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South Ayrshire Council Join Knowsley Housing Trust In #BedroomTax Children’s Services Threats

November 2, 2013

Yet again, for the second time today, I’m shocked. Going on Scotland’s recent record on the Bedroom Tax, I would never have expected this from a Scottish council. I thought they planned to abolish bedroom tax after independence, if it happens.

CALLOUS council chiefs stand accused of acting like childsnatchers as they seek to evict desperate families over bedroom tax arrears.

South Ayrshire Council sent out a shocking letter threatening to force struggling parents from their homes – then report them to Children’s Services.

The council agreed in March that no families would be evicted over debts caused by the hated tax, which hits the poorest in society hardest.

But the letter, sent on behalf of director of care Harry Garland, says: “The attached notice warns you that South Ayrshire Council can take legal action to repossess your house at any time during a six-month-period.” The eviction letter targets people over arrears as little as £250 and warns that repossession action will cost the tenant £400.

And it puts the boot in by saying: “If you have children in your household, we may also inform Children Services.”

Bedroom tax protester Alan Wylie said: “We have seen letters like this but nothing with such a terrible threat.

“The council are effectively saying we will put you on the street then report you to the people who take children from their parents.

“The inference is that because they will be homeless, they won’t be able to look after their kids.

“It’s sickening and I have spoken to people who are terrified because of this bullying. Whoever came up with this strategy is behaving like a childsnatcher.”

Ayr MP Sandra Osborne said: “This is harking back to the bad old days when families were terrified by the threat of social services seizing their children.

“This letter makes a very strong implied threat and there is not a word dedicated to helping families in need. It is nasty and cruel and I believe it is a disgrace.

“Social services departments are meant to be there to help families in time of need. They are not to be used to batter parents into submission over a tax that is iniquitous and unfair in itself.”

Garland, who took up his post in the Tory-led council after being director of children’s services on Orkney, insisted the letter was meant to ensure that families received all necessary help.

He said: “We have responsibility for children’s welfare and clearly we don’t want anyone to be in any difficulty. If there are children within any household that are having difficulty, we contact them to see what additionally we can do for them.”

Garland denied that families were being threatened. He said: “That’s clearly nonsense. That’s not the spirit or the intention of the services. It’s quite the opposite.

“That letter goes out to people who won’t communicate with us. What we are trying to do is say that if there are children within the family and they have difficulties, come and talk to us and we will do something to support them.”

Garland refused to apologise for any distress caused to families. He said: “I’ll have to look in detail at the form of contact that has gone out and how regularly that has happened and consider if that should be altered.

“If people are misconstruing what the letter is saying then clearly we will look at it again and make sure it is absolutely crystal clear what the intention is.

“The council made a decision that if people work with us there will be no evictions within 12 months but people have to work with us to enable that.

“The letter was trying to get people to communicate with us and deal with any problems.

“It is not the council’s or my intention to upset anyone and I would urge anyone with any difficulties to contact the
relevant officers and we will try to sort out the issues.”

The bedroom tax, brought in by the Con-Dems in April, removes the spare room subsidy attached to housing benefit and has led to thousands of cases of arrears.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 2, 2013 2:53 pm

    Back to the days of ‘Kathy come Home’ then?…not surprised….evil dictators…

  2. November 2, 2013 10:44 pm

    Evil and inhumane we should all stand up for each other because the way i see it therse them and then theres us, we all need to tell them we will not tolerate these draconian measures,
    They will have poor houses soon and that will be too late so stand up to these bullys and stick by each other and tell them we are there leaders without us paying them and voting for them they are nothing and only do what we all want of them/

  3. Eunice Slyfield permalink
    November 3, 2013 2:20 pm

    So it’s back to the Victorian work house.

  4. jayne murphy permalink
    November 4, 2013 12:14 pm

    they wouldnt be long abolishing the tax if they had to keep all the kids in care would cost to much its alright for them to sit in there cosy houses and not struggle ive told my grankids xmas will be poor this year as im £45 a month down and i dont know how im going to keep paying this stupid tax

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