The Bin the Bedroom Tax Coalition says its protests against the cruel and unjust policy will not be stopped by an official ban on its planned march to the annual Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow on Saturday 14 September 2013.
The group earlier today announced "with both anger and disappointment" that it had been unable to agree arrangements with authorities for a march from Glasgow Green to the SECC, where the Liberal Democrats are convening for their gathering.
"We think that this is an outrage," a spokesperson declared. "We offered the police and council no less than seven alternative end points for our march. Each was rejected for various reasons, including Health and Safety and traffic management."
The campaign group had hoped to march from Glasgow Green to the venue in a bid to highlight how unfair and wrong the bedroom tax is, and specifically to challenge the Conservative's coalition government partner over its direct collusion with the policy.
Bin the Bedroom Tax says it will instead "encourage campaigners to undertake a wide range of imaginative permitted lobbying activities throughout the Liberal Democrat conference", which runs from Saturday afternoon until Tuesday 17 September.
The protest coalition has been formed by members of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations (GWSF), the Scottish Trade Unions Congress (STUC), the Scottish Tenants’ Organisation, no2bedroom tax and the Beat the Bedroom Tax Collection of Musicians.
Dave Moxham, Deputy General Secretary at the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), said: “It is astonishing that the authorities were quite unprepared for the possibility of a demonstration being held at the conference.
“They had initially designated space for just twenty protestors. Thankfully we were at least successful in negotiating to expand the lobbying area and this, at least, will allow many hundreds of protestors to make their feelings known during the course of the four day conference.
“Despite our disappointment at the position adopted by the authorities, we intend the focus of our activities to continue to be on convincing Liberal Democrats to withdraw their support for this measure.
“We believe Sarah Teather MP is far from alone in her outrage at the Liberal Democrat leadership’s support for Tory welfare policy and that members will take the opportunity to say so during this conference.”
Activities from Saturday 14 September 2013 include a brief rally to be held at Glasgow Green at 11.30 am Saturday. Then from 1.00pm until 5.30pm, campaigners will be encouraged to drop into the area at SECC set aside by police and council for protestors. Some transport from Glasgow Green to the vicinity of the SECC will be made available for those requiring it.
Small groups of tenants and campaigners will also spread through the city to leaflet in public places and door-to-door.
On Sunday, from 12 noon to 5.30pm, activists will maintain a regular presence in the designated lobbying area and the West of Scotland Housing Forum will hold a fringe meeting within the Campanile Hotel opposite the SECC at 1pm.
Delegates from the Liberal Democrat Conference will be invited to attend this meeting to hear first-hand from voluntary committee members of local housing associations about the devastating impact the bedroom tax is having on their communities. Member groups from the Bin The Bedroom Tax Coalition will also be in attendance.
Finally, on Monday 16 September, from 12 noon to 7.00pm, campaigners will continue their vigil outside the Liberal Democrat annual gathering.
* Connect with the Bin the Bedroom Tax Coalition online: http://binthebedroomtax.net and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BinTheBedroomTax.Coalition
* More on the Bedroom Tax from Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/BedroomTax