DPAC: Taxpayers Against Poverty: General Election Manifestos Must Address Homelessness and Hunger, and the Powerlessness of Homeless Families . . .

1. GENERAL ELECTION MANIFESTOS MUST ADDRESS HOMELESSNESS AND HUNGER. 

The 2012 and 2016 Welfare Reform Acts were seen through Parliament by government ministers who sought to force the unemployed into work by imposing inadequate incomes and punitive laws designed to treat them as if they are at work.

Examples are:

  • a monthly rather than a weekly income;
  • housing benefit paid to the unemployed from which they pay the rent to the landlord as if it were from a monthly pay cheque; and
  • strict rules about keeping appointments at the job centre.

The purpose was to “change the culture” of unemployment, on the mistaken assumption that the unemployed lived an easy life on benefits so were unlikely to look for work, hence the cruel benefit sanction on those who “broke the rules”.

Lord Freud  on the Welfare Reform Bill 2016. Hansard Column 1427, 19 October 2016:

Every year I stand here because there is a forecast that says that child poverty is going up, has gone up or will go up, but when we actually see the figures, we find that child poverty has actually gone down. When you transform the economy, change the culture so that work is what has been driving things, and move up the employment rates and the earning rates in the way that we have, you find that the behavioural impacts are very different from the static analysis that many of the external experts tell us about.”

Lord Freud could not have been more wrong. Child poverty is going up and getting worse. 

Attempts by cross-bench peers to insert amendments requiring a health-impact assessment of the government’s policies were rejected. The actual and disastrous impact on the health of low-income families and individuals can be found on the Taxpayers Against Poverty website.

UK land grabbed by the rich for private gain

London councils have published analysis showing that there has been a significant reduction of about 200,000 in the number of homes that are affordable for tenants receiving the Local Housing Allowance. That is one among a number causes of the escalating homelessness and hunger in the capital.

The 1980s’ “big bang” set up the UK housing market to make large landowners very rich indeed, with unearned and untaxed increases in the value of their land. Lending was deregulated, rent controls abolished and funds allowed to flow in and out of the limited amount of British land. Small businesses and family homes, which pay rent, business rates and/or council tax, and own no land, are treated little better than during the 15th– and 16th-century enclosures.

Tenants are being pushed off the land with no solutions on the political table to reverse the trend.

In Haringey, 3,000 homeless families, with 5,208 children between them, have been forced into temporary accommodation, some for up to and over 10 years. Accirding to the House of Commons Library there are 83,700 homless families in temporary accommodation in England with 124,000 children, up 74% sine 2010. 56,880 of the families are in London. Too many of them are in one room in hostels or other acommodation when none ought to be.

Taxpayers Against Poverty strongly recommends that the Greater London Authority and Parliament adopt two policies used by the Danish government:

  • Long-term vacancy of properties is discouraged in Denmark. If an owner moves and does not wish to sell the property, it must be rented out or advertised for sale. If it is empty for more than six weeks, the owner must report to the local authority, which then seeks to provide tenants, whom the owner has to accept.
  • Non-residents of Denmark who have not lived in the country for a total period of five years previously may only acquire property after receiving permission from the Ministry of Justice.

Income support for a single adult has been losing value since 1979

There is a community of about 11,000 social-security claimants in Haringey. The shredding of their social security incomes since 2010 has been piled on top of decades of adult benefit negligence. The evidence came from Professor Jonathan Bradshaw in 2009  responding to one of mine. In April 2011, austerity measures were then piled onto an already inadequate cornerstone of the benefit system. To that cornerstone are added disabled people’s, children’s, housing and council-tax benefits.

“When unemployment benefit started in 1912, it was 7 shillings a week – about 22% of average male earnings in manufacturing. The percentage fluctuated over the succeeding decades, but by 1979, the benefit rate was still about 21% of average earnings (manual and non-manual, male and female). By 2008, however, as a result of the policy of tying benefits to the price index while real earnings increased, the renamed Jobseeker’s Allowance had fallen to an all-time low of 10.5% of average earnings.”

Benefit increases were frozen at 1% a year in April 2011. £73.10 a week Jobseekers’ Allowance equates to £317 a month Universal Credit. Using the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s minimum-income standards for single-adult benefits after rent and council tax as of April 2019, we can see that Jobseekers’ Allowance and Universal Credit are nearly £32 a week too low for healthy living.

