The next government must link affordable #rents to adequate incomes not to unaffordable 80% of high market rents which inevitably create #debt, #hunger and #homelessness & ill health

18 November 2019

Launch of "The Social Housing, Affordable Rents & Elimination of Homelessness Bill" 

Monday 16 December 2019, 14:00 – 17:00, Convocation Hall,
Church House, Deans Yard, Westminster. SW1P 3NZ
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TAP's Bill enables urgent and immediate action by national & local government.

Homeless people dieing on the streets is preventable

Next government must link affordable rents to adequate incomes. Not to unaffordable 80% of high market rents which inevitably create debt, hunger, homlessness & ill health.

https://www.standard.co.uk/…/the-homeless-fund-nearly-150-p…

TAP is working with and for homeless families in temporary accommodation  They have been there for up to and over ten years. They cannot wait another ten years while enough truly affordable housing is built; even one more year is too long
 

REGISTER

a seminar sponsored by

Taxpayers Against Poverty

partnered with Compassion in Politics

Chaired by Debbie Abrahams (MP)

 

PROGRAMME

 

INTRODUCTION

Rev Paul Nicolson - "Why this seminar now?"
 

THE PROBLEMS

Dan Tomlinson, Resolution Foundation, “Housing and inequality in the UK - Inequality street"

Professor Loretta Lees."The impacts of demolishing council estates and why we need more council homes".

This talk will present evidence collected from a 3 year Economic and Social Research Council funded project on the impacts of council estate renewal in London and a University of Leicester funded project on eviction/dispossession cases in Lambeth County Court where I shadowed solicitors acting as duty advisers for the court.
 

SOME SOLUTIONS

Ian Wise QC "The Social Housing, Affordable Rent and Elimination of Homelessness Bill".

Response from Local Councillors

 

SECOND SUBMISSION TO THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY'S COMMISSION ON HOUSING, CHURCH AND COMMUNITY. 

MEASURING ADEQUATE INCOMES

The Archbishop of York was right to highlight the uncertainty for an estimated 8.4 million people in England who, according to the National Housing Federation, “are living in an unaffordable, insecure or unsuitable home”. (A decent day’s pay for a decent day’s work – why are we still waiting for this?). 

Council house rents were used in the research into minimum income standards, which as Chair of Zacchaeus 2000 Trust I commissioned from the Family Budget Unit (see page 68) in 1998. Its Minimum Income Standards underpinned the launch of the London Living Wage in 2001. Since then two million council houses have been lost to the voracious UK housing market. The 2019 Minimum Income Standards Research research underpinning the latest living wage (see page7) also uses council house rents when many to whom it is paid are housed in the private sector paying high market rents.

The high private sector rents reduce the day to day value of the real living wage by using the income needed for food, fuel, clothes, transport and other necessitiies.  

Living Rents.jpg

The principled employers paying the real living wage ought now to go another mile for their employees and ask the next government to stop high market rents eroding the minimum income, in the research for the real living wage, needed for food, fuels, clothes, transport and other necessities. It is worse for employees receiving the lower national minimum wage and the spurious national living wage. 

A STATUTORY DEFINITION OF AFFORDABLE ACCOMMODATION 

A statutory definition of affordable housing ought to be introduced. "Accommodation is unaffordable if after paying the rent, income and council taxes the tenant’s income (together with that of other occupiers of the property) falls below a reasonable minimum having regard to the health and well-being of the tenant.  

The House of Commons Library has a good brief. "...the introduction in 2011 of social sector development with rents of up to 80% of market rents has, according to some, undermined the ability of even the social sector to supply housing that is truly affordable". 80% of a market rent is widely recognised to be unaffirdable.  We strongly recommend affordable housing is linked to income and not to the market. 

In a letter to the Tablet "Homeless and Hungry"  published  on Friday 15th Nivember  I noted that Philomena Cullen, of CPAG had asked  the right question for the Christian Churches to consider. "Might the reality of hunger in the UK be signalling structural problems in society that should be a priority for the Churches?" The answer is yes and the place to start is with the homeless, who are being deprived of land by national and international speculators using it for investment and not for homes. There are over 22,000 empty homes in London.

Minimum Income Standards were supported by motions at the General Synod, Methodist Conference and the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland others in 2001. They have never been rescinded.  

 

HOMELESS FAMILIES

I am working with and for a group of 180 homeless families in Tottenham, who have been parked by Haringey Council in temporary accommodation in blocks of council flats due for demolition. (There are nearly 3000 homeless families in tenporary accommodation in Haringey for a average of eight and a half years - added). The tenants have no idea if, when or where they will be offered a permanent home. It will take years to build enough truly affordable homes for the homeless. Emergency action is needed; that is made possible by our attached Bill. 

Before 2012, councils were required to offer council housing at council rents to tenants faced by demolition. Since 2012, tenants can be forced to take accommodation in the private sector, sometimes moving their rent from £90 a week to more than £300 for a two-bed home. The toxic mixture of low incomes and higher rents leads to homelessness and food banks".  
 
Council house communities in London have been destroyed because the council land under their homes has become enormously valuable. Councils have used that land value with developers to build homes that the evicted council tenants cannot afford. The viability assessment has been used to ensure the greatest possible profit for the land owner and developer, which means the fewest possible truly affordable homes. The Church of England uses viability assessments. Truly affordable council housing has been built on public land by local authorities who have taken the value of the land out of the calculation of the rent.  The community land trusts do the same.  
 

