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.
Today a group of 25 volunteers delivered leaflets to homes in the Meadows district of Nottingham, as planned in an earlier post. Gathering at the Queen’s Walk Community Centre near Queen’s Walk (which is currently being dug up for the tramlines) we divided into groups and took different sections of the surrounding area each of which had their own pre-prepared map. We had all finished by just over an hour which seems very quick and we almost ran out of leaflets but the few spares were given to those who lived locally and could do other housing areas fairly soon. A photo was taken of the canvassers at the end and will be on the internet in a few days.
The weather was pretty good (still a little cold but sunny and dry) and the whole job was quite a pleasant experience. I saw more of the Meadows than I ever have previously I think, and my group was greatly helped by a local young lad who tagged along and who seemed to know who lived in each area. We may well have missed some properties to which the Bedroom Tax will apply but we tried to cover all the council and housing association estates we could find except those which we knew to be for elderly people (who are exempt from the charge).
Now we are just looking forward to the public meeting in the Meadows on Wednesday and hope that local residents concerned about the Bedroom Tax will turn up. You are welcome to come even if you don’t live in the Meadows; and if you want a copy of the leaflet and don’t have one you can find a downloadable one on the Materials page.
More campaigning soon! Would you like us to do your area?