Alex Sobel has hit the ground running after his selection as parliamentary candidate for Leeds North West.
On Saturday evening he was at the Big Iftar at the Makkah Mosque in Hyde Park, an Open Mosque evening. The mosque donated parcels of food/hampers to charities serving homeless people and will be raising funds for a local children’s charity during Ramadan.
Yesterday he was at the Otley Food Festival – a wonderful event drawing people from across the region to Otley, helping the local economy and bringing Yorkshire people together. [Many thanks to John Eveleigh and his colleagues for organizing this!]
And it was there that he met Paul.
As Alex puts it ‘Paul came to the door on his crutches and told me that he had to pay £50 a month to top up his rent due to the iniquitous bedroom tax and wasn’t assessed as disabled enough under the Coalition Government criteria for a discretionary payment to help him. Paul is struggling to pay the bedroom tax and for his essential outgoings.’
The Bedroom Tax is a wicked tax, and its results become clearer by the day.
A sober assessment of its impact last week by Jules Birch, a journalist specialising in housing and social policy for over 20 years, revealed just what it is doing on the ground.
There have been unforeseen consequences
– three bedroom homes left empty because no-one can afford to take them up – even threatened with demolition [so much for the idea that this would ‘free-up’ housing].
– forced moves into the private sector – into housing which is less secure, is costing the tenants more –and is costing the government more in housing benefit [so much for the savings to the tax-payer].
But then there’ve been the entirely foreseen and foreseeable consequences – the rent arrears, the financial pressures on people already close to the edge, the emotional costs.
The price being paid by people like Paul for this iniquitous policy.
Alex was against the Bedroom Tax from the start – foreseeing its disastrous consequences, that it would end up costing the taxpayer more, its debilitating effects on people’s lives.
In his capacity as a Leeds Labour Councillor, he has already worked closely with Councillor Neil Walshaw [Headingley] on the Bedroom Tax Campaign – organising meetings, talking to people in social housing across Leeds North West and calling a Rally in March of this year.
Paul told Alex he had voted for the Liberal Democrats ever since 2005, but he felt utterly betrayed by Greg Mulholland and the Coalition Government.
The Bedroom Tax is an issue on which Alex feels passionately.
He’ll carry on working for people like Paul until it has been consigned to the dustbin of history.
Now we just need a Labour victory to achieve that.