And that is before :

  • the five-week delay in the first payment of Universal Credit;
  • the Department for Work and Pensions “budgeting advance” to cover that delay, which is a loan that has to be repaid out of 73.10 a week;
  • the cuts in council tax and housing benefits, which mean rent and council tax must also be paid out of that £73.10 a week;
  • income is stopped by benefit sanctions, during which rent, council tax and TV-licence arrears and other debts pile up; adding to the impossibility of living on benefits;
  • the realisation – often only belatedly at the job centre – by a parent who has a third child that the government’s two-child policy means they will be refused child benefit for their latest offspring.

The hopelessly inadequate single adult benefit cannot maintain a healthy adult life, let alone pay rent or council tax, or their enforcement costs. That is a cruel catch 22. If your children’s benefits pay the rent, they are hungry, naked or cold; if you feed, clothe growing children or keep them warm, then the family is evicted and homeless.

Councils force low income tenants into the private sector and their rent over the benefit cap. 

In the United Kingdom, local authority officers and benefit claimants are both the victims of toxic and disconnected central government policies. Policies that combine to escalate the number of homeless and hungry families. The benefits freeze is bad enough (Benefits freeze leaves a third of claimants ‘with £100 to live on a month’), but, in 2012, the government introduced another measure that is particularly hard on London families. It allows local-authority housing departments to offer homeless families in temporary council housing at £90 a week rent a move into permanent private-sector housing at £300 a week rent for a two-bed home, for example (see table).

Families must accept the council’s first offer or they are deemed intentionally homeless and struck off the list of those the council has a duty to house. The unintended consequence of the 2012 measure is that a family’s total benefit income, including housing benefit, can be forced over the London benefit cap of £442.31 by high private-sector rent. The government cuts the housing benefit to enforce the cap on the total benefit income. Thar leaves rent to be paid by the family’s remaining benefits They have been frozen and are already short of £100 a month to live on. Hunger and homelessness are inevitable.

UK is the only nation in the world requiring renters to pay the landlord’s property tax.

The UK being the only nation in the world requiring renters to pay the landlord’s property tax adds the straw that breaks the camels back. That is a great injustice. The council tax is a property tax based on 1991 evaluations after the poll tax was abolished and the council tax introduced.

There is a tenant of my acquaintance who lives in a private two-bed terraced house in Tottenham that was bought new for £95,000 in 1999. An identical property next door, also new in 1999, is on the market for £425,000. The landlord is £330,000 richer, unearned and untaxed, while the tenant has paid about £1,000 a year in property/council tax for 20 years, so is £20,000 poorer.

290 out of 326 English councils require benefit claimants to pay a proportion of their landlord’s council tax. It is enforced by the magistrate’s court, adding the council’s enforcement costs to the arrears and the bailiffs adding their fees. Taxing £73.10 a week income support/Jobseekers’ Allowance/Universal Credit is a pernicious injustice.

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

2. An inhuman treatment of powerless tenants. 

TAP is opposing in the implementation of the project at High Road West. We so firmly believe it is against the best interests of the low income residents of Tottenham. After the secure tenants were moved out, the current tenants of Love Lane Estate have been moved in by Haringey Counci. Because they are homeless families in temporary accommodation they have no relevant housing rights and can be moved out more easily before demolition. An inhuman treatment of powerless tenants.

Some of these 180 young families have been in temporary accommodation for up and over ten years. They have already been forced to moved several times so disrupting the education of their growing children. They are among 3000 homeless families in temporary accommodation in Haringey. Too many of them are in one room in hostels or other accommodation –  when none ought to be.

The way the High Road West project has been designed does not commit the council to using 100% of the site for meeting part of a target of providing the 3000 much needed secure homes for the homeless.  What is proposed is the convoluted process of allowing Lend Lease to build on land which is free to the council and then sell “affordable” homes back to the council for £68,000 each. That enables Lend Lease to make the largest profit possible by selling the remaining and the majority if the homes into the very expensive London housing market.

The best way to build truly affordable homes for rent is for the council keep their public land out of the market, borrow the money and hire Lend Lease to build them.

It is a matter of public interest that we all know the terms of the  out of court settlement bewteen lendlease and the council, particularly whether it involved Northumberland Park, another council estate eyed by international property devopers for similar treatment.

