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The government’s benefit reforms are a ‘car crash’

cpuusage

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Morning Star :: The government

In this third and final exclusive interview with Ruth Hunt, welfare rights specialist NICK DILWORTH assesses the impact of the Autumn Statement and already implemented measures and offers an alternative moving forward.
“AS IS all too often the case, the Tories managed to forge ahead with a further annihilation of the welfare state with the devastating impact being somewhat overshadowed by external events,” Dilworth explains.

“The spending review of 2015 will no doubt have assured a good proportion of the electorate that Britain is to become a safer place with Cameron’s tough talk on war and a commitment towards more money for front-line police services.

“The fact that vital services should never have been taken away in the first place has seemingly become an irrelevance.

“Equally, workers may have been lulled into a false sense of security after Osborne’s climb down on tax credit cuts.

“From a welfare rights and worker’s perspective my greater focus remains firmly fixed on the hidden war being waged on the poor and vulnerable with a cruel vengeance by the Tory party. I fear that the state’s role in offering those in genuine need a decent level of social protection is being scaled back to unprecedented levels, so much so that future governments will be saddled with the huge burden of having to restore proper levels of help for future generations.

“The Tories remain hell bent on demolishing even the most basic social security as they recklessly carry on hacking away at the safety net which exists to catch people when they fall. The inevitable consequence of denying protection is people are going to get hurt in much greater numbers than we have seen so far.

“What most people don’t realise is that we’re probably no more than a third of the way through the Tories’ ruthless attack on those in need, with the worst yet to come. People only tend to think of these reforms in the measured chunks carefully metered out by the media.

“In truth though, you have to take the cumulative impact of the Welfare Reform Act 2012, the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, a whole stack of secretly passed statutory instruments and the Autumn Statement together before you begin to appreciate the savageness with which the Tories are cutting social security.”

Dilworth insists: “We shouldn’t kid ourselves that the Tories are way out in front when it comes to getting the public on side by implementing policy on the back of their wholly misleading use of propaganda.

“However, when you home in on the results, Mr Duncan Smith’s jubilant claims of success bear no substance. Instead, the cold facts paint a picture of outright failure. It’s absurd to look upon universal credit as a solution with only a mere fraction of claimants having been through the claims process. Instead, we need to see it working on a much bigger scale before we can even begin to analyse whether it has any of the positive attributes promised by Mr Duncan Smith. His roll-out of the incapacity reforms has been nothing short of cruelly chaotic. Over five million sick people spun around in a cycle of endless assessments, appeals, reclaims and fudged statistics with less than 1 per cent of those trapped in the cycle ending up in work via his (now scrapped) multibillion-pound Work Programme being the appalling evidence of that failure.

“Government claims of getting vast numbers of sick people into work simply do not tally with a claimant count stuck steadfast on 2.5 million. Nor will Osborne’s incessant muttering over fixing the roof while the sun shines come as any comfort to those who simply do not live in a home they can call their own.

“Around 600,000 people are destined to lose out as the Tories effectively raise the bar on how profoundly disabled you need to be in order to qualify for Personal Independence Payment help. The government is denying disabled people a life of independence by cutting them adrift from the benefit which should be helping rather than hindering them.

“In reality, the Jobseeker’s Allowance claimant count is merely back to where it was just before the recession. I have no doubt that thousands of claimants have abandoned their claims for fear of the harsh regime which has become systemic in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).”

Poignantly, Dilworth says: “I see people reduced to nervous wrecks at the mere sight of endless manila envelopes sent out with no thought given to how people, especially those with serious mental health issues, will react. It’s the system which is driving people to the edge and in some cases sadly to their premature demise — a point I made in my previous interview.

“The government has created a car crash with these ill-conceived reforms. It’s beyond farcical that Mr Duncan Smith continues to collect applause from those who can’t see the wood for the trees. Instead, what we should be doing is holding a post mortem in to the tragic stories ignored to date, along with appointing a new Secretary of State, as a matter of urgency.

“The government must stop pandering to the populist view and come to a cold realisation that there’s a fundamental need to look at whether we really can afford to pay large numbers of wealthy pensioners large sums of State Retirement Pension, which is often enhanced by non-means-tested benefits, paid on top of generous occupational pensions. Furthermore, in many cases this is paid to those with considerable savings.

“When we are talking of ‘safety nets’ we must wake up to those who are most in need rather than who has paid more in to the system. It’s harsh I know, but ultimately it’s the only way we will ever significantly reduce expenditure.”

