Failure of Haringey Cabinet with political roots in suffering of poorest citizens during industrial revolution to oppose government

10 November 2017


Tuesday, 14th November, 2017, 6.30 pm - Civic Centre, High Road, Wood Green, N22 8LE Members: Councillors Claire Kober (Chair), Peray Ahmet, Jason Arthur, Eugene Ayisi, Ali Demirci, Joe Goldberg, Alan Strickland, Bernice Vanier, Elin Weston and Joseph Ejiofor

​In the three minutes I am allowed on Tuesday to speak on behalf of the Council Tax Deputation to the Haringey Cabinet, which you can read on the TAP website, I have tried to set out the lack of moral principle involved when a Council taxes benefits which have been shredded by central government. ​Three minutes does not allow me the time also to set out the details of the damaging arithmetic which you are enforcing on the poorest tenants in Haringey. This is an extract from a blog I was invited to write for the Equality Trust, 

"Income Inequality Worsened by Land Grabbers and State Imposed Debt

​"​For the 7 million landless tenants ​(in England) ​the housing crisis is now and worsening. There is no equity to fall back on. No escape from council tax, income tax or VAT. Since April 2013 council tax has been charged at 8.5% to 30% against state benefit incomes by 259 ​ (now 265) councils out of 326 in England; they add court costs and bailiffs fees to the arrears which cannot be paid out of a single adult unemployment benefit of £73.10 a week, which is also required to pay rent since April 2013 because government has cut housing benefit; a cut in housing benefit is an increase in rent for the tenant on top of the ever rising rents due to the chaotic UK housing market. 

£73.10 remains the wobbly bottom building brick of the JSA/Universal Credit paid to 4 million people [1].  It does not reach Joseph Rowntree minimum income standards for food, fuel, clothes, transport of £91.80 per week, (see Table 2 from which I have conservatively selected those items) and cannot afford​ the​ rent and ​council tax it has been expected to pay since ​April 2013; before that the £73.10 was ​supported​  by 100% housing and council tax benefits. It has been diminishing in value since 1979. It has not been increased since April 2015. It is so low that debt is inevitable.

It is the income the disabled are left with if they fail the Work Capability Assessment. It is removed by a benefit sanction for one month, three months or three years leaving no money to pay for essentials or outstanding debts, the enforcement of which continues. This Jobcentre administrative procedure inflicts punishment greater that a fine for theft. The thief will be left with enough money by the Magistrates Courts to buy food and other essentials and will be fed in prison. A policy of starving people into work hits a scandalous depth of injustice not seen since the 1920s. It is impossible not to speculate whether the impact on the well-being of tenants of increasingly unaffordable rents and of uneconomic state benefits have not contributed to the increases in death rates since 2011 after many years’ reductions and to the steady rise in the cost of mental illness to the economy to £113 billion.​"

​I now add; ​

​The poorest landless Haringey tenants are taxed while;

  • not only do the Paradise papers show the elite escaping tax by hoarding wealth and income overseas 

  • but also the British landowning ​elite​ have been allowed an unlimited, unearned and untaxed increase of billiions in ​t​he value of their land since 1979 ​

What puzzles a veteran housing and poverty campaigner is the failure of the Haringey Cabinet members, with their political roots in the suffering of the poorest citizens during the industrial revolution, to be in opposition to the taxation, housing and income policies of the present government.  

[1] See BEN01: Key out of work benefits. - Office for National Statistics





from the Reverend Paul Nicolson