Another shocking aspect of the High Road West project is the intention to grab the land from under 50 small thriving businesses of the Peacock Industrial Estate. Their businesses, which are employing local people, will be severely disrupted – to create a park!

The current national housing policy is ideologically designed to prevent the building of council homes on council land.

To do so is not socialism. It is simply an intelligent way of building truly affordable housing which has been used by all political parties in power since WWII. Also the capacity of the poorest tenants to pay even the lowest rents in London has been severely undermined by the shredding of houisng benefit and other social security payments. (See above)

Now is not the time to build social housing at council house rents. It would be better to leave it until after the next election which will have to change national housing and social security policies for the better and , it is ardently hoped. for the better use of public and private land for the common good.

For the time being the council ought to stop pushing powerless homeless families in temporary accommodation from pillar to post. The council can leave them where they are – even declare them all permanently housed.

National housing and social security policies have to change  to meet the needs of low income tenants.

Taxpayers Against Poverty

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 

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Filed under Austerity, Benefits, Budget Cuts, Budgets, Deprivation, Despair, Divide and Rule, Economics, Government Spending, Homelessness, House Prices, Housing Benefits, Human Rights, Humanity, Hunger, Ideology, Impoverishment, Injustice, Legislation, Living Wage, Low Wages, Manifestos, Misleading, Private Sector, Privatisation of Public Resources, Right-wing, Sanctions, Social Security, Tory Cuts, Underfunding, Unemployed

Biggest CLP in UK says overwhelmingly: “Resign Watson – we stand with Jez and Jennie”

18/07/2019 · by SKWAWKBOX (SW) · in Uncategorized. ·

Hornsey and Wood Green Labour party in London votes for statement of solidarity with leadership – and says it has no confidence in Tom Watson even as an MP.

Hornsey and Wood Green CLP (constituency Labour party) in London is the largest in the country by some distance. It has just voted overwhelmingly to approve a motion expressing:

  • members’ continuing ‘steadfast’ support in Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership
  • its complete backing for Jennie Formby, Labour’s general secretary shamefully treated this week by notional deputy leader Tom Watson
  • recognition of ‘unparalleled’ media attacks on Corbyn
  • its lack of confidence in Watson to fulfil the role of MP, let alone of deputy leader
  • a call on CLPs with MPs undermining Corbyn to make full use of the impending ‘trigger ballot’ process to choose a new, genuine Labour MP

Please follow this Link to read the full story:

https://skwawkbox.org/2019/07/18/biggest-clp-in-uk-says-overwhelmingly-resign-watson-we-stand-with-jez-and-jennie/?fbclid=IwAR1BhmIf6JuCVqsT7KY8R1ysTQ1c2h6Kph2Kil7R5ir7kkFCwOAxuhALlFM

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Video: 1000s of scouts blindside BBC singing ‘Oh Jeremy’ – before BBC quickly cuts them off

13/07/2019 · by SKWAWKBOX (SW) · in Breaking, News. ·

Video suggests anti-Corbyn smears not cutting through as Labour lead polls

A mass gathering of scouts – hardly a typical hotbed of Labour support – blindsided the BBC’s Breakfast programme this morning with a chant of ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’.

As the chant grew louder, the reporter appeared in rather a hurry to end the interview and allow the BBC to get back to business as usual:

To read the rest of the post, click here:
https://skwawkbox.org/2019/07/13/video-1000s-of-scouts-blindside-bbc-singing-oh-jeremy-before-bbc-quickly-cuts-them-off/?fbclid=IwAR3h0Nz8G_zWYnP0ogYcRskbgiZSaEVAEiW2hFZ0TSaLGoe9AbvTxSgy7Ek

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Yet ANOTHER leading hard Brexiter buys EU citizenship for himself and his family

When the rich and powerful dictate our lives for us – but make sure they’re going to be okay! 😦

Pride's Purge

Billionaire Christopher Chandler is the founder and the main backer of the Legatum Institute Foundation which has been advising Theresa May on the Brexit negotiations and has been pushing May and her government for the hardest of hard Brexits:

How Theresa May is being ‘shepherded’ to a hard Brexit by a multibillionaire Dubai-based New Zealand fund manager

So it’s somewhat of a surprise to discover that Chandler has just arranged to buy EU citizenship for himself and his family under Malta’s citizenship by investment scheme, under which wealthy individuals can obtain an EU passport, and the right to work, live and reside in EU member states:

chandler

Malta grants EU citizenship to Legatum backer

Brexit billionaire Christopher Chandler obtains EU passport through Malta

Brexit is for the plebs only it seems …

.

chandler

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While Amber Rudd is Elsewhere Universal Credit Crisis Continues.

