The need to promote human rights to UK standard of living adequate for health & well being has never been greater.
The objects of TAP are based on article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights which reads as follows;
"Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance.
All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection".
There are conventions covering the rights of children, disabled, migrants, discrimination against women, and cultural and social rights.
TAP's strap line echoes our objects "No citizen without an adequate income & an affordable home" while recognisong the human rights of migrants and their families.
Why raise this now?
Whether the UK remains in the EU or leaves the need to promote the human rights to a UK standard of living adequate for health and well being has never been greater.
THE RESPONSE TO THE 2008 CRISIS HAS DAMAGED THE HEALTH OF TENANTS WITH LOW INCOMES
Come the crisis in 2008 the Labour, Coalition and Conservative governments have made the poorest tenants pay for the crash by cutting housing benefit instead of controlling rents. Land owners and landlords had profited twice since 1979 from the increase in the value of their land and the rents they charged with the housing benefit they were given. Housing benefit expenditure rose with the rents in a market in short supply from £5bn in 1980 to £11bn in 1997 £15.7 billion in 2008 and has continued upwards to £24.billion in 2016. The Labour government cut housing benefit with the Local Housing Allowance in 2008 and introduced benefit sanctions on the grounds that they had been too generous with the increases in unemployment since benefits since 1997 and workers needed some compulsion to get them to work; and the government needed the money to bailout the banks. The coalition and conservative governments then turned the screws on the unemployed and the employed ever harder by adding two more cuts in housing benefit with the bedroom tax and the benefit cap, freezing increases in already low benefits and an even harsher benefit sanction regime and allowing zero hours contracts. Debt and evictions are soaring to record levels. On top of which 264 out of 326 council’s on England and Wales started taxing inadequate unemployment benefits in 2013 and ferociously enforcing arrears while adding court costs and bailiffs fees.
Unemployment is now going down while the number of zero hours contracts goes up and low pay stagnates. Now enshrined in British law is the cancellation, for months at a time, of the minimum income needed to pay for the minimum quantities of food, fuel, clothes, transport and other necessities to maintain healthy living, That damaging cancellation happens both in work, the Zero Hours Contract, and in unemployment, the Benefit Sanction. The ONS has reported an unprecedented rise in mortality and in infant deaths in 2015. The Queen might well ask again “Why did no-one see it coming?” and again the whole answer is neither the economic establishment nor the politicians have been listening. Government has commissioned and shelved major reports on the impact of low incomes, debt and inequality on health from Black in 1980, Acheson in 1998, Wanless in 2002 and Marmot in 2010. It is blindingly obvious that low income and no income damage health and wellbeing.
THE LIVING WAGE AND A FOUNDATIONAL ECONOMY
Emerging since 1998 and spreading since 2005 has been the living wage. The Churches played a seminal role due to our preferential option for the poor. In the early 1990s an ecumenical group of us, meeting in the rooms of the Dean of Clare College Cambridge,discovered that the poll tax was introduced by the Conservative Party in Scotland in 1989 and England in 1990 without any governmental research into the minimum income standards needed for healthy living. In 1998 as chair of the Zacchaeus 2000 Trust we raised £100,000 to commission the Family Budget Unit to undertake minimum incomes standards (MIS) research. It was published in 1999 and taken to UNISON and London Citizens. They used it to persuade Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, to launch the London Living wage in 2005. The employers of The Living Wage Foundation are now the custodians of its integrity with the MIS research provided by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.The Archbishop of York has been the welcome voice of the Church of England promoting the living wage. George Osborne used its name to mark a much needed increase in the national minimum wage in 2015 but the Treasury has yet to underpin statutory minimum incomes with minimum incomes standards research.
The living wage is undermined by a housing market which not only allows rents to take an ever increasing proportion of the income needed for food, fuel, clothes and other necessities but also increases the travel to work costs from the need to live ever further from work to find an affordable home. The impact of rent and council tax arrears on the incomes, and therefore the health, of the unemployed is ignored; a living unemployment benefit is desperately needed. The economics of land, as a gift of nature which exists to provide shelter, food, fuel and clothes for all, have been ignored for too long.
A way forward is being suggested by Professors Michael Moran and Karel Williams proposing the Foundational Economy. They say poverty is not just a matter of income from wages or benefits but also of claims in the form of rents, utility bills and transport costs. Of course, the living wage and anti benefit cuts campaigns need to continue but at the same time, we need to focus on expenditure ie rents, fuel poverty and the motoring poor. They are trying to tie all that together under the rubric of the foundationaleconomy.com.
The above paragraphs were first published as a guest blog by the "10 Years After the Crash" website
Rev Paul Nicolson
The objects of the company are as follows:
The prevention or relief of poverty [or financial hardship] and the promotion of human rights as set out in Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequent United Nations and European Conventions and Declarations in the United Kingdom by all or any of the following means.
Monitoring abuses of human rights by:
Raising awareness of economic and social rights; • Promoting respect for human rights among individuals, corporations and political parties; • Obtaining redress for the victims of human rights abuse; • Relieving need among the victims of human rights abuse; • Research into human rights issues; • Providing technical advice to government and others on human rights matters; • Contributing to the sound administration of human rights law; • Commenting on proposed human rights legislation; • Promoting public support for human rights; • Eliminating infringements of human rights.
In furtherance of its objects the directors shall have the power to:
Promote the education of the public about poverty and taxation; • commission for the public benefit research into matters of fiscal policy, public policy and applied economics of relevance to poverty, financial hardship, social exclusion and their causes; • provide services and facilities in support of public advocacy by, and on behalf of, individuals and communities affected by poverty, financial hardship and social exclusion; • engage in political activity provided that the trustees are satisfied that the proposed activities will further the purposes of the company; • undertake any other activity relevant to these objects.
Wed, October 18, 2017 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Houses of Parliament, Portcullis House, 1 Parliament St, Westminster, London, SW1A 2JR
Taxpayers Against Poverty is co-hosting this event with the APPG on Health in All Policies and the APPG on Poverty. It will be Chaired by Debbie Abrahams MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Chair of APPG on Health in all Policies.
The speakers will include Fred Harrison of the Land Research Trust. The people thrive on Land Value Tax in Australia, Denmark, Harrisburg Pensylvania and other US cities and Hong Kong. The seminar will focus on how it works. Other speakers will be announced.
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