The best measure of poverty is the level of minimum income remaining after rent, council and income taxes are paid. Can £317pm UC for an individual adult buy a healthy diet, fuel & other necessities?

10 December 2018

Open letter to Andrea Leadsom MP, Leader of the House of Commons 

 
Dear Andrea Leadsom,
 

Your reply to Liz McInnes MP

 
This is an open letter to which I am giving the widest possible distribution. 
 
Yesterday you said in the House of Commons  "In fact, there are fewer children and families in absolute poverty than there were in 2010". Any children anywhere in absolute poverty is unacceptable; but the dire poverty of every man, woman or child transferred to Universal Credit is a fact that ought to concern all parties. 
 
I am sure you understand that any shortfall in rent and council tax payments by £317pm UC has to be paid for out of the benefits of the children or the disabled, or it is not paid at all leads to eviction for rents arrears and to the courts, bailiffs even threats of prison for the council tax arrears.    
 
The best measure of poverty is the level of minimum income remaining after rent, council and income taxes are paid. Can £317pm for an individual adult buy a healthy diet, fuel, clothes, transport and other necessities?  
 
£317 a month is that income for each single adult receiving Universal Credit. Children's, disabled, housing and council tax benefits are added to it.  
 
The DWP  paid £0.01 into this individuals bank to last a month, and sent him this statement, when he was suffering from the aftermath of a three months benefit sanction and had been forced on to a zero hours contract. The statement confirms that the single adult UC is £317 per month and shows how the DWP arrives at a payment of one penny. 
 
Universal Calamity (UC).jpg 

Whether or not £317 a month is enough to live on has not been researched by the government.

It is paid to at least 3.6 million people a year (please see ONS BENO1). It equates to £73.10 a week JSA which has been losing value since 1979. Now it pays rent and council tax because housing and council tax benefits have been cut. 
 
Therefore £317pm UC is reduced by council tax charged to UC claimants in 277 out of 326 councils in England since April 2013. That is enforced by the councils through the magistrates courts and with the bailiffs, adding court costs and bailiffs fees to the arrears, about 11,000 times in a borough like Haringey. 
 
£317pm UC is now also required to pay rent owing to housing benefit cuts by the bedroom tax, the local housing allowing, the benefit cap and the two child limit. Rents and council tax increase while UC is frozen. 
 
I am sure you understand that any shortfall in rent and council tax payments by £317pm UC has to be paid for out of the benefits of the children or the disabled;  or it is not paid at all leading to eviction for rents arrears and the courts, bailiffs even threats of prison for the council tax arrears.  
 
When unemployment benefits cannot hold body and soul together it is so much easier for unscrupulous employers to pay poverty wages. 
 
Yours sincerely, 
 
Paul Nicolson. 
 
 
From the Reverend Paul Nicolson

Taxpayers Against Poverty


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