The benefit cap will come into force in April 2013.
According to the DWP:
This will mean that workless households should no longer receive more in benefits than the average earnings of working households.
This will apply to the combined income from the main out-of-work benefits, plus Housing Benefit, Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit.
The cap will be: • £500 p/wk for couples and lone parents • £350 p/wk for single adults
The ideology is designed to make people believe that unemployed people are claiming £25,000+. It is about pitting the working class against each other and as a distraction tactic, it is highly successful. Coupled with the right-wing media reporting stories about unemployed people living it up on state benefits, this will enter the collective psyche so opposed to blaming the mismanagement of capitalism it’s about life style choices of the unemployed. It’s the welfare state that is providing these “shirkers”, “scroungers” a living while “strivers” pay their taxes to give this so-called life of luxury to the unemployed. And this scapegoating and fully fledged witch hunt is paying dividends to the ConDems. Unfortunately, the Labour Party has a tactic to say as little and do as little as possible and hope the ConDems mess up royally. So much for a credible opposition.
The benefit cap will be rolled out in 4 London boroughs; Bromley, Enfield, Haringey and Croydon. This will be a phased roll-out with the remaining local authorities implementing the cap by the end September 2013. Reason why these four boroughs were chosen was because the benefits go through the Stratford DWP benefits office.
But all is not happy with these 4 chosen boroughs arguing they will be disadvantaged by the cap.
Ahmet Oykener, cabinet member for housing at Enfield Council, said: ‘Our homeless families will be competing in a highly competitive private rental market with residents from other London boroughs and elsewhere who will be able to pay higher rents.’
Mr Oykener warned addressing