THE COLLAPSE OF WELFARE IN HARINGEY

19 November 2012

TAP  1st draft taxation policy

I would like to suggest that for the purposes of settling the level of and the enforcement of local and national taxation, rents and other debts there should be a level of income after rents and council tax which is irreducible, so no-one is left without the bare minimum needed for survival.

The level of that irreducible income should be decided by the government after taking into account the JRF research into the weekly cost of food, fuel,clothes, transport and an amount for contingencies.

Affordable housing and affordable taxation are all associated with minimum minimum income standards.

It is for example very perverse for Haringey Council, if not irrational, to be proposing to tax unemployment benefits as described below.

THE COLLAPSE OF WELFARE IN HARINGEY

UNEMPLOYED Income Impact Impact Impact Impact
COUPLE JSA CTB only CTB & LHA CTB & OBC CTB, LHA & OBC
HARINGEY £pw £pw £pw £pw £pw
Couple (both over 18) £111.45 will £4.51 £12.09 £72.40 £108.46
Family premium £17.40 have to to to to
dependent child £64.99 to £6.29 £29.37 £255.24 £313.12
dependent child £64.99 pay
Total £258.83
SINGLE £71.00 will £3.18 £8.81 £41.43 £51.46
have to to to to
to pay £7.43 £57.03 £158.01 £232.40

Source Haringey Council.

In other words some unemployed couples in Haringey will be sent a demand for £6.29 a week council tax when their other benefits of £258 a week have been cut by £255.24 a week. Then the council applies for a liability order and charges the resident around £70, then the bailiffs add up to £400.

The JRF minimum income standards for food, fuel, clothes and transport is £91 a week for a single adult.

The late Professor Peter Ambrose was very concerned about the very careless way Parliament, the civil service and the media talk about affordable housing. So he invented a working definition which should govern both affordable housing policy  and adequate minimum incomes. It attempts to relate the lives of the poorest to the realities of prices in the market.  It reads as follows;

‘Affordable’ in relation to housing requires precise definition. It means that once the cost of rent or mortgage (including service charges) and council tax has been met from the income of a household, be it an individual, a family or pensioners, there remains sufficient income to sustain safe and healthy living, provision for the future and participation in the community. ‘Unaffordable’ housing means that the remaining income is insufficient to ensure these outcomes. See

http://z2k.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Memorandum-to-the-Prime-Minister-on-Unaffordable-Housing.pdf

In other words if housing and council tax take up too much of the peoples incomes their health suffers, it costs the NHS and the economy is short of spending power to buy goods which create jobs.

PN 19/11/12


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