Dilworth concludes: “As government all too often reminds us it’s down to making ‘tough decisions.’ We either take a long hard look at the rising expenditure on pension-related benefits or we accept the need to meet the cost and find better ways of funding it. Raiding the deep pockets of government’s corporate friends and those who cleverly evade paying their taxes would be an excellent starting point.”


Nick Dilworth is a welfare rights specialist, consultant and campaigner. Home | ilegal.
Ruth F Hunt is the author of The Single Feather (Pilrig Press).
 

cpuusage

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Labour accuses David Cameron of causing homelessness crisis with ''disgraceful'' welfare cuts -

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/labour-accuses-david-cameron-causing-7054561

Soaring levels of homelessness since David Cameron took the keys to No 10 have left thousands more children facing Christmas in hostels and rough sleepers out on the streets, Labour has warned.

The number of households classed as homeless has risen by more than a third in England since 2010 - and is on course to have nearly doubled by the next general election, according to analysis by the party.

Labour accused the Prime Minister of presiding over a "crisis" in homelessness despite his claims in opposition that it was a "disgrace" that people were forced to sleep on the streets.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said there had been "five years of failure on homelessness under this Government".

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Topcat

Former member
Iain Dunked In Shit apparently said that when universal credit takes over from tax credits families will be around £1600 a year worse off. But they will be able to make it up by working an extra 200 and something hours.
I worked one extra last week, didn't get paid for it though, so not a great start.....
 
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Topcat

Former member
I was trying to work out how much I would need to earn to be free of any benefits. If I were renting my house, and paying gas, electric and water the same, and £600 a month for food - just those things, no clothes, phone, internet, car etc etc - I would need to earn £21600 a year.
When husband was full time and I was part time, I think we earned after tax, about £20000.
 

cpuusage

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It's official

The sickening theory of laissez-faire capitalism finally died with the recent report from one of the West’s leading think tanks. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has found that income inequality actually hampers economic growth in some of the world’s wealthiest countries, while the redistribution of wealth via taxes and benefits doesn't.

In a nutshell: the reality of what creates and reverses growth is the exact opposite of what the current right-wing, neo-liberal agenda has been espousing ever since its rise to power under Thatcher and Reagan in the eighties. Perhaps worst of all, the report showed evidence that the UK would have been 20 per cent better off if the gap between the rich and poor hadn’t widened since the eighties.

To those of us who have only just survived the credit crunch and recession, this evidence will be welcome, but hardly surprising. The surprising thing is how it took this long. To extend a metaphor, why didn’t we realise the patient had already died more than half a decade ago?

Osborne's Benefit Cuts Will Increase Income Inequality, Says Economist | Welfare Weekly

Planned cuts to social security benefits will ‘inevitably’ increase income inequality in the UK, a respected economist has warned.

In a blog for the Resolution Foundation think tank, Chief Economist Matthew Whittaker warns that with £12 billion in welfare cuts due in the coming years, an “increase in inequality appears inevitable”.

Mr Whittaker writes that with the introduction of a so-called National Living Wage, announced by George Osborne in the Autumn Spending Review, some of the lowest paid workers should see a “boost” in wages from April next year.

However, he adds that “because of the way such jobs are shared across households, this does not have a direct feed through to income growth”.

Mr Whittaker urged the Government “to focus not just on the strength of the economic recovery, but on the distribution of its gains too.”

“With £12 billion of benefit cuts due in the coming years – all of which will fall on working-age households – some increase in inequality appears inevitable”, he says.

He also highlighted how low-income households have experienced “difficulty paying for their accommodation in the past 12 months”, affecting around one-in-four families in the bottom income bracket (quintile).

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Kerome

Kerome

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Osborne and IDS seem to be getting worse before they get better... It's pretty cynical, but I think they thought a £12 bn cut in benefits would be easier to sell to the masses than a £12 bn raise in income taxes for the well-off.
 
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english rose

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Osborne and IDS seem to be getting worse before they get better... It's pretty cynical, but I think they thought a £12 bn cut in benefits would be easier to sell to the masses than a £12 bn raise in income taxes for the well-off.

I believe in scrapping foreign aid and in not renewing Trident.
 

cpuusage

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London is living a modern day Christmas Carol | Voices | The Independent

If Charles Dickens were alive today, he’d be living on a council estate with his seven siblings, a single mum and a daily struggle to make ends meet. His dad in prison for unresolved debt, he’d have left school early to support the family by working part-time at a high street shop, earning the minimum wage. And in between cigarette breaks, he’d find the time to write about issues that mattered to him including children's rights, poverty and other social issues.

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