SHREDDED BENEFITS

There are related issues. Bedroom Tax, Benefit Cap and Local Housing Allowance all cut housing benefit. 290 out of 326 councils in England have cut the council tax support scheme.Therefore the single adult benefit of £73.10pw JSA, which equates to £317pm Universal Credit, is paying rent and council tax (couple's £114.85). Increases were frozen at 1% from April 2011 to April 2015 when increases were stopped until April 2010. It has been losing value since 1979 . Because it is so inadequate the Children's benefits are paying rent and council tax. Debt, hunger, homelessness and ill health are inevitable.

The council tax is enforced against £73.10 a week JSA (Which equates to £317 a month Universal Credit) by the councils though the magistrates courts and the bailiffs. Court costs of up to £140 and bailiffs fees of up to £420 are added to the arrears. That is an intolerable burden. In Haringey 11,000 benefit claimants a year were summoned to the magistrates court  from April 2013 until the council relented in April 2019 after a six year campaign by Taxpayers Against Poverty

Hunger is particularly worrying when the needs of women for a healthy diet both before and during pregnancy are taken into account. Professor Michael Crawford of the Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition (IBCHN) has been warning governments about the risks of life long mental and physical illness following poor maternal nutrition during pregnancy and low birthweight since 1972.  Low birth weight levels are high in Northumberland Park in Tottenham, between 10-11% (according to the 2011 census)  but 7% in UK. It is the most deprived ward in the London Borough of Haringey and among 5% of the most deprived in UK. Poor maternal nutrition and low birth weight have been described by the IBCHN as the strongest predictor of poor learning ability, school performance, behavioural disorders and crime. Tottenham  knows about knife crime.
 

BENEFIT SANCTIONS RENT, COUNCIL TAX AND TV LICENCE FINES - AND THE BAILIFFS. 

During the five week delay before the payment of Universal Credit and during a three month benefit sanction (case ostory) nothing is affordable including the payment of debts. Rent and council tax arrears and TV licence fines pile up and then have to be paid out of £73.10 a week JSA when it is reinstated. 
 
Council tax is a civil debt and the bailiffs are not allowed to break in to domestic premise to enforce it. However and TV Licence fine is a criminal debt and they may break in. I became a late and non payer of the council tax to see how they behave. I did not let them in. Unemployed single mothers and single men on £73.10 a week JSA are vulnerable to the following treatment. They are most vulnerable after a benefit sanction. 
 
This is the kind of pressure Newlyn's bailiffs apply against impoverished households at the request of Haringey Council enforcing council tax arrears,
They add -  £115 court costs, £75 bailiffs admin fee, £235 any number of bailiffs visits, £110 for the bailiffs visit to collect goods to take to auction. Council tax is a civil debt so the bailiffs cannot break into your home to enforce it. A TV licence fine is for a crimiinal offence - they can break in to enforce it.  .
 
This is a string of threats in  texts to a mobile phone of one household whose mobile phone number had been given to the bailiffs by the council.

25th September 15.32
ENFORCEMENT AGENT due to attend & take control of GOODS. Call NEWLYN on 07421324529 to STOP

9th October 2017 16.51 
You IGNORED our Removal Notice the REMOVAL UNIT is operating in N17 0AX. Call NEWLYN NOW on 01604633001 to arrange. Ref: 3756142

9th October 2017 19.57 
You failed to respond. REMOVAL TRUCK BOOKED as per COURT ORDER to TAKE CONTROL OF GOODS to AVOID ACTION CALL NEWLYN 01604 633001 QUOTING REF: 3756142
 
16th October 16,27 
RETURN HOME NOW! Newlyn removal truck en route to REMOVE YOUR GOODS. Call MR THOMAS NOW on 07813532450 quoting ref 3756142 to avoid this. 3756142
 
And six more. 
 

INCOME AND HEALTH 

The impact of low income on mental and physical health was also spelt out at one of our seminars by Dr Angela Donkin.

Income can impact on health in different ways.  Income impacts on health directly, for instance, because of insufficient money to heat your home or buy a healthy balanced diet. Cold homes increase rates of respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, excess winter deaths and mental illness.  Inadequate diets increase the risk of malnutrition, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.   

Low income, and particularly debt or insufficient income also impact on health indirectly through increased stress, depression and anxiety, and sub optimal coping behaviours – such as increased rates of smoking and drinking.

It was also spelt out at another of our seminars. 

The PowerPoint presentations 

Professor Danny Dorling - 

"Beyond reasonable doubt - the deaths and the blame". 

Dr Chris Grover - 

"Understanding austerity as structural violence and social murder". 

Professor David Taylor-Robinson 

"Child health unravelling in the UK"

 

The good health and wellbeing of all UK citizens in or out of work must now become a national priority.

 

 

 

Taxpayers Against Poverty

Partnered with Compassion in Politics
 
A VOICE FOR THE COMPASSIONATE MAJORITY
No citizen without an affordable home and an
adequate income in work or unemployment.

Supported by TAP RESOURCES INDEX on our website 

 
https://www.compassioninpolitics.com/

 

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