. . .and the Universal C redit Crisis continues!
Unfortunately, it’s the claimant who pays forit all, not the Government who introduced this evil so-called reform! 😦

Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Image result for universal credit
Public interest in Universal Credit has not dampened down.
Though  Amber Rudd has does not pay much attention.
A steady drip of really bad stories continues.
This site would like to hear from people on the issues around the  Universal Credit Job Search and the Journal.
We were told, or least got the impression,  that the transfer of millions of people already on benefits to UC  was being halted.
Or rather,

Ms Rudd will delay asking MPs to approve the transfer of three million benefit claimants to UC, and instead plans to move just 10,000 onto the system this summer as part of a trial to study its effectiveness.

Independent. 11th of January.

Other important changes include pressing ahead with a pilot to support 10,000 people from ‘legacy benefits’ on to Universal Credit in a test and learn approach.

There remains this:

What is natural migration

‘Migration’ is…

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“Hunger, filth, fear and death”: remembering life before the NHS


I came across the following article, by following a link posted on Facebook. It was published in the New Statesman, on 31st October, 2014 and, after reading it, I was so very saddened to realise that, once again, through the machinations of the ‘ruling’ classes, the UK has, in 2019, found itself in such a similar situation to that of Harry Smith, as he grew up in the 1920’s, that I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at the sheer waste of time, that so many people fought, strived, and died through, in order to make life better for themselves and their families and friends 😦

Once again, almost a century after Harry’s birth, there are countless people here in the UK, living in gruelling poverty – with Child Poverty at an all-time high since the Welfare State began – and it’s all due to the greed and corruption of the same class of people who, through their constant lies and deceit, have turned our country from the safe place I grew up in, into a similar scenario to Harry Smith’s early life 😦

Read his account and, if you can’t see the similarities, then you must be part of the problem 😦

Harry Leslie Smith, a 91-year-old RAF veteran born into an impoverished mining family, recalls a Britain without a welfare state.
  By Harry Leslie Smith

Over 90 years ago, I was born in Barnsley, Yorkshire, to a working-class family. Poverty was as natural to us as great wealth and power were to the aristocracy of that age. Like his father and grandfather before him, my dad, Albert, eked out a meagre existence as a miner, working hundreds of feet below the surface, smashing the rock face with a pickaxe, searching for coal.

Hard work and poor wages didn’t turn my dad into a radical. They did, however, make him an idealist, because he believed that a fair wage, education, trade unions and universal suffrage were the means to a prosperous democracy. He endured brutal working conditions but they never hardened his spirit against his family or his comrades in the pits. Instead, the harsh grind of work made his soul as gentle as a beast of burden that toiled in desolate fields for the profit of others.

My mother, Lillian, however, was made of sterner stuff. She understood that brass, not love, made the world go round. So when a midwife with a love of gin and carbolic soap delivered me safely on a cold winter’s night in February 1923 into my mum’s exhausted arms, I was swaddled in her rough-and-ready love, which toughened my skin with a harsh affection. I was the first son but I had two elder sisters who had already skinned their knees and elbows in the mad fight to stay alive in the days before the social safety network. Later on, our family would include two half-brothers, after my mother was compelled to look for a more secure provider than my dad during the Great Depression.

By the time I was weaned from my mother’s breast, I had begun to learn the cruel lessons that the world inflicted on its poor. At the age of seven, my eldest sister, Marion, contracted tuberculosis, which was a common and deadly disease for those who lived hand to mouth in early-20th-century Britain. Her illness was directly spawned from our poverty, which forced us to live in a series of fetid slums.

Despite being a full-time worker, my dad was always one pay packet away from destitution. Several times, my family did midnight flits and moved from one decre­pit single-bedroom tenement to the next. Yet we never seemed to move far from the town’s tip, a giant wasteland stacked with rotting rubbish, which became a playground for preschool children.

