Mothers and children facing eviction and their supporters occupied Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson’s Edinburgh offices on 7th June to demand an end to the benefits cap. At least 11 families and 42 children face eviction from their privately rented homes in North Edinburgh due to the Benefit Cap drastically cutting their Housing Benefit, resulting in rent arrears.
Some of the families have already been evicted and been housed in appalling homeless hostels and bed and breakfast accommodation. Many more families in Edinburgh and throughout Britain are in this situation, and unless urgent action is taken immediately many more families will become homeless.
On the morning of 7th June the demonstrators entered and took over Davidson’s constituency offices at 29 Roseburn Terrace for almost an hour. The North Edinburgh Fights Back banner and numerous placards were displayed in the office as the women and supporters condemned the callous Benefit Cap policies and stressed their determination to prevent any more evictions. Notices to quit have been issued for two more families for 19 June – the women and supporters are demanding Edinburgh Council provide accommodation in suitable flats in north Edinburgh well before the eviction date.
The demonstrators said:
“We, the people of North Edinburgh, call on Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Tories in Scotland, and the Westminster Government to halt their attacks on the most vulnerable sections of our society.
We demand the following:
that Westminster scrap the Benefits Cap immediately
that Westminster provides adequate funding to build social housing as an emergency requirement. It was done in the post war period and it can be done again in 2017
that Westminster fully fund Local Authorities to allow them to pay full Discretionary Housing Payment to prevent further families from the trauma of losing their homes and being made homeless.”
The protesters delivered a letter to Ruth Davidson – reproduced below.
The campaign continues and the women and supporters are set to besiege the Council again on 29 June. A demonstration has been called for 9.30am at the City Chambers, High Street to demand an end to the evictions by the payment of full Discretionary Housing Payment to cover the rent shortfall.
Letter delivered to Ruth Davidson:
SCRAP THE BENEFITS CAP – STOP THE EVICTIONS
Dear Ruth Davidson
We, people from north Edinburgh, are taking action at this Tory office today because the benefits cap introduced by your government is making mothers and children homeless and forcing them into appalling homeless hostels.
At least 11 families and 42 children face eviction from their privately rented homes in North Edinburgh due to the Benefits Cap – some have already been evicted and are in temporary homeless accommodation.
Two more families in North Edinburgh have been issued with Notices to Quit for 19 June. It is vital they are awarded Council temporary accommodation flats in the area before the eviction date.
Many more families throughout the city, and throughout Britain, are in this situation, and unless something is done there will be more and more families made homeless as they are unable to pay their rent due to drastic reductions in their Housing Benefit.
We are demanding that the Benefits Cap be scrapped by the Westminster Parliament. If the Cap is not scrapped we will increase our resistance to save parents and children from the traumatic experience of homelessness.
We ask that you respond and inform us if you will press the government to abandon this inhuman policy.
We are also insisting that the Westminster and Scottish governments and the City of Edinburgh Council take measures to stop the families suffering homelessness. Will you, Tory councillors and MSP’s support these proposals?
That Westminster provides adequate funding to build social housing as an emergency requirement . It was done in the post war period and it can be done again in 2017.
That Westminster and the Scottish Government fully fund Local Authorities to allow them to pay full Discretionary Housing Payment to save more families from the trauma of losing their homes. This DHP should be paid automatically, in full, indefinitely, with full back-dating – in the same way as DHP is paid to cover the Bedroom Tax.
House homeless families in decent flats in suitable areas – not in substandard hostels/ B&B’s. Temporary accommodation flats in the appropriate area should be provided, while the families are applying and waiting for permanent accommodation.
Ensure temporary accommodation meets acceptable standards. Families put in the temporary accommodation hostels have reported examples of very poor maintenance and dirty conditions.
Immediately repair empty houses and put back in use. Both temporary accommodation flats and regular council flats are lying empty for long periods. We have a list of such empty properties.
Private sector rents must be regulated. Private landlords are making a fortune from often substandard and poorly maintained accommodation.
We trust you will issue a public response.
NO MORE EVICTIONS DUE TO THE BENEFITS CAP!