When over 3000 people in North Ayrshire were due to be affected by the hated Bedroom Tax, Joe stood up and delivered real action to protect them.
On the 6th March 2013 Joe moved a motion which proposed that North Ayrshire Council set a no eviction policy for those affected by the Bedroom Tax.
If it hadn't been for the Council's standing orders, which state that any change in Council policy must be subject to a full report to the Council's cabinet outlining the financial implications of the policy change, then North Ayrshire Council would have been the first local authority in Scotland to set a no eviction Bedroom Tax policy had the motion been agreed at this meeting.
As it happened, the report went to the Cabinet a month later and Joe's proposal was approved.
However, Joe also proposed a second motion on the Bedroom Tax on 6th March 2013.
The Tory's legislation does not define what constitutes a 'bedroom' leaving it open to interpretation. Joe's second motion called on North Ayrshire Council to 'reclassify' rooms so that some didn't have to pay the Bedroom Tax at all.
Like the first motion, due to the Council's standing orders, this motion was approved by the Cabinet a month later, making North Ayrshire Council the first local authority in Scotland to 'reclassify' rooms in response to the Bedroom Tax.
Following his successes at the Council, Joe continued to campaign to secure protections for all social housing tenants, including local Housing Associations.
He supported Jackie Baillie's 'Protection from Eviction' private members bill and actively campaigned in support of the Bill throughout Cunninghame South > http://www.northayrshirelabour.co.uk/bin_the_bedroom_tax
Unfortunately local SNP Councillors voted to oppose this Bill > http://www.northayrshirelabour.co.uk/labour_slams_snp_over_bedroom_tax_bill
He also campaigned for the Bedroom Tax to be fully mitigated by the Scottish Government. They eventually worked with Scottish Labour to do so but even a week before that decision was made local SNP politicians were telling Joe in the local press that it couldn't be done and local residents needed to vote 'Yes' for them to be able to do so....
(The above quote is from the SNP's Ruth Maguire in the local press, made a full week before the Scottish Parliament voted to fully mitigate the Bedroom Tax)
Joe is delighted that Scottish Labour will use the new powers coming to the Scottish Parliament to finally abolish the Bedroom Tax in Scotland for good, releasing the money that is currently being used to mitigate it.