Sheridan: ‘Tax fight must go into every household’

Tommy Sheridan at the meeting in Kirkcaldy
Tommy Sheridan at the meeting in Kirkcaldy

Fire-brand politician Tommy Sheridan joined Fife anti bedroom tax protesters at a meeting in Kirkcaldy on Monday evening.

The high-profile Scottish socialist politician, famous for his stance against the poll tax in the 1990s, told a gathering at Templehall Community Centre the fight would have to be fought on the street.

He added that campaigners needed to be prepared to break the law if they were to defeat the ‘bedroom tax’.

“It’s going to have to be fought in the communities,” said Mr Sheridan.

“It’s going to have to be fought with households that are prepared to join with one another and assign a physical solidarity that is going to prevent a single family anywhere in Scotland being evicted for the crime of being poor.”

Mr Sheridan was one of four speakers at a public meeting organised by Fife Anti-Bedroom Tax Campaign.

The gathering also heard from Glenrothes resident David Nelson, one the first in the UK to successfully appeal bedroom tax benefit cuts in a landmark ruling last month.

Graham Sutherland, the solicitor who represented the Fife tenants in their successful appeals, and Dr Carlo Morelli, senior lecturer in economics at Dundee University, also addressed the audience before Mr Sheridan roused those present with an impassioned denouncement of what he called a “Tory 
policy aimed at ruining social housing provision in this country.”

He added that the Government’s aim of moving people to other accommodation was “unjust and unworkable” and that 98 per cent had no option to move anyway.

“Can’t pay won’t leave should be the motto,” added Mr Sheridan.

Louise McLeary, spokesman for the Fife Anti-Bedroom Tax Campaign, hailed the meeting as a success.

“There was a good turn- out,” she said, “and there was a spread of ages.

“It was pleasing to see that there were people there who aren’t affected by the bedroom tax, but who still want to support the campaign.

“It was a fairly vibrant meeting and I think we’ll gain more support for the campaign from it.

“More importantly, some who were there have decided to appeal against the reduction to their housing benefit because of it.

“We urge more to do the same and can offer advice to anyone thinking of doing so.”