MUCH WORSE THAN THE POLL TAX

2 September 2012

MUCH WORSE THAN THE POLL TAX

We know the 10% cut in the central government council tax grant to local authorities is to be used to finance the railways (Earl Attlee Hansard 16 July 2012 : Column GC13) and have heard rumours that cuts in welfare will be used to finance wind farms. The party conferences precede the report stage of the Local Government Finance Bill in the House of Lords; it is a looming disaster for our poorest fellow citizens.

The localisation of council tax benefits, the 10% cut in central government grants and the problems related to blending a national universal credit with a localised council tax are expected to both increase the taxation paid by the working poor and reduce the benefits paid to unemployed people.

Either way the coalition will be creating a very substantial risk of council tax arrears, plus the costs of liability orders and bailiffs fees, to be paid out of poverty incomes already hit by the;

• rising prices of food, fuel, transport and clothes,
• lowering of uprating from RPI to CPI
• capping of housing benefits
• careless imposition of sanctions by Jobcentres.
• slashing of disability payments

This is many times worse than the poll tax. The Thatcher government added a small amount to unemployment benefits to be removed by local authorities as the poll tax. This time the benefit incomes are being slashed and taxed.

The impact of the consequent debt on the health of the poorest citizens of the UK, and their offspring, is described in the following letter published by The Tablet on line on the 1st October.

GOVERNMENT NEGLIGENCE, NOT PARENTAL NEGLECT

Frank Field and Patrick White say that a healthy pregnancy, good childcare, encouragement of learning, parental authority and parents who improve their skills all enable children to enjoy success even when the parents are poor. I hope their Merseyside experiment (The Tablet, 25 August), which sets out to prove that parenting is more important than income, will fully examine the effects of poverty-related debt.

The level of adult Jobseekers' Allowance, Income Support and Employment Support Allowance for 18-24 year olds - good years for healthy pregnancy and child birth - has increased from £47.95 in 2008 to £56.25 a week in 2012. However the minimum income standards for food, fuel, clothing and transport as calculated by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation increased from £71.01 to £91.58 a week.

In addition, capping the local housing allowance has increased debt and reduced expenditure on food and other necessities. Calls on Trussell Trust food banks have doubled in a year to 128,687 in 2011-12. Field and White blame shop-lifting by children on neglect by parents who preferred to spend the money elsewhere. "Elsewhere" is more likely to be a debt than a preference - such as council tax arrears plus court and bailiffs' costs. The Government's 2008 foresight report, Mental Capital and Wellbeing, related debt and mental illness.

Riot-torn Tottenham has a poor record in both burglary and low birthweight. In a list of London's burglary hotspots in 2010 Tottenham Green was second with 21 cases per 1,000 residents; St Ann's was third - 20 cases, and Haringey fourth with 19 cases. The same wards had among the highest rates of low birth weight in London between 2007 and 2009: Tottenham Green - 12.5 per cent of live births, St Ann's - 9.4 per cent and Haringey 11.6 per cent. The average for England is 7.53 per cent.

Professor Michael Crawford of the Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition has shown that poor maternal nutrition and low birth weight are associated with foetal growth restriction, which is the strongest predictor of poor learning ability, school performance, behavioural disorders and crime. That is not parental neglect: it is governmental negligence
.
Rev Paul Nicolson, Chairman, Zacchaeus 2000 Trust

Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Minimum Income Standards.
SINGLE PERSON PER WEEK

Here are the calculations for food+fuel+clothing+transport. As you say, they are all above IS/JSA rate, and have risen from 22% to 29% more than a single person would receive at the adult rate. Interestingly, nearly half this percentage increase is in public transport.
Donald Hirsch, Centre for Research in Social Policy, Loughborough.

                                 2008                   2012

                                    £pw                      £pw

Food                        40.34                   48.25

Fuel                           9.00                     11.63

Clothing                   7.64                      9.31

Transport              17.03                    22.39

Total                      74.01                   91.58

IS/JSA                    60.50                 71.00

IS/JSA 18-24s    47.95                  56.25

                                                               2008                  2012

Total as a % of IS/JSA                   122%                    129%
Total as % of IS/JSA 18-24s        154%                   163%

 

Please sign our e-petition on
http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/25438
Stop the housing benefit and universal credit caps.

Rev Paul Nicolson
Chair, Zacchaeus 2000 Trust

Rev Paul Nicolson
Taxpayers Against Poverty
93 Campbell Road,
Tottenham,
London N17 0BF
0208 3765455
07961 177889
also at http://www.z2k.org
also at http://www.prohousingalliance.com
http://www.taxpayersagainstpoverty.org.uk
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Taxpayers-Against-Poverty/299911526728884


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