5 July 2013


Here is a look at the impact of the £500 overall benefit cap in Haringey one of the four London borough's piloting the scheme.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions celebrated the £500 overall benefit cap in the London Evening Standard in four London Boroughs on the 3rd July.


I sent the following response to the Standard which has not yet been published.

The Editor,
The Standard,
For publication please.

This hard working taxpayer is not celebrating one iota with the Work and Pensions Secretary (3 July, page 8) about the successful
implementation of the £500 overall benefit against 2400 households in four London Borough's; implementation against a further 22,000 starts this month.

In Haringey the cap leaves a single mother with four children finding £69 a week rent from her children's benefits. She was
given a discretionary housing payment for twelve weeks; then it was cancelled. Another mother with seven children is trying to pay £282 rent a week.

(A third case was evicted in Islington by a landlord wanting vacant possession to sell the property was housed by Islington Council in a private tenancy in Haringey. She is now hit by the £500 overall benefit cap.)

Mothers with extended families in London for decades are left with

total uncertainty about where they will live. Affordable homes for
large families are very few and far between. Overcrowded temporary accommodation damaging the families health and the children's education is the most likely outcome.

Investment in the children's lives will have far better outcomes for the economy at large than this punitive policy.

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The Bureau of Investigative Journalism at City University, London tells us that Haringey has accepted 1833 households from other London boroughs, 1200 from Islington, and moved 1282 out, 1147 to Enfield. A total of 19,057 households have moved between boroughs in London. It is like pouring households into a kitchen blender and expecting them not to get hurt.

Temporary accommodation is projected to cost Haringey £29.6
million this year; the total projected cost for London this year is
£393 million.


Peter Kenway of the New Policy Institute sent me the following statistics on the 4th July;

The attached stats have just been published today. Although they are aggregate they are still quite stunning. Some highlights. 2,400 households hit in the first two months. 98% families with children (78% lone parents, 20% couple parents). 36% less than £50 a week hit. 31% £50 to £100. 33% more than £100.

What the stats don’t do is tell us what the local authorities are trying to do with these people.


In the light of this self-evident and severe injustice to mothers and children in large families I am showing this article by Aditya Chakrabortty in the Guardian 2/7/13 sent to me by Peter Challen of the Christian Council for Monetary Justice.


Consider the issues the new-look Bank has to deal with. As Carney told MPs: "The next five years will span a period that will be critical for the future development of the Bank of England, for the development of the British, European and global economies, as well as decisive for domestic and international financial reform." In the absence of any fiscal stimulus, and against the backdrop of the euro-zone crisis, the governor will have to secure a recovery (ideally in time for the next election) and oversee a zombiefied banking sector.

All this will be carried out by a former Goldman Sachs executive, with a deputy, Charlotte Hogg, also from investment banking. They will work alongside an IMF led by a former corporate lawyer (Christine Lagarde), whose number two used to work for a hedge fund (David Lipton, formerly of Moore Capital); and Mario Draghi, who spent a few years with Goldman Sachs. That resume rundown isn't meant to impute personal venal­ity to any of these officials; it's to point out the corruption of a system governed by unelected ex-bankers colluding in unprecedented auster­ity for the poor, while shovelling hundreds of billions at bankers. This rottenness is partly the politicians' fault, for their inability to deal with the fundamental questions, instead resorting to broad brushstrokes and outsourcing the serious thinking.

Let me end with a suggestion. If this govern­ment is so keen on direct democracy and voting for mayors and police chiefs, why not make the next Bank governor stand for election? One term of five years, on a salary set at a maximum of 10 times the average wage. Some will say this would lead to poor candidates and monetary policy by soundbite. To which I would point at Alan Green­span. They used to call him the Oracle, you know.

Aditya Chakrabortty Guardian 2/7/13