the evenings, as well as that there is a certain amount of apathy or complacency. It was suggested the number of local attendees was actually quite good for such meetings, and they were encouraged to start the process of a new group. More people will join later as they did with the Poll Tax campaign years ago.
  • There will be an advice session held by Meadows Advice Group tomorrow (Thursday 11th April) in the same venue (Queens Walk Community Centre) and efforts were made to set up a Facebook group for the Meadows (http://www.facebook.com/MeadowsAgainstBedroomTax) this evening and create leaflets to hand out there. The advice session will begin at 2pm.

It’s a good start for the Meadows campaign and we look forward to working with them to defeat the Bedroom Tax in their area.

 


Mansfield campaign meeting

There is a meeting on Thursday 11th April for anyone in the Mansfield area that wants to organise against the Bedroom Tax. It starts at 6pm at the Railway Inn.


Radford public meeting 6th April – report

The Bedroom Tax meeting for Radford area residents on Saturday 6th April went very well. It was organised by Rob Graham and some other people involved in the NG7 Food Bank and the City of Sanctuary. It was facilitated in its venue at the Partnership Council by Moby Farrands who works there and is a long-time community organiser.

About 20 people turned up, some of whom were local activist types but there rest were just concerned residents. It was a good turn-out considering it was arranged with only four days’ notice. Discussion covered a lot of issues and suggestions of tactics in response to the BT but centred on Rob’s suggestion of a mass campaign of appeal and request for information to the council to clog the system and make implementing the BT unworkable. He has written out letters to send to the council and will send me a digital copy I will put up here and on the website. I think it could be a key tactic in our fight against the Bedroom Tax. It is based on the work of a Liverpool activist, Joe Halewood, in a blog post from the end of March.

The group of people present are committed to doing a campaign locally, contacting other residents; and I talked about the citywide campaign and handed out the leaflets we delivered today in the Meadows. Some may actually come to the Meadows meeting next Wednesday and they have the Notts campaign’s contact details.