ACTIVISTS from Stroud Against The Cuts handed out flyers in the town centre last week to try and raise awareness about how council tenants hit by the ‘bedroom tax’ might be able to reclaim any arrears.

The campaigning group, which last week criticised Stroud District Council for serving repossession orders against 18 of its tenants affected by the policy, has arranged a drop-in session to provide information and advice to those who might be struggling to pay their rent.

Members of SATC were also offering guidance and giving out important forms at the event at The Exchange in Brickrow on Friday.

The official GL24 forms, which can also be downloaded from SATC’s website, will need to be completed if tenants are to stand any chance of having their housing debts written off.

A total of 254 of SDC’s tenants are currently affected by the cut to housing benefit, with 134 in what the authority calls ‘bedroom tax’ arrears.

At a meeting of SDC’s housing committee on September 16, Green Party councillor Caroline Molloy tabled a motion calling on the council to write to tenants affected by the ‘bedroom tax’ notifying them of an important legal challenge to the benefit reform.

Ms Molloy said that if the test case was successful, tenants affected by the ‘bedroom tax’ were in with a chance of being able to reclaim all of their arrears but only if they submit a formal appeal to SDC’s housing benefit department within the next month.

However, members of SDC’s housing committee, including Labour and Conservative councillors, voted against notifying tenants of the upcoming case, claiming they did not have enough information about it.

They also refused Cllr Molloy’s request for an emergency meeting to discuss the issue.

That is why SATC activists decided to take on the responsibility of informing tenants.