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Friday, 22 August 2014

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Bedroom tax protest in Workington town centre

More than 50 people attended a rally in Workington town centre today to protest against the proposed bedroom tax.

Organised by town councillor Denise Coe and Allerdale councillor Barbara Cannon, the rally heard from Workington MP Sir Tony Cunningham, Allerdale council leader Alan Smith and councillor Michael Heaslip.

It was one of 55 protest events happening at the same time across Britain, organised by the Labour Left think tank.

Protestors held up placards saying "axe the tax" and "scrap the bedroom tax".

The Government plans to introduce welfare reforms next month which could affect many people across West Cumbria, including social housing tenants.

Some may face a choice between a cut in benefits, if they are deemed to have a spare bedroom, or moving to a smaller home.

Sir Tony said: "IInitially I described the plan as mad but I have changed my mind - it's a wicked plan because the Government knows the harm it will do and the fear it has created.

"I see that fear in the faces of the people who come to see me."

More than a hundred people signed a petition against the bedroom tax.

Danielle Leigh, 20, of Coronation Crescent, Distington, was one.

She said: "I live in a two-bedroom house by myself, near my family. There are no one-bedroom places in Distington for me to move to. I don't want to leave the village.

"I work part-time in a low-paid job and have worked out that this tax will now leave me £10 a week to live off. Thats why I'm against the tax."

Andrew Richardson, 37, of Kirklea, Little Broughton, is a self-employed dad-of-two.

He said: "The Government has turned its back on me and people like me. I'm working hard for a living to put food on the table and all this tax will do is take the food out of my children's mouths."

Coun Cannon said she was pleased with the turn-out. She added: "We organised this in a very short space of time. I'm sure if we had had longer to organise it, the town centre would have been jammed.

"We have a flat-lining economy and this is an attack on working people. It's time we stand united and say no."

Protestor David Moore, 35, of Workington, said: "The Government is penalising working people while the rich get richer staying in their mansions. It's not right and is important protest."

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