North-West Norfolk Labour women’s group held its inaugural meeting earlier this month at the Linnets Lounge.
Musician Yve Mary Barwood, poet Sian Fawcett, Vicky Hussein, from Women for Women International and Teresa Pearce, shadow minister for housing and planning, were amng the speakers.
The launch was organised by the newly-elected women’s officer Jessica-Lauren Barnard, supported by Labour branch chairwoman Deborah Holman and Unison regional organiser Jo Rust.
Ms Rust said the evening was “a reflection of the work that we do in our community”.
She added: “We want to raise money and awareness of the work that organisations such as the Purfleet Trust do, while at the same time coming together to enjoy ourselves.”
In the meeting, Ms Pearce said PM David Cameron had rightly called homelessness a “disgrace”.
But she said families are being hit by the ‘bedroom tax’ which has had the effect of driving up discretionary housing benefits by £184 million.
She said: “The Tories and the mass media use this to promote the narrative of the wrong people in the wrong homes.
“This negative culture enables policies such as ‘pay to stay’, where a family earning £30kpa, before tax, will have to pay commercial rates of rent as opposed to social with assessments every three to five years to see if they may remain in their home or be evicted, if they cannot afford to do so.”
She added: “We need to not just be angry but band together, get out there and talk to one another.”