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VIDEO: Lewisham People Before Profit in drag act bedroom tax protest
LEWISHAM campaigners made a song and dance about the so-called bedroom tax - handing over a petition while a man in drag performed Gloria Gaynor classic "I Will Survive".
People Before Profit, who recently set up an 'eviction rapid response group', have helped collect around 2,600 signatures calling on Lewisham Council not to evict tenants who get into arrears solely because of the government's spare bedroom subsidy.
And, handing over the document at a Catford town hall meeting on November 28, party member Liam Baulch burst into song while clad in a dress and long blonde wig.
He serenaded councillors from the public gallery with a specially-adapted version of the Gaynor track, featuring the lines: "Oh stop this tax against the poor, pledge your support now - no evictions any more."
The surprise musical display, described by Councillor Mike Harris as "awkward", had a serious message, as statistics published earlier this year showed 3,856 people in Lewisham are affected by the charge.
John Hamilton from People Before Profit said: "It wasn't meant at all aggressively, most of the Labour councillors don't support the bedroom tax either."
He added: "4,000 people is quite a lot in Lewisham and there aren't that many small social housing units available to move into.
"It seems to have been a very poorly thought out policy. It's not really to raise money, it's a way of making people think the problems in society are down to poor people."
People Before Profit's new eviction rapid response group aims to send a group of people to obstruct evictions taking place as a result of the charge, along with observers to document it. They can be contacted by texting an email address to 07806 545 279.
A Lewisham Council spokesperson said: “The council has been doing all it can to help families affected by the bedroom tax find sustainable solutions. This includes support to move to smaller accommodation, help to maximise their benefits, assistance to find work and to manage their budgets.
"In many cases the council has provided additional money to help families cover the loss whilst they find a solution. The council is working closely with all its partners to help those affected and to avoid evictions.”
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