5 December 2012

The following blog was written by Paul Morrison a member of TAP.

It is in line with the TAP  decision to challenge the lies about poverty.

I am adding;

Baroness Meacher cited the Haringey Council's analysis of the cumulative impact of the cuts and caps in her speech moving an amendment proposing the regulation of Bailiffs to the Crime and Courts Bill last night.

Her speech includes “In my view we are going to see an explosion of unmanageable debt in this country next year and the years following. Bailiffs will be worked off their feet; thousands and thousands more will have to be employed; and the misery of vulnerable people will increase from very high levels to heights that we have never known.

Evidence from a small survey in Haringey suggests that the cumulative impact of the local housing allowance cap, the overall benefit cap and cuts in council tax benefit-just those three things alone-will cut the income of couples with two children by just over £108 per week, leaving such families with only £150 per week to cover food, fuel, clothes, transport and other necessities. They will not cope; it is quite simple. I am very grateful to the Zacchaeus 2000 Trust for those figures.”

I think she is absolutely right. From the campaigning points of view it is vital totally to oppose every single detail of polices which will create such heights of misery among the people we serve and but from the compassionate point of view vital to mitigate that suffering in every way possible.
The politics of poverty are against our fellow citizens who will be facing such misery. Too many of the public have bought the political propaganda lies about benefit scroungers living the life of riley while dependent of the taxpayer for their income; the Labour party is almost silent because it “does not want to get on the wrong side of the welfare debate”. The major charities, quite understandably, are looking over their shoulders at their government funding, in the context of deficit reduction, and keep their campaigning on the soft side – three NGO officers have confirmed that to me. The press buy and publish the lies, with the exception of the Guardian, The Mirror and the Star.

The following answer to a Parliamentary question about the impact on London of the overall benefit cap confirms my worst fears about London and it is an underestimate because it covers only one cap, no cuts and does not cover the impact of the council tax on benefits from April 2013.

Stephen Timms (East Ham, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his most recent assessment is of the number of households in London whose income will be reduced by the operation of the benefit cap; and for how many of them the weekly reduction will be (a) less than £20, (b) between £20 and £39.99, (c) between £40 and £59.99, (d) between £60 and £79.99, (e) between £80 and £99.99 and (f) over £100.

Around 27,600 households in the London region will see their income reduced by the operation of the benefit cap. The following table shows for how many households the weekly reduction in benefit will be (a) less than £20, (b) between £20 and £39.99, (c)between £40 and £59.99, (d) between £60 and £79.99, (e) between £80 and £99.99 and (f) over £100.

Reduction in benefit (per week) Number of households
Less than £20                                                    4,300
Between £20 to £39.99                                 4,700
Between £40 to £59.99                                 3,000
Between £60 to £79.99                                 2,600
Between £80 to £99.99                                 2,300
Over                       £100                                  10,800

Note: Rounded to the nearest 100. Figures may not round to the total number of households affected in London due to rounding.

The figures presented above are consistent with the recent impact assessment published on 16 July 2012. In making these estimates we assume that the situation of these households will go unchanged, and they will not take any steps to either work enough hours to qualify for working tax credit, renegotiate their rent in situ, or find alternative accommodation. In all cases the Department is working to support households through this transition, using existing provision through Jobcentre Plus and the Work programme to move as many into work as possible. Therefore, please note that these figures are subject to change prior to the policy being implemented in April 2013.

It is important to remember that examples of the unemployment benefits which are being reduced by the amounts shown are £258 for a couple with two children and £71 for single adults.