Protesters including many disabled people who will be hard hit by the Bedroom Tax held a rally in London before marching carrying posters from those unfit to attend to deliver a large box of personal petition letters to Downing St.
The campaign, led by Jessica McCarnun of 'WeWillBeHeard.Org' has been running the Personal Petition Campaign has been running since November 2012, been collecting letters to the Prime Minister from those who will suffer from the Bedroom Tax. They include are carers, shared parents, grandparents, the disabled and many more.
The campaign says "Families are being left destitute and literally separated and segregated by The Bedroom Tax and, if allowed to continue, this will only cause more damage to our families and the fabric of our society."
They say that of around 660,000 who will be put into financial difficulties by the tax, around 440,00 are disabled. Many are already having great difficulty making ends meet and this tax will make their lives impossible. Even where it would be possible to manage in smaller properties, these are seldom available, and where they are, generally only at higher rent in the private sector.
Most commentators agree that this tax will make no contribution to solving our housing problem - what is needed is not financial penalties for those already finding it difficult to get by, but building more affordable social housing in the areas that people need to live and where there are jobs for them.
As many of those who spoke pointed out, despite the current austerity and cuts, the real problem is not a lack of money, but one of priorities and distribution. As Theresa Cole asked, speaking on behalf of her very good friend Hazel Quinn, too sick to attend today's protest, "Why ... through the austerity cuts are the government choosing to target those people in society who are too weak and ill to fight?", going on the compare the cuts in welfare spending to the continued huge avoidance of tax by the wealthy and global companies through offshore accounts and other tax avoidance, the recent increase in the Queen's budget, proposed pay rises for MPs, the ridiculous waste of going ahead with HS2 rail link, the huge subsidies paid to foreign companies running our rail services, the £1.1 billion paid for hotels, meals and drinks for civil servants and more.
Many of those present at the protest were disabled people who will be directly affected by the tax. Many of those taking part in the protest carried 'Posters by Proxy' from those too unwell to come in person. Many of those hit worst by the cuts and reductions or loss in benefits have already committed suicide, with a huge increase reported by the DWP. Many of those taking part wore arm or head bands with the letters 'R.I.P.' in memory of those who have died already because of the cuts.
After the speeches in Old Palace Yard opposite Parliament, they set off for Parliament, some in wheelchairs and others moving with obvious pain. A small delegation went inside with a large box containing the 'Personal Petitions' while the others continued to support them noisily outside the gates.
I left the protest here, without seeing their return to Old Palace Yard where they were to release a couple of hundred white helium balloons carrying white 'messages of hope' written earlier by those taking part to travel across the UK.