Queen’s Street Market and the Bedroom Tax Arooj Khan

Another day of ethnography in Newham

Queens Market lies on Green Street, home away from home for all West Ham United fans.

The market itself, based on the site since the Victorian times, sells a mix of fabric rolls, exotic foods and home ware goods with nail shops scattered in between. Venturing out to Upton Park on a sunny Saturday seems like the most obvious way to spend the afternoon.

After parking down one of the side roads that connect Katharine Road and Green Street, I made my way up towards the station. Passing Paan shops and window displays filled with colourful clothes. I stopped just before the station at an off-licence, one of few in this area. I noticed that the shop was awash with a collage of post-it notes in its window. Each note stated the same thing “Bedroom for rent” in a hand written scrawl.

Is this the result of the ‘bedroom tax’ from the newly implemented Welfare Reform Act 2012? The tax means that housing benefit claimants will receive a reduction in their claim if they have a spare bedroom. This can be partially subverted by taking in a lodger. Although housing benefit payments may still be cut, homeowners will be able to keep all of their rental income from the lodger.

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