At the beginning of my life, affordable health care was out of reach for much of the population. A doctor’s visit could cost the equivalent of half a week’s wages, so most people relied on good fortune rather than medical advice to see them safely through an illness. But luck and guile went only so far and many lives were snatched away before they had a chance to start. The wages of the ordinary worker were at a mere subsistence level and therefore medicine or simple rest was out of the question for many people.

Unfortunately for my sister, luck was also in short supply in our household. Because my parents could neither afford to see a consultant nor send my sister to a sanatorium, Marion’s TB spread and infected her spine, leaving her an invalid.

****

The 1926 General Strike, which began just as my sister started her slow and painful journey from life to death, was about more than wages to my dad and many others. It was called by the TUC in protest against mine owners who were using strong-arm tactics to force their workers to accept longer work hours for less take-home pay. At its start, it involved 1.7 million industrialised workers.

In essence, the strike was about the right of all people, regardless of their economic station, to live a dignified and meaningful life. My father joined it with enthusiasm, because he believed that all workers, from tram drivers to those who dug ore, deserved a living wage. But for my father the strike  was also about the belief that he might be able to right the wrongs done to him and his family; if only he had more money in his pay packet, he might have been able to afford decent health care for all of us.

Unfortunately, the General Strike was crushed by the government, which first bullied TUC members to return to their work stations. Eight months later, it did the same to the miners whose communities had been beggared by being on the pickets for so long. My dad and his workmates had to accept wage cuts.

I remember my sister’s pain and anguish during her final weeks of life in October 1926. I’d play beside her in our parlour, which was as squalid as an animal pen, while she lay on a wicker landau, tied down by ropes to prevent her from falling to the ground while unattended. When Marion’s care became too much for my mother to endure, she was sent to our neighbourhood workhouse, which had been imprisoning the indigent since the days of Charles Dickens.

The workhouse where Marion died was a large, brick building less than a mile from our living quarters. Since it had been designed as a prison for the poor, it had few windows and had a high wall surrounding it. When my sister left our house and was transported there on a cart pulled by an old horse, my mum and dad told my other sister and me to wave goodbye, because Marion was going to a better place than here.

The workhouse was not used only as a prison for those who had been ruined by poverty; it also had a primitive infirmary attached to it, where the poor could receive limited medical attention. Perhaps the only compassion the place allowed my parents was permission to visit their daughter to calm her fears of death.

My sister died behind the thick, limestone walls at the age of ten, and perhaps the only compassion the place allowed my parents was permission to visit their daughter to calm her fears of death. As we didn’t have the money to give her a proper burial, Marion was thrown into a communal grave for those too poor to matter. Since then, the pauper’s pit has been replaced by a dual carriageway.

****

Some historians have called the decade of my birth “the Roaring Twenties” but for most it was a long death rattle. Wages were low, rents were high and there was little or no job protection as a result of a postwar recession that had gutted Britain’s industrial heartland. When the Great Depression struck Britain in the 1930s, it turned our cities and towns into a charnel house for the working class, because they had no economic reserves left to withstand prolonged joblessness and the ruling class believed that benefits led to fecklessness.

Even now, when I look back to those gaslight days of my boyhood and youth, all I can recollect is hunger, filth, fear and death. My mother called those terrible years for our family, our friends and our nation a time when “hard rain ate cold Yorkshire stone for its tea”.

I will never forget seeing as a teenager the faces of former soldiers who had been broken physically and mentally during the Great War and were living rough in the back alleys of Bradford. Their faces were haunted not by the brutality of the war but by the savagery of the peace. Nor will I forget as long as I shall live the screams that fell out of dosshouse windows from the dying and mentally ill, who were denied medicine and solace because they didn’t have the money to pay for medical services.

Like today, those tragedies were perpetuated by a coalition government preaching that the only cure for our economic troubles was a harsh austerity, which promised to right Britain’s finances through the sacrifice of its lowest-paid workers. When my dad got injured, the dole he received was ten shillings a week. My family, like millions of others, were reduced to beggary. In the 1930s, the government believed that private charities were more suitable for providing alms for those who had been ruined in the Great Depression.

Austerity in the 1930s was like a pogrom against Britain’s working class. It blighted so many lives through preventable ailments caused by malnutrition, as well as thwarting ordinary people’s aspirations for a decent life by denying them housing, full- time employment or a proper education.

