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Friday 19th
posted by Zoe Streatfield in Britain

Benefit-cap victims call on council to step in

YOUNG families facing eviction because of Tory benefit cuts demonstrated outside Edinburgh City Chambers yesterday during a council meeting in a bid to highlight their situation.

Eleven families, with a total of 42 children, are facing eviction from their privately rented homes in north Edinburgh because of the effects of benefits cap.

Some have already been kicked out and are living in unsuitable accommodation.

Unite Community co-ordinator for Scotland Jamie-Max Caldwell said that “further cuts to people’s benefits have left families facing eviction” and it was a “total outrage” that the Westminster government “keeps attacking the most vulnerable in our society.”

Mr Caldwell told the Star that Unite Community was standing alongside these families “as it is our duty to stand up in solidarity to fight against cuts.”

He added: “The bravery of these families speaking out and campaigning against these evictions is an example to us all.”

Unite Community’s Edinburgh vice-chair Willie Black warned that benefit caps were putting more and more pressure on families already struggling to get by, and the current crisis was “just the tip of a very big iceberg.”

He said tenants are “losing any kind of protections as Edinburgh council has scaled back the discretionary housing payment (DHP), which helped families make up the shortfall between their housing costs and benefits.”

Mr Black said a toxic mix of housing shortages, sky-high rents, the benefit cap and landlords seeking to rent to tourists to increase their profits had caused the current crisis in Edinburgh.

He complained that the families had been offered “completely inadequate housing” in temporary hostels and B&Bs, often on the other side of the city, and it was difficult for those with no access to a car to move their belongings and get children to school.

He said the Tories were “kicking the poor in the teeth” and asked: “How can you organise your life if you don’t have a home?”

The protesters are calling on Edinburgh council to pay full DHP to completely cover rent, house families in suitable accommodation and build more council homes.

They are also insisting that the Scottish government allocate funds for DHP payments and are calling for the next Westminster government to scrap the benefit cap.