Protest marks Bedroom Tax anniversary

Article published: Sunday, April 20th 2014

More than 300 people protested in Manchester city centre on 5 April against the controversial spare room subsidy, nicknamed the ‘Bedroom Tax’, introduced last year.

A man holding a banner saying Axe the Bedroom Tax at the protest on 5 April.

A protester holding a banner at the march against the Bedroom Tax.

The Anti Bedroom Tax Federation for Greater Manchester organised the protest to mark a year having passed since the policy was introduced. The Bedroom Tax has been hailed a political disaster by many, and has been a personal disaster for those affected.

“It has only affected the most vulnerable and poorest people in society”, said Alexander Davidson from the Manchester Trade Union Council.

The government introduced a deduction in housing benefit to all homes with what is classified as a spare bedroom, with the aim of cutting down “under-occupancy”. However, by March 2014, only 6% of people affected by the policy had moved house, and critics say a limited amount of smaller homes means it is impossible for some people to avoid.

“We know people who committed suicide, we know people who have been admitted to A&E, suffering from malnutrition”, said Mark Krantz, secretary of the Anti Bedroom Tax Federation for Greater Manchester.

Chanting protesters carrying banners and a bed and coffin gathered in Cathedral Gardens near Victoria Station, then marched through Deansgate and Albert Square, accompanied by the rhythms of the Public and Commercial Services Union’s (PCS) samba band.

“We will continue to protest until this bedroom tax is really history”, said Krantz.

The mass movement The People’s Assembly Against Austerity also marched in support of the Axe the Bedroom Tax campaign. “The Bedroom Tax is just one part of the mega-fight”, said Tom Evans from the People’s Assembly Against Austerity: “It affects the poorest people, it has affected disabled people. Even if they said it wouldn’t, it does. It affects children, divorced dads and the most vulnerable people.”

The march made an impression on the city with by-standers responding positively to the cause and joining in. Evans said: “The attendance has been really good. We’ve picked up a few people when going around. There was a lot of support from people driving past honking horns, waving and cheering.”

The protest was backed by unions across the North West, including the Manchester & Salford branch of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), Manchester City Council’s UNITE branch, UNISON Manchester Community & Mental Health, Bolton Trades Council, Salford City UNISON, and PCS at Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). The campaign group Bolton against the Bedroom Tax was well-represented.

Protesters carrying a coffin and a bed through the city centre.

Protesters carrying a coffin and a bed through the city centre.

“The tax hasn’t saved any money, it costs money”, said Krantz: “What a disgrace. This legislation was brought in by people who live in mansions, millionaires in the Tory cabinet, people who don’t even pay their own taxes.”

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) supported the movement, standing not only for the abolition of the Bedroom Tax, but calling to relieve the housing crisis in Britain. “Councils should start building houses again”, claimed Davidson.

Krantz said: “Today has shown that some of the weakest people in the country, those who are disabled, those on benefits, those who are unemployed,  have been able to push back the Tory government and the coalition by uniting together.” He added: “We are very proud to witness this and to be a part of the protest.”

The legislation was recently abolished in Scotland and condemned by the UN as a breach of human rights. The Labour party have pledged to drop the policy if they come to power, but campaigners say it needs to be dropped today.

Lefteris Geroulakos

Drop in for free advice on the Bedroom Tax: Every Friday from 10.00 – 11.30am at the Friends’ Meeting House in Central Manchester.

For more info:

More: Cuts, Manchester, News


  1. The coffin should have had
    Ian Duncan Smith in it.

    Comment by Dean on April 22, 2014 at 4:56 pm
  2. Well said indeed .

    Comment by Andy on April 29, 2014 at 7:37 pm
  3. Yes it should .

    Then ATOS could declare the tory scum fit for work .

    Comment by Sned on May 3, 2014 at 12:40 pm
  4. yes they would .

    Comment by Sned on May 6, 2014 at 2:39 pm
  5. Upset that theMule is quoting rape apologist, Mark Krantz, of the SWP.

    Comment by anarchgranny on July 14, 2014 at 8:38 pm

The comments are closed.