As Britain’s and my family’s economic situation worsened in the 1930s, we upped sticks from Barnsley to Bradford in the hope that my father might find work. But there were too many adults out of work and jobs were scarce, so he never found full-time employment again. We lived in dosshouses. They were cheap, sad places filled with people broken financially and emotionally. Since we had no food, my mum had me indentured to a seedy off-licence located near our rooming house. At the age of seven, I became a barrow boy and delivered bottles of beer to the down-and-outs who populated our neighbourhood.

My family were nomads. We flitted from one dosshouse to the next, trying to keep ahead of the rent collector. We moved around the slums of Bradford and when we had outstayed our welcome there, we moved on to Sowerby Bridge, before ending up in Halifax. As I grew up, my schooling suffered; I had to work to keep my sister, my mum and half-brothers fed. At the age of ten, I was helping to deliver coal and by my teens, I started work as a grocer’s assistant. At 17, I had been promoted to store manager. However, at the age of 18, the Second World War intervened in whatever else I had planned for the rest of my life. I volunteered to join the RAF.

****

My politics was forged in the slums of Yorkshire but it was in the summer of 1945, at the age of 22, that I finally felt able to exorcise the misery of my early days. In that long ago July, I was a member of the RAF stationed in Hamburg; a city left ruined and derelict by war. I had been a member of the air force since 1941 but my war had been good, because I had walked away from it without needing so much as a plaster for a shaving nick. At its end, my unit had been seconded to be part of the occupational forces charged with rebuilding a German society gutted by Hitler and our bombs.

It was in the palm of that ravaged city that I voted in Britain’s first general election since the war began. As I stood to cast my ballot in the heat of that summer, I joked with my mates, smoked Player’s cigarettes and stopped to look out towards a shattered German skyline. I realised then that this election was momentous because it meant that a common person, like me, had a chance of changing his future.

So it seemed only natural and right that I voted for a political party that saw health care, housing and education as basic human rights for all of its citizens and not just the well-to-do. When I marked my X on the ballot paper, I voted for all those who had died, like my sister, in the workhouse; for men like my father who had been broken beyond repair by the Great Depression; and for women like my mum who had been tortured by grief over a child lost through unjust poverty. And I voted for myself and my right to a fair and decent life.

I voted for Labour and the creation of the welfare state and the NHS, free for all its users. And now, nearly 70 years later, I fear for the future of my grandchildren’s generation, because Britain’s social welfare state is being dismantled brick by brick.

****

My life didn’t really begin until the end of the Second World War. I fell in love with Friede, a German woman, whom I married and brought home to Halifax. My wife gave me emotional stability while the welfare state gave me economic stability. When I was demobbed, I didn’t have many prospects, except using my brawn over my brain. I took factory jobs while my wife and I studied at night school. But I am forever grateful for the foundation of the NHS, because it allowed my wife to receive first-rate treatment for the PTSD she acquired by having witnessed both the atrocities of the Nazis and the firebombing of Hamburg, which killed 50,000 people in three nights of intense RAF bombing in 1943.

My experiences of growing up in Britain before the NHS, when one’s health was determined by one’s wealth, and after 1948, when free health care was seen as a cornerstone for a healthy economy and democracy, convinced me that it was my duty to share my family experiences at this year’s Labour party conference. I agreed to speak about the NHS because I know there are few people left who can remember that brutal time before the welfare state, when life for many was short and cruel. I felt that I owed it to my sister Marion, whose life was cut short by extreme poverty and poor health care, along with all of those other victims of a society that protected the rich and condemned the poor to miserable lives. In many ways, making that speech freed me from the suffering of my youth. 

* * * * * * * *

Harry Leslie Smith is the author of a memoir: “Harry’s Last Stand: How the World My Generation Built is Falling Down and What We Can Do to Save it” (Icon Books, £8.99) 

* * * * * * * *

Harry Leslie Smith is a survivor of the Great Depression, a Second World War RAF veteran and an activist for the poor and for the preservation of social democracy. He has authored numerous books about Britain during the Great Depression, the Second World War, and post-war austerity. Join Harry on Twitter @Harryslaststand.

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Filed under Austerity, Benefits, Budget Cuts, Catastrophe, Changes, Childhood, Choices, Collapse of the NHS, Degraded Public Services, Deprivation, Despair, Divide and Rule, Eugenics, Homelessness, Human Rights, Impoverishment, Injustice, Low Wages, Self-interest, skewed presentation of events, Starvation of Resources, Tory Cuts, Tory Lies, Tragedy, Underfunding, Welfare Cuts, Workhouse

Dear Amber Rudd MP . . . . .

