Tenants, unions and campaigners across Britain laid foundations on Saturday for a national fightback against cuts to housing benefits and debunking the "strivers vs skivers" myth.
Defend Council Housing is organising with PCS, Unite, Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) and other campaign and community groups to co-ordinate action including mass protests up and down the country.
The campaign particularly targets benefit caps and the reduction of council tax benefits for millions of tenants under the government's welfare reforms that come into force this year, including the "bedroom tax."
From April the under-occupancy tax will penalise anyone living in social housing who has a spare bedroom by cutting 14 to 25 per cent off a claimant's housing benefit.
The tax was spearheaded by Tory Lord David Freud, great-grandson of psychoanalyst Sigmund, who the Mirror revealed owns an eight-bedroomed country mansion he uses for holidays and weekends as well as a four-bedroomed Highgate town house.
And from October Universal Credit will cut benefits further for those with disabilities, households with two earners, mothers and those paying for childcare.
A national link-up of campaigns, a summit and action around budget day in March were all agreed.
Paul Burnham of Haringey DCH urged everyone to contact their MPs and to keep campaigning locally to increase awareness.
DPAC's Andy Greene stressed the importance of reaching out to the "silent majority" who "aren't necessarily political" but who are still affected by the reforms.
"In all our campaigning we need to engage with people, spend time to talk to them and listen carefully to their concerns," he said.
"This campaign has to be more than simply preaching to the converted. It's important to make people realise that this is not about politics it's about our lives."
Right To Work campaign group's Mark Dunk referred to recent TUC research that showed if more people were aware how benefit money was spent then they would not agree with the welfare reforms.
"Dividing us is essential to the government's agenda and for their reforms to work," he added. "We need to fight the 'strikers and skivers' myth at every opportunity."
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