Anti bedroom tax groups demand justice for Margaret

Edinburgh Council tenant Margaret has been denied an exemption for bedroom tax by City of Edinburgh Council despite being clearly entitled - she has overnight carers stay every night.  She wrote to the CEC as early as February applying for an exemption.  Instead of granting the exemption the Council have been phoning her up threatening she could be evicted if she didn't pay her rent.  This is clearly against the Council policy of no evictions for bedroom tax arrears.  The stress of this situation has now led to Margaret giving up her tenancy, as she was becoming very ill.

Muirhouse and Pilton anti bedroom tax groups called for people to attend Councillor Cammy Day's surgery at Muirhouse Library on 17 June to support Margaret and other tenants with bedroom tax problems.   Around 20 people turned up at short notice, an excellent show of solidarity.  This followed ten people accompanying Margaret to the Councillor's surgery on 3 June.  People are appalled at her unjust treatment by the Council over the Bedroom Tax. 



The Jobcentre adviser has no power to just tell you that you have to create a Universal Jobmatch account. Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty have supported several unemployed claimants who have successfully declined to create a Universal Jobmatch account, without suffering any sanctions.

You can only be forced to create a Universal Jobmatch account if Jobcentre Plus issue you with a written Jobseeker’s Direction –without such a written instruction they cannot force you onto Universal Jobmatch and they cannot sanction you.

Before a jobcentre adviser can issue a Jobseekers' Direction forcing you to create a Universal Jobmatch account, they have to consider if it would be appropriate in your circumstances. For example if English is your second language or if you have difficulty with literacy then it may not be reasonable to issue such a Jobseeker’s Direction. The adviser must consider the following questions:

1. Do you have a health related condition?

2. Is English a second language?

3. Do you have a problem with literacy and/or numeracy?

4. You do not have a computer or internet access device (IAD) OR cannot afford to access the internet?

5. You live in area with poor internet service?

6. You do not have reasonable access to a computer?

7. Does your jobcentre have a computer you can use?

8. You have a computer or internet access device (IAD) but wish to exercise your right not to allow cookies?


      A Jobseekers' Direction only applies to a jobcentre computer, you cannot be forced to create the Universal Jobmatch account on YOUR own computer.  SEE 8 ABOVE

May Day For Workfare Exploiters

May Day in Edinburgh saw anti workfare demonstrators touring companies and charities using unpaid forced labour.  Starting with an excursion into the giant Homebase at St Leonards the protestors from Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty went on to visit no fewer than 7 exploiting employers.

 At Homebase demonstrators roamed the store putting up stickers – THIS
.   Special leaflets were given to
customers and workers detailing the large-scale use of workfare at the
Haringey Homebase where 21 workfare conscripts are working for nothing.

The Homebase manager invited us into her office to discuss the issue.  She
claimed that the stores in Edinburgh did not use workfare but one of the
several workers we talked to, informed us that they did on occasion have
unemployed people working there, sent by “agencies”, probably providers
like A4e.  We eventually moved on with the manager promising to convey our
concerns to head office.

Over a period of nearly three hours we picketed, stickered and leafleted
Greggs, British Heart Foundation, Barnardos, Poundland, Tescos and Argos
We had phoned British Heart Foundation HQ management earlier in the week
and so were well aware that they were unrepentantly continuing their
involvement in the Work Programme, falsely claiming that they were doing
so without using compulsory forced labour.  

Appeal against the bedroom tax!





Everyone hit by the Bedroom Tax should apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment – if awarded this tops up your Housing Benefit.  It is normally reviewed regularly.  The application form can be downloaded from the url below in the Council site or ask for one at the local council office.



Saturday 30 March. Meet 12 noon St Andrews Square, march at 12.45pm to Scottish Parliament.

See “Bedroom Tax that broke the Cameron Back Protest (Edinburgh)” on Facebook


From 1st April the bedroom tax will hit many tenants in social housing who receive Housing Benefit and have a so-called extra bedroom. Housing Association and Council tenants who have one “extra” bedroom will lose 14% Housing Benefit, around £13 - £15 per week. Those with 2 or more “extra” bedrooms will suffer a 25% cut, about £20 - £27 per week. This applies if you are under 61 years and five months.


Two workfare exploiters shut down in Edinburgh

Anti workfare demonstrators shut down British Heart Foundation and Salvation Army shops in Edinburgh on Saturday 23rd March. The actions, part of the Britain-wide Week of Action against the Government’s compulsory work-for-your-benefits schemes, targeted two charities who have persisted in exploiting the unemployed, sick and disabled through workfare.


Britain-wide day of action against forced unpaid labour



Part of the UK-wide Boycott Workfare campaign to take action against businesses and charities who continue to use workfare conscripts.

All welcome, bring banners, placards, whistles, drums.

Please use our 'LINKS' page for info.

We try to regularly add latest info to our 'LINKS' page (see the 'Important Info/Links' button above Right). Please let us know if you find anything on-line that would be useful to add.

Anti-workfare protestors blockade and occupy Superdrug and British Heart Foundation

Protestors blockaded and occupied both British Heart Foundation and Superdrug in Edinburgh today Saturday 8 December, in opposition to their participation in the government's workfare schemes.

A huge banner declaring IF YOU EXPLOIT US WE WILL SHUT YOU DOWN blocked the entrance to the BHF furniture store in Leith's Kirkgate centre as demonstrators occupied the shop.  Impromptu speeches were given inside and out, explaining that although BHF had claimed to be "moving away" from workfare, they were still taking on new compulsory placements.

After half an hour inside BHF, protestors moved round the corner to blockade Superdrug.  Many stopped to listen to spokespeople for the protest who gave speeches through a megaphone, stressing that this action was part of the wider resistance to the attacks by the rich on the poor.   Hundreds took leaflets denouncing workfare and in particular the new imposition of workfare on the sick and disabled.  Many people came up to the stall outside the occupied stores and joined ECAP's solidarity network for mutual support against the authorities. 

Demonstrators then moved inside Superdrug, where a protestor gave a speech explaining that this action was against workfare and in solidarity with Superdrug workers whose wages and conditions were being undermined by the company's use of workfare.  In Brighton Superdrug are not taking on Xmas staff but are using workfare conscripts instead.

The coming Bedroom Tax

The attachment here is a letter we received about the coming bedroom tax, and we'd like to pass it on.

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