I was asked to send a quick message to the MP, Amber Rudd, who is the Secretary of State for Works and Pensions – taking over from Esther McVey, in the job nobody seems to be any good at!
These messages are in the hopes that she might halt and fix Universal Credit but, when I went to do look at her page, and after reading all the many hundreds of messages sent to her already Amber Rudd MP 25th November, 14:42, I found it so hard to stick to a short message, that I decided to write my message to her on my Blog, here, instead:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 

Dear Ms Rudd,

 

It’s pretty clear to the majority of people in this country that the roll-out of Universal Credit has been a deliberate attempt to force people out of the Benefits system.

 

UC can’t be fixed, as it has been deliberately designed to create the very thing that is happening to everybody who has claimed it so far – if they are able to work, then it is forcing them into zero-hour contracts, which never pay enough, or give enough hours, to support a family or, in the case of the vulnerable, ill, or disabled, is forcing them off of the very Benefits they need to survive, into a world of starvation, eventual homelessness, great poverty and, far too often nowadays, suicide.

 

There are now thousands of families who face not only Christmas, but all this coming winter, with the prospect of going very hungry, very cold, and eventually losing their homes!

 

While you enjoyed your delicious fish and chips with those wonderfully privileged students at Rye College, did you think of all those who WON’T have a hot meal this Christmas, due to having no money to pay their rent and electric, or gas, bills, so that, even if they ARE able to get help from the multiple Food Banks springing up all over the country, they’ll not be able to heat up the food provided by those same food banks – places that have multiplied since your government took control, and induced Austerity on to everybody but the Rich – while giving multiple tax breaks to those very same rich individuals and businesses – and, while you were about it, also giving yourselves huge pay rises?

 

Please could you start doing the job you are paid a veritable  fortune to do, and stop Universal Credit before even MORE thousands of people end up homeless and starving?

 

If you can’t completely stop it, then could you at least pause it immediately, and do your best to fix it, so that those who aren’t able to work – like the vulnerable, or severely disabled – get to keep their old benefits until their UC claims have been finally sorted?

 

Could you also make sure that everybody who claims UC are garuanteed not to lose out when their present benefits are changed to UC, as UC is paying out a lot less than their old benefits, due to your government’s cap on Benefits, which your government keep stating was due to Austerity measures – a Cap, we all noticed, you didn’t apply to your own wages – wages paid to you out of the Public Purse?

 

Could you also make sure that those who have to pay rent to a landlord / landlady, are able to still have their Housing Benefit paid directly to that same landlord/lady, so that there is no risk of homelessness, due to insufficient funds?

 

With homelessness at an all time high at the moment, and not nearly enough homes being built to house the people needing them, then surely it is the government’s duty to make sure no more people are forced out of their homes due to the long delay in paying UC?

 

Believe me when I say that even a week is too long a delay for people who have been unable to save anything in case of financial troubles – and I’m talking not only about those already on Benefits, but those who are in work – especially those forced into zero-hours contracts, which is about the only type of work available to them nowadays!

And while I’m writing my wish list to you, could you please stop the terrible Sanctions regime being used with Universal Credit, Sanctions that threaten people into doing things your way, instead of the way in which every human being – and everybody who has to claim any kind of Benefit is a Human Being, despite all of the smear campaigns your government  put out there, to get people thinking that, if you have to claim, then you are a shirker, or a liar, or a cheat – should be treated!

 

No matter what Theresa May says on her question time, the whole World knows that UC is failing the very people that it was supposedly designed to help, so please, please, show some empathy and compassion, for once, and help those that really do need that help – and stop UC immediately, or at least pause and fix it!

 

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Filed under Amber Rudd MP, Austerity, Benefits, Budget Cuts, Choices, Conservatives, Corporate Tax Cuts, Degraded Public Services, Deprivation, Despair, DWP, DWP Policies, Homelessness, Housing Benefits, Human Rights, Impoverishment, Mental Health Issues, Public Purse, Sanctions, Smear Campaign, Social Security, Starvation, Suicide, Tory Cuts, Underfunding, Unemployed, Universal Credit, Welfare Cuts, Zero Hours Jobs