Local activist and campaigner Liz Charles emailed this evidence to us this morning. Theresa May was spot on when she said; “Do you know what some people call us? The Nasty Party.” Get angry and fightback.
CUMULATIVE IMPACT ON INDIVIDUAL HOUSEHOLDS OF CUTS, CAPS AND COUNCIL TAX IS BOTH IMMORAL AND UNECONOMIC, By Rev Paul Nicholson. North London Priest.
I understand Labour is expected to receive Liberal Democrat assistance in the House of Lords on Wednesday to amend the government’s care bill so that local authorities will have a duty to take into account the importance of ensuring adults with care and support needs have access to suitable accommodation; this amendment arises because of the damage being done by the bedroom tax.
There is a central point to be added to the debate.
The cumulative impact on individual households of cuts, caps and council tax on the £71.70 a week adult unemployment benefit is making people both hungry and cold. ie of the bedroom tax, and the 1% freeze on increases, while prices escalate. Unpaid council tax is then enforced by the local authorities applying to the magistrates for a liability order adding £50 – £125 to the arrears followed by the bailiffs adding several £100 making people destitute.
17,200 liability orders were issued by the magistrates to Haringey Council in the last financial year, who sent out the bailiffs 9048 times. The cuts, caps and council tax did not begin until 6th April 2013.
Magistrates Court through out England and Wales are issuing 1000s of liability orders every week.
The income of single disabled people who fail the ATOS work capability assessment is reduced to £71.70 and all the trauma associated with extreme poverty that comes with it.
It is immoral because the cuts, caps and council tax cannot be covered by the £71.70 a week. It causes undue suffering to the innocent individuals and families by making them hungry and cold. It means that parents have to pay rent and council tax arrears created by the caps, cuts and council tax out of their children’s income because they cannot be covered by £71.70 (or slightly less than double for a couple).
It is uneconomic because absolute poverty is now imposed by the State. It creates unmanageable debts, mental and physical ill health and educational underachievement raising the costs to the NHS and the Schools, free at the point of delivery, and to the economy at large in wasted talent. .
The same cumulative impact is also seen when single mothers with more than three children are hit by the benefit cap.
(Around 8% of single parents are fathers)
TWO CASE HISTORIES.
A HARD WORKING 60 YEAR OLD TAXPAYER UNEMPLOYED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 43 YEARS.
The following case with care needs was posted on the Taxpayers Against Poverty Facebook Page. “am 60 now lost my job due to ill health, first time on benefits(so ******** horrible, treated like a scrounger) and I’ve paid into the system for 43 years and I get treated as a sponger..being single and having an extra bedroom, I have benefit reductions on my £71.70p..leaving me with about £57 to pay all my bills, gas,electric, water, food. I have now not paid my extra rent and council tax for 1 week now. Thank you Tories and liberals for demoralising me……my next move is the streets to beg?…and then maybe prison for stealing food to live( and this is great Britain..i think not)
MOTHERS’ CARE AND SUPPORT FOR THEIR CHILDREN UNDERMINED BY CUMULATIVE IMPACT OF CAPS, CUTS AND COUNCIL TAX.
Children have care and support needs which are mostly the responsibility of their mothers. The overall benefit cap of £500 is disrupting that care by forcing large families;
to move, which is bad for the education of their children,
into temporary, overcrowded accommodation which damages the health of the family and the education of the children.
For instance a single mother in Haringey with seven children is now paying £282 rent plus £6 council tax out of the £500 weekly limit leaving £214 to pay for all other necessities. The JRF minimum income food standard for that family is £211 a week. Her income support is £71.70 a week.
It is too late to blame her for having children she cannot afford; they were all born before the cap and it is unfair to make them hungry and cold to satisfy a nonsensical belief that the chaotic and immoral UK free market in housing can look after them.
Another single mother with four children is paying £69 a week rent and £4 council tax out of the children’s income. She refuses to leave London because her extended family has always lived here. She will move into overcrowding in a single bedroom flat if necessary.
If she lived in a council house she and her children would not be affected by the benefit cap because the rents are lower.
It must be added that poor maternal nutrition before and during pregnancy increases the risk of low birth weight and life-time mental and physical ill health for their babies. A nine month pregnancy is not made healthy by the three days food provided by a food bank.
Rev Paul Nicolson