Hundreds of UK Uncut protestors stage ‘evict a millionaire’ demo outside Highgate home of Lord Freud over bedroom tax
Hundreds of people are protesting over the bedroom tax and benefits cap outside the £1.9million house of Lord Freud in Highgate today.
An estimated 400 people are at the protest, which began at about 1pm, where children are being read Freudian bedtime stories, a removal van has unloaded sofas, and an ‘eviction notice’ has been served on the home of the Conservative peer.
The protest was called by UK Uncut, the anti-cuts direct action network, which promised to “bring resistance to the homes of high profile politicians pushing the cuts”.
Lord Freud, a Tory peer and former investment banker, has spearheaded the bedroom tax, cuts to the welfare state and the introduction of the universal credit. Protestors claim he also has an eight-bedroom mansion in Kent.
UK Uncut protestor Anna Walker, 32, who works with people with mental health problems and lives in east London, said: “We are outside Lord Freud’s house because he was the architect of the bedroom tax which has been introduced this month, also benefits cuts are being introduced on Monday.
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“We’re having to bring our resistance home to the person who is helping to make these policies, who lives in this house, who has a mansion in the country.
“It’s his policies that are making the poorest people in this country - disabled people, children, the poorer - worse off.”
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She added: “It’s a great turnout and we’re really happy with it. At the moment everybody is sitting down listening to a bedtime story.
“We’re sitting on sofas and there’s a space for children so they can do painting and things like that.
“UK Uncut is about creative, fun, effective civil disobedience that shows our resistance to the cuts that are making people’s lives poorer.”
The demonstrators are also protesting against the legacy of former prime-minister Margaret Thatcher, who died on Monday.
UK Uncut supporter Sarah Knight, whose mother is losing money because of the bedroom tax, said: “My mum has just found out that she will have to pay the bedroom tax. My family is terrified about what’s going to happen.
“People’s hearts are being broken as this government is turning Thatcher’s wildest dreams into a nightmarish reality. But this protest is not about Thatcher’s death, it’s about the ongoing assault on the welfare state.
“I am too young to remember Thatcher as a Prime Minister but people like me are having our childhoods and now adult lives decimated by this government that continues to punish poorer people to improve the lives of the rich – the bedroom tax is the latest example of this.
“And that’s why I’m here today – it’s made me really happy that we are resisting these devastating cuts, showing we will not stand for it.”
Another 20 disabled activists are also staging a protest at Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith’s country mansion in Buckinghamshire, worth more than £2million.
Disabled activists, from Disabled People Against the Cuts, have presented Mr Duncan Smith with an eviction notice at his five-bedroom, 16th century house in Swanbourne.
Mr Duncan Smith has presided over the implementation of unprecedented cuts of the welfare state which are hitting disabled people particularly hard.
From outside Ian Duncan Smith’s country mansion Disabled People Against the Cuts activist Eric Robson said: “This month sees the latest round of government attacks on disabled people.
“We are calling on this government to stop this war on benefit claimants, public services and low paid workers.
“We are calling on our communities, disabled and non-disabled people, workers and claimants, unemployed people, single mothers, pensioners, students and everyone who cares about social justice to oppose these cuts. We will not be written out of the story of our own lives.”
The Ham&High was unable to contact Lord Freud at his House of Lords office today.
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “Our welfare reforms will help people back into work – which will benefit the economy more than simply abandoning them to claim benefits year after year.
“These changes are essential to keep the benefits bill sustainable, so that we can continue to support people when they need it most across the UK.
“People who disagree with these reforms have a right to express their views, but only if they do so within the law.”
* PHOTO GALLERY: To see more pictures from the protest in Highgate today, click the link at the top right hand side of the page.