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Learn Poll Tax lesson and put Cam Tax to bed

Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher … resignation day
Published: 24th February 2013

FOR those too young to remember, the Poll Tax was introduced by Margaret Thatcher in 1989.

Replacing rates with a flat rate tax, a millionaire would pay the same tax as a school cleaner and Scotland, Westminster’s guinea pig, got the tax one year before the rest of the UK.

A tactic of non-payment received nationwide support, yet Labour condemned the tactic as illegal, sending in sheriff officers to confiscate and sell possessions of non-payers.

In March 1990 the nation’s anger exploded at the Poll Tax riot of Trafalgar Square ultimately leading to the resignation of Margaret Thatcher and abolition of her flagship policy.

Today we have a new tax, dubbed the Bedroom Tax, where those in receipt of Housing Benefit will face cuts of £50-100 a month if they have extra rooms.

Of the 600,000 affected two thirds will be disabled.

Just imagine if you lived in a house your whole life, worked and paid taxes and became disabled or redundant, or watched your partner grow ill and die, or you separated and needed a spare bedroom for your visiting child, with one or more extra bedroom the result could mean a cut in benefit.

The alternative will be to take in a lodger, not of your choosing, but some random stranger in a housing list.

If you accept, a lifetime of memories will be crammed into one room.

If you refuse, well at least under the Poll Tax they just sold your possessions, in this case you could lose your home.

Shamefully the MPs who voted for this tax are entitled to an allowance for a second home yet will penalise families for having an extra room.

Until Thatcher arrived in 1979, the UK built a quarter of a million homes a year.

She then banned building of council homes and allowed communities to rot.

A generation has been priced out of the housing market and now the Tories will make sure that generations are priced out of renting a home.

This sick and twisted policy will drive people from their homes, so why should we wait until someone kills themselves in despair before acting?

Some 100,000 Scots will be affected by the new tax, creating poverty and homelessness.

A top QC has already said that “there is no legal definition of what constitutes a bedroom” and “if it becomes a study or stores disability equipment” it cannot be considered a bedroom.

In Scotland, Labour and the SNP should really put aside their differences and turn this into Cameron’s Poll Tax.

Decide on a united approach, get your councils to advise tenants of their rights and refuse to carry out Westminster’s dirty work. If we learned anything from the Poll Tax campaign, it is that there is no honour in claiming a law is unjust and then implementing it.

Meanwhile, an old aged pensioner and a use layabout, living in social housing with 775 rooms, 78 bathrooms, occasionally getting an overnight visit from some decrepit hand chopper, fed meals on wheels, with visits from unemployed grandkids, with spare bedrooms kept for them, will be spared the Bedroom Tax.

But I suppose she is the Queen.

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