MP to take tax fight to the top

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HARTLEPOOL MP Iain Wright will hand over a petition in Parliament following a protest in the town against the Government’s controversial bedroom tax.

Dozens of disgruntled residents gathered at the town’s Civic Centre on Saturday morning to campaign against the legislation.

After being handed a petition with more than 1,000 signatures, MP Iain Wright will now take it to the top in the hope the tax, which he calls an “attack on the poor and vulnerable”, will be axed.

From April 1, more than 1,500 people in Hartlepool will be hit in the pocket by the Government’s plans to tackle “under occupancy”.

Social housing tenants in employment and those in receipt of housing benefit will have their benefits cut by £13 if they are deemed to have one spare bedroom or £22 for two bedrooms.

Mr Wright said the tax will result in money being lost from Hartlepool’s economy.

But he added: “More importantly, this tax cut will mean people not having enough cash to buy food to make sure they have a roof over their heads.

“How has it came to that?

“It’s a damning indictment of this Government’s polices.”

Hartlepool’s protest was one of a number of campaigns being held throughout the country in a bid to get the Government to make a U-turn on the tax.

The protest in Hartlepool was organised by Manor Residents’ Association, whose staff also launched the petition.

Angie Wilcox, Labour councillor in the Manor House ward and manager of the Manor Residents’ Association, said: “It was a good turn out, it was a cold morning but this shows how passionately people feel about this.

“The Government don’t realise just how much of an impact this is going to have, but you don’t see them here visiting the town and asking people how it is going to affect them.

“Everyone needs to stand together, I just hope the Government finally takes notice.”

Paul Beck, a Labour councillor in the Hart ward who was protesting, said: “It’s another blow for people who are already struggling and who can’t afford this extra tax.

“The fact that families of those who are serving in the forces won’t be affected is no comfort to those who are going to be hit by the tax and have to pay even more.

“The protest shows how strong the strength of feeling is.”