Category Archives: Government Spending

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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If Jeremy Corbyn makes a speech on anti-Semitism, perhaps this is what he should say . . .

Corbyn’s Labour has been attacked by the anti-Semitism trolls over the last few days.

This Writer is looking forward to his speech – expecially if it takes the angle chosen by a Labour Party spokesman when pro-Tory-pressure-group-pretending-to-be-a-charity the Campaign Against Antisemitism tried to complain about Mr Corbyn (again).

He said [boldings mine]: “Labour is committed to rooting out antisemitism from our party and society. False and partisan attacks like this undermine the fight against antisemitism.

The Milk the Cow Podcast has made a few suggestions which are far too strong to publish unedited here. Those of you of strong character can see the original by following this link.

For the rest of you, I’ll paraphrase . . . . . . .

Please click the following link to read the complete post by Vox Political’s Mike Sivier:

If Jeremy Corbyn makes a speech on anti-semitism perhaps this is what he should say:


Comment:

The continuous attacks on Jeremy Corbyn, which started even before he won the leadership of the Labour Party, has been constant, brutal, and totally and utterly uncalled for, especially by those right-leaning MP’s in his own party who, through pique, greed, or sheer bloody-mindedness, have decided to do the job that the Tories and the Media have tried to do since he came into office – which is to try and get rid of him.

The Reason?

Because Jeremy Corbyn has got the fire, the will, and the decency that so many Tory, and right-leaning Labour, MP’s haven’t got!

Jeremy has consistently fought against any kind of oppression, no matter where it was, or who was doing it, and he has done this throughout his political life – and that’s why so many hundreds of thousands of us voted him in as the leader of the Labour Party because, for the first time in far too many years, we see a man who can lead this country away from the disasters that the Tories have brought on us, through their greed, dishonesty, and their belief that, because they are rich, then they should be able to do as they please, strip our public services, our land, and our future – and we should bow down our heads, and allow these selfish, amoral, people to do with us, and our country, what they wish to – because, don’t forget, people, there are a damn sight more of us than there are of them, and so it is our country!

We’ve all seen where their leadership has led us, despite the Media blackout of real news!

The deaths of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people who have had the small amount of money they have to live on be taken away, because ‘they are just not trying hard enough’ to get a job – and this, in a country where the elite have managed to kill almost all  of our industries through their greed for ever more profits!

The destruction of OUR NHS – and, yes, it IS ours! Bought and paid for with our grandparents, parents, and our, hard-earned taxes. All of this has been brought about through the deliberate financial starvation of the NHS, by the elite, because they are planning to almost give it away to their Billionaire pals, who own the private medical businesses around the world that most of the tories probably own shares in, and so plan to earn yet another fortune, off the backs of the poor, once more!

Our NHS will be privatised, and stolen away from us, and the dream that our forefathers had, to make sure that none of their children and grandchildren would die through a lack of free medical care – which is something our grandparents saw all too brutally, in the days when we had no National Health Service, and where, if you didn’t have the money, you didn’t get the care!

And then we have the disaster called Brexit!

When all those MP’s went out with their campaign buses, with the lie that the money saved from going for Brexit will be used to fund the NHS, so many people fell for it, that nobody actually questioned the figures being spouted by these cleverly deceitful liers – and so the country voted for Brexit – and spat in the eye of the hundreds of thousands of European people who live and work here in Britain – mainly in our much-loved NHS – people who are our friends, our neighbours, our loved ones, our family! And so we told them that they weren’t wanted any more – we’d used them, and spat them out again, like so much discarded gum!

And so we truly have got the government we deserve – one that will keep squeezing people until they can’t bear it any more, one that will keep killing the poor, the old, the vulnerable, until we go back where we are considered as serfs, just like in the past, where the super rich owned everything – because they stole it from us all in the first place – and where they will dictate to us when we can eat, sleep, breath and, most importantly for them, work all the hours of the day and night, all for their bid for even more wealth – and we’ll watch the future of our earth be laid to waste – all in the bid for more obscene profit! 😦

But I don’t believe we deserve a government like that!

I believe we deserve a government who look after it’s poor, it’s ill, it’s weak, it’s elderly, it’s vulnerable – and who look after the people who work hard for little wages, but want to build a better society for their children, and their children’s children – just like our grandparents did for us!

And the only way we’re going to get a government like that, is to stop believing the lies thrown at us every day by this tory government – and the media they control – and listen to Jeremy Corbyn and his cabinet-in-waiting, and then vote Labour in the next election!

Because the Tories are only looking after themselves – they always have, and they always will do! 😦

So, the next time you have a chance to listen to Jeremy Corbyn, and the people in his Cabinet, listen closely to what they are saying – and not what the Media twist it into – then think about what you want this country – and even this world – to be like for your children, and theirs, and let’s get rid of the poison that has slowly been killing our people, our country, and the Democracy our forefathers fought so hard for in the first place!

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The Royal Show . . . . . . .

A friend called around to my home to see me this afternoon, and the first thing she asked me, was if I’d watched the royal wedding.

I had to think for a minute, before I realised what she was talking about, and then I had to tell her an honest ‘No’.

We started talking about other things, and time went on, then she left. I then came online to check for messages from my daughter, and the first thing I saw on Facebook, was all the people talking about how they had cried when they saw the bride, and how wonderful it all was – and I felt a little sick.

Yesterday, I saw online about how the police went all around Windsor, taking away all the possessions of the homeless there, and trying to get them to move on to pastures new – after all, it wouldn’t do for a royal to actually see some of their subjects down and out, and living on the streets outside their castle, would it? 😦

I felt like asking every one of them the following questions:

‘Why did you have tears in your eyes? Is there something terrible happening that I haven’t noticed – other than what’s happening to practically everyone who isn’t rich, of course!

