Category Archives: Economics

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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Watch The Iceland Christmas Ad Which Will Never Be Shown After Authorities Banned It . . .

This ad has been going the rounds on Facebook for days now and, every time I watch it, I cry – not only for the Oragutan bravely trying to stop the destruction of it’s home, but also for the sheer destruction being allowed  every  single  day – all for the sake of a few multi-billionnaire’s profits!

I still don’t understand why housewives keep buying products full of palm oil – the destruction of the rain forests, in order to grow this stuff, is known world-wide now, so why don’t they boycott the products, and start protesting, along with the few die-hards who have been shouting out about this for years?

I guess the answer will be, they keep buying, because it’s cheaper for their pockets – but they don’t seem to realise that it won’t only be the Orangutans – and every other species – devestated by the rainforest’s destruction, who will pay this desperate price for so-called progress – it will be their children, and their children’s children, who will end up paying the final price for their momentary saving!

I’m not surprised any more at how short-term savings drive such destruction of our environment – but I am surprised that people don’t seem to realise that this is the only home we, and so many other species being killed off for our momentary satisfation, have got, and so it’s up to us to start thinking about the future – or lack of it – of this Planet Earth.

But, in the meantime, this ad brought to our notice, ironically, by the Supermarket chain, Iceland, has been banned from airing on TV by the powers-that-be, for being ‘too political’!

Just how political are most ads we see on the TV screen every day? Quite a lot, thankyou!

But, because the ads are for something that is to the advantage of the reigning political party of whichever country it’s aired in, that’s OK, then 😦

All of my life I’ve loved Orangutans – but even more so since ‘The Librarian’ was introduced to us all, in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series (and, yes, I’m a total Pratcheteer, here!).

Terry brought to life the wonderful gentleness, the fierce loyalty, and the enduring pain, that The Librarian shows in his character and, although he is just a character, it made countlesss thouands of us all aware that we have the basis of this creature, this wonderfully amazing Primate, being torn away from his and her homeland – a homeland the Orangutan has probably lived in for as long as they have been a species – and all that pain, killing, and destruction of their habitat, has come about because of the human race’s greed and avarice, our need to buy products a couple of cents, or dimes, or pennies, cheaper!

I hope this ad gets all around the world because of the internet – and that something can be finally done, before every single habitat of the Orangutan has been bulldozed over!

Iceland’s Christmas TV advert banned for being too political: Supermarket’s Greenpeace film on palm oil’s impact on orangutan deemed rule breach

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Video: doctor speaks powerfully – “the humanity is being sucked out of our NHS” . . .

Lauren Gavaghan is a doctor, psychiatrist and well-known NHS campaigner. On Thursday evening she spoke movingly to a mass gathering of Labour NHS campaigners about the suffering and beauty she has seen in ten years of service in the NHS – and the vampiric effect of Tory government.

What she said was powerful, inspiring – and terrifying. She spoke of huge shortages, of the disrespect of the government toward patients and staff – and of the unnecessary and undignified deaths the under-resourcing of the NHS has caused. And she summed it up in one haunting phrase:

” The humanity is being sucked out of our NHS. ”

This video brings home the preciousness of the National Health Service that Labour built, the disaster imposed on it – and the awful prospect of its loss. Please watch and share:

Please click the link below, to watch the video of her speech, posted online by The Swawkbox, today:
Doctor speaks powerfully: ‘The Humanity is being sucked out of our NHS’

 

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‘Deprivation of Liberty’ deaths soar by 56% in a single year . . .

The SKWAWKBOX reported this week on the shocking tripling of deaths – from 83 in 2011 to 252 in 2016 – among people detained under the Mental Health Act, as mental health and police services have been degraded under Tory government.

old person in care.png

A further shocking phenomenon is revealed by the government’s Coroners’ Statistics: an increase of fifty-six percent in the number of deaths under ‘Deprivation of Liberty’ (DoL) authorisations.

The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) allows for organisations – hospitals, care homes and others – to apply for authorisation to deprive or restrict a person’s liberty on the grounds of their mental capacity if it is considered necessary for their safety. ‘Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards‘ (DoLS) exist to ensure – in theory – that a person is not unnecessarily deprived of any more of their liberty than is absolutely necessary for their safety. These only apply in England and Wales.

To read the rest of this story, please press this link:

Deprivation of Liberty deaths soar . . .

 

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Human Interest stories only shaft the vulnerable even more!

via Human Interest stories only shaft the vulnerable even more!

Having just read Speye Joe’s post, I have to agree with his arguments, about the way in which we all seem to be suffering a kind of Poverty Fatigue.

There are so many stories coming to light, about the appalling way people’s lives are unravelling, here in the UK – people who, through no fault of their own, are having to claim benefits in order to survive, and with no chance to thrive!

People who are more likely to actually be working, than not, and who are living such precarious lives because of the Tory inability to see that No, work doesn’t pay any more – mainly, because of the fact that all of those excessively rich tory voters are actually the ones who own the businesses that most people are working in, and who have made sure that wages stay so low, that the only way to survive for their workers, is to claim the now-infamous Universal Credit – thus making the ordinary tax payer the ones who pay towards their own wages, rather than those same Tory bosses being made to dig deep into their enormous profits, to pay their people a decent, living, wage!

