TAP blog in Huffington Post. Harmful impact of low incomes and debt on mental and physical health is beyond doubt.

31 May 2017

TAP blog in the Huffington Post. 

The Devil Of Income-Related Mental And Physical Illness Is In The Detail - Call For A Living Unemployment Benefit. 

JSA/ESA/IS/UC £73.10pw so inadequate parents need children’s benefits to survive and disabled people are forced into destitution when they fail WCA

The harmful impact of low incomes and debt on mental and physical health is beyond doubt. Ground breaking reports after ground breaking reports over decades have produced the necessary conclusive evidence. Professors Black 1980, Acheson 1999, Wanless 2002 and Marmot 2010 have all informed governments low income impacts on health. Dr Angel Donkin of the Institute if Health Equity on the 10th February this year opened a series of nine blogs on health equality on the Taxpayers Against Poverty website by stating “Income impacts on health directly; for instance insufficient money to heat your home or buy a healthy balanced diet. Cold homes increase rates of respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, excess winter deaths and mental illness. Inadequate diets increase the risk of malnutrition, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Debt impacts on health indirectly through increased stress, depression and anxiety.” The devil of income related mental and physical illness is in the detail.

Despite all those volumes of robust evidence governments since 1979 have allowed the corner stone of the benefit system, on which all other unemployment benefits are built, to crumble. Professor Jonathan Bradshaw wrote to The Guardian in May 2009 to show that JSA had been reducing in value since 1979; he called it benefit negligence. ​The single adult JSA/ISA/IS is £73.10 a week which becomes £317 a month under the Universal Credit (UC) is paid to over 4 million people in the UK. Family and disability benefits are added to that crumbling corner stone. It is so inadequate that parents need the children’s benefits to survive and the disabled are forced into destitution when they fail the work capability assessment and their disability benefits are stopped. A benefit sanction is a disaster for single adults because while the £73.10 is stopped the debts pile up and later cannot be paid out of such a low income when it starts again.

Until April 2013 rent and council tax for the unemployed ​were ​covered by 100% housing and council tax benefits. Since April 2013;

  • The inadequate £73.10​ has been taxed by 276 councils out of 326 in England

  • It has also had to pay rent due to the cut in housing benefit by the local housing allowance, the ​bedroom tax and the benefit cap​

  • It has not been increased since April 2015. Meanwhile the prices of goods and services (RPI) have increased by 4.8%. Rents and council tax have also increased

​I hope you now will read the whole blog​


Ten blogs on affordable housing by 

Stephen Hill MRICS Churchill Fellow, Prof Danny Dorling University of Oxford, Fred Harrison Land Research Trust, Alison Gelder Housing Justice. 

Nine blogs on health equality 

Dr Angela Donkin Institute of Health Equity, Profs Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson Equality Trust, Maddy Power University of York, Carl Walker University of Brighton 


TAP/APPG on poverty Health Equality Seminar - Register


Chair: Baroness Molly Meacher, Crossbench


David Finch - Resolution Foundation,

Dr Angela Donkin – Institute of Health Equity

Professor Richard Wilkinson –  Equality Trust

Professor Kate Pickett –, Equality Trust

Maddy Power –  University of York

Carl Walker –  University of Brighton

Rev Paul Nicolson –  Taxpayers Against Poverty

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