Or are you watching the multi-million pound freak show that’s been put on to keep the masses happy? The show that’s costing every tax payer in the UK multi-millions of pounds?
Are you crying for all the money that has been spent on today, that could have been spend housing the homeless – probably those same homeless people, in and around Windsor, whose possessions were taken from them, and bagged up, to be collected after the weekend?
Did you cry for the money spent on this extravaganza, that could have been used to help put food in the bellies of all the thousands of children in the UK, who are going hungry today – and every day – because their parents are being punished for daring to be unemployed, or ill, or disabled, or even in work, but on terribly low wages?
Did you cry for the money taken from the unemployed, who are being ruthlessly sanctioned – normally for the most stupid of reasons – just to save money for the treasury, so they can give even more tax breaks to the super-rich – or pay the royal family their yearly ‘allowance’ which, when added up, could probably keep many thousands of families from starving, or being made homeless, every year?

Is that why you had tears in your eyes?’

I read online that the cost of the wedding could be anything up to £32,000,000 – and that around 94% of that will be for the cost of all the security which was involved, in order to keep everyone safe from snipers, bombs etc – but this will be picked up by the British Tax Payer, with only the core costs, such as the church, flowers, brides outfit etc., being covered by the royal family themselves.

Now, I like a nice wedding as much as anyone, but in these times of enforced austerity, where we are all being made to tighten our belts, or have been made homeless, and often jobless, because of the zero-hour contract employment terms, being forced on us by greedy bosses, who care more for profit than they do about the people working for them, then how can anyone justify the huge show put on – mainly for the foreign market – but also as a way of keeping people’s attention away from what’s being done to us every day, here in the UK!

So, as people watch the bride and groom – and good luck to them as they start a new life together [a life rather more blessed than their UK subjects are having to deal with every day, unfortunately], crying with joy at all the razzamatazz put on to blind them to reality, they aren’t thinking about the total mess that the government have made of practically everything they’ve put their hands on, in the almost 8 years they’ve been in charge of the country 😦

Those watching the wedding won’t be thinking about just how badly the Brexit negotiations are right now, or how people are dying in their thousands as the DWP make life such a living hell for so many people, that they choose to take their own lives rather than keep suffering this institutional abuse!

Rather than continue to live in this austerity-led hell on earth, there are so very many people choosing to opt out, that it’s becoming a serious problem – which the media choose to keep quiet about, rather than doing the jobs they are being paid for, and investigating it all, and letting people know just how badly the tories are doing in their stewardship of the UK!

While they watch this royal show, they aren’t thinking of how the government are  deliberately starving the NHS into submission, either, just so they can sell it all off, for knock-down prices, to their business buddies in the private sector!

They’ll definitely be thinking about it the next time they need to call the emergency services, to save the life of a loved one, though! That’s when all the private firms, who are already taking over vital services, start charging people at the point of contact – an unspoken blackmail attempt, which will have people choosing to go deeply into debt, to save the lives of their loved ones 😦

Even with the money being made by the usual merchandising of an event like this, it’s still a huge amount of public money, being spent on something that the royals should have paid for themselves – after all, they are millionnaires, and get a hefty chunk of money every single year from the public purse as wages – so why not do what every other family does at a wedding, here in the UK, and cut their coat to fit their cloth?

These are just a few of the reasons why I chose not to watch the show put on to gull the people of the UK 😦 

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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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Figures show: No other govt has invested less additional cash in NHS than this . . .

The government’s fall-back when challenged over its failure on the NHS, as worse winter crisis follows winter crisis, is to fall back on its claim that it has ‘put more money into the NHS’ and is spending ‘record amounts’.

Given that any increase represents a new record, the claim is meaningless – the Tories have increased health budgets by far less than the last Labour government and at a completely inadequate level for the needs of the service, as the ongoing A&E crisis and even a recent BBC report demonstrate.

The public is beginning to get wise to the dodge, as the recent reception faced a Tory Minister on a BBC Question Time programme in a Tory heartland demonstrated.

But a far greater increase in awareness is needed – and as a picture paints a thousand words, this may be helpful:

nhs spend.png

 

Please click the following link to read the rest of the article, posted by The Swawkbox today:

Figures show: No other Government have invested less additional Cash in the NHS than This one!

 

 

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The UK government was just found to have violated disabled people’s ‘basic’ human rights. Again . . .

 On Wednesday 24 January an international body reported that the UK government had breached the legal human rights of sick and disabled people. This is now the fifth such report to state this in just 20 months.

The ECSR

A report [pdf “ECSR conclusions for 2017 – UK”] from the European Committee of Social Rights (part of the Council of Europe) details whether the UK government was meeting its legal obligations under the European Social Charter The UK signed up to the Charter in July 1996 [pdf, p3]. It covers fundamentalhuman rights, including those related to employment, housing, health, education, social protection and welfare.

The report covered [pdf, p3] the years 2012 to 2015. And overall, it found the UK government was breaching its legal obligations in two areas.

Failing on welfare

The first breach was of Article 12, the right to social security. The committee found [pdf, p19-22] that many welfare benefits – including Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) – were “manifestly inadequate”. That is, people were not getting enough money to live on and were being left in poverty.

The committee made a point [pdf, p19] of noting that in response to a previous report where it had raised this issue, the UK government:

contests this finding… arguing that the benefit rates are considered in isolation, without taking into account the safety net of other benefits and credits available.

But the committee once again disagreed. It said [pdf, p20] that all the benefits mentioned left people below the poverty line, even with “other benefits and credits”. Therefore, this is an automatic breach of the Charter [pdf, p20].

 

 

Please click on the link below to read the complete article, posted by The Canary:

The UK government was just found to have violated disabled people’s ‘basic’ human rights. Again. ( by Steve Topple)

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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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