But it’s this so-called Universal Credit, that is causing more grief, poverty, homelessness, and deaths, than has been seen since Victorian times – and it was a Benefit that was deliberately refined, to the point where it’s harder to claim than anything ever thought of, and with horrendous sanctions built-in, just to make sure that the poor can be punished even more, for daring to be born poor, or because they were reduced to poverty by their workplace closing, mostly due to the Tory Banker’s greed!

The fact that the tories are aggressively denying the come-back of Rickets, and other poverty-related illnesses, here in Britain, is to be expected – after all, every word that comes out of a Tory mouth is lie, upon lie, upon lie, and nothing gets done to change it – mainly because there are still far too many ordinary working class people who would rather believe the Tory Lie, fed to them every day in their Tory-owned newspapers, and on the Tory-owned TV, rather than face what our country has really become, and do something about it!

 

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Conservative MPs accuse citizens of ‘scaremongering stories’ about experiences of Universal Credit.

Once again, Kitty Jones hits the nail on the head with this post:

via Conservative MPs accuse citizens of ‘scaremongering stories’ about experiences of Universal Credit.

I really don’t understand how so very many ordinary working – and non-working – people are being hoodwinked into voting for a party that are idealogically driven, and are all for the Elitist Rich?

This is a party who are driving poverty levels in the UK into the ground – to levels not seen since Victorian times!

The constant eroding of our Human Rights is barely being spoken of.

Our Economy is rapidly sliding down the drain, along with any of the Industries that had made the UK a leader in the past, and which are, once again, desperately needed, if we’re to build our country’s economic future on a firmer footing than the tory Tax Haven ideals.

The gap between the Very Rich, and the (so-called) undeserving Poor, has never been so wide.

Yet, where are the outcries about the gradual attrition of our hard-won Democracy – fought for by our grandparents, and their parents and grandparents before them – and bought on the backs of loss and pain?

All we need now, is for the terrors of the Work House to be brought back once again – something our forebears fought long and hard to abolish in the first place – and then we’ll see the completion of our lives being deliberately regressed back in time – where the Rich Elite have every bit of power, and the poor work for a pittance – and still starve!

Considering the thousands upon thousands of unnecessary deaths, due to the Tory-led DWP’s ideological attritions, which have created an ever-increasing result of Homelessness, which then leads on to Starvation, Chronic Ill Health, Disability, and then death, to so very many citizens of the UK – and all of this taking place under a very silent Mainstream Media (unless they are screaming that their Tory paymasters are being lied about, of course)!

These are things that were first introduced by the Tory-Lite Blairites, thus heralding the decomposition of an effective Opposition Party, and making it even harder for this new Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party, to fight against this pernicious, and machiavellian,  disease of tory greed and corruption!

The fact that, since the tories took power, and insisted on introducing their ‘made to fail’ Universal Credit,  it shows that we really have already reached the pits of despondency and despair!

So much for ‘scaremongering’ 😦

 

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Plastics – to Use, or Not to Use . . .

I’ve just been reading a post in a Blog called Chris and Shana’s Waffle Experience
and had to agree with Chris’ reaction to the thought of having to do without all the things we use in everyday life, made from plastic.

I have to admit, when I learned, fairly recently, the news that even the smallest of sea life is being affected by our use of plastic, I began to feel really guilty at my using acrylic yarn in my crocheting – plus all the multitude of things used around the house, that Chris had already mentioned.

But, after sitting and thinking about it, I realised that, even if I could afford to get rid of as much plastic in my home as possible, it would make my life even harder than it already is 😦

We have very little money, so can’t afford to replace things with natural replacements – such as replacing our plastic double-glazed windows with a wood equivalent, or buying wool carpets, instead of man-made material ones – and I definitely couldn’t do without my double glazing!

It doesn’t help that I read blogs by people who are actually making all these changes a little at a time but, when I mentioned it all to my hubby, he made me realise that, if we just make a few small changes in our home ourselves, at least it would be a start, and I wouldn’t be so overwhelmed with guilt 🙂

I’m busy making a ton of xmas pressies at the moment, thus reducing my yarn stash by at least a half so, when I get to order more yarn to replace what I’ve used, sometime in the New Year, I’ve decided to pay that bit extra, and try to use as many natural products as I can, instead of just using acrylic.

I’ve found I really enjoy using cotton yarn, and I even had some silk yarn last year, that I used to make my daughter something with, but it was very expensive, for a small amount, so I’ll be looking at bamboos and other, natural, mixes when I shop next.

If it weren’t for the fact that I’m allergic to so many types of wool, I would have started the ball rolling long ago, but I’ve been told that there are some amazing natural yarns out there now, so I’m going to enjoy myself trying as many of them out as I can.

But, as far as the plastics in our home are concerned, at least we’ve stopped using plastic carrier bags when shopping now, so that’s one thing we don’t have cluttering up the place, and we re-use as much plastic packaging – that we get when receiving things through the post – as we can, too!

All those baby steps may not seem much, but if we all do it, it’s bound to make a difference – especially if the scheme, here in the UK, to put a deposit on plastic bottles goes through – then I’m sure it’ll be a good start in helping to clean up our seas, and protect our wildlife, around the world! 🙂

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