TAP is still looking for a Prime Minister who will commit to ending State made hunger in the UK within twelve months.

10 January 2017

TAP is still looking for a Prime Minister who will commit to ending state made hunger in the UK within twelve months.

Theresa May said nothing about hunger in the UK in her speech to the Charity Commission on Monday 9th January.  You can find it here. 

She speaks of the burning injustice of mental illness but totally ignores the equally burning injustice of the State using hunger and debt, rent and council tax arrears and low income to force people to move out of their homes during a chronic housing crisis and shortage; or to force people into employment by stopping their income with a benefit sanction, when jobs are not easy to find.

Hunger and debt, rent and council tax arrears create physical and mental illness; they are the inevitable and inescapable results of such government policy. The are suffered by individuals and families in years of temporary and insecure housing.

It needs to be repeated time and time again that £73.10 a week JSA/ESA/IS, which is also the bottom rung of the Universal Credit,  is far below the income needed by one person to buy a healthy diet, cook it and keep warm, to buy clothes transport and other necessities after they have paid rent and council tax. It has regularly delined in value since 1979. It has been required to pay rent and council tax by many benefit claimants since April 2013. 

She speaks of the importance of the early years of a child's life to the prevention of mental illness but ignores the impact on in the womb of the fetus of poor maternal nutrition before dring pregnancy  followed by low birth weight and an increased risk of life time mental health problems.  

The first moral responsibility of all government is to ensure the all citizens have enough income to buy food and pay the rent. . 

All this while, according to the ONS, the everage life expectancy of UK population is decreasing 

Sentences like these make it very difficult to grasp her sense of direction. 

"The mission I have laid out for government ...means more than fighting these obvious injustices. It means acknowledging and addressing the everyday injustices that toomany people feel too."

"The Shared Society ... is to act to encourage and nurture those relationships, networks and institutions where it can. And it is to step up to correct injustices and tackle unfairness at every turn – because injustice and unfairness are the things that drive us apart."

"But actually in going further to help those who have been ignored by government for too long because they don’t fall into the income bracket that makes them qualify for welfare support."

Who are the people who fall below the entitlement to benefit income? HMRC tells us;  

"You get Child Benefit, paid as child tax credit, if you’re responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved (education or training). You may have to pay a tax charge if your or your partner’s individual income is over £50,000. You can choose not to get Child Benefit payments, but you should still fill in the claim form because: it will help you get National Insurance credits which count towards your State Pension. it will ensure your child is registered to get a National Insurance number when they’re 16 years old, You get £20.70 a week for the first child and then £13.70 for all subsequent children."

However the Chancellor announced in his summer budget that from April 2017 support provided through Child Tax Credit will be limited to 2 children, so that any subsequent children born after April 2017 will not be eligible for further support.

In addition to the 2 child limit the ‘family element’ of £545 per year will be abolished. In effect this will mean that families with one or more children born before April 2017 will continue to get the family element but new claims after this date will not.

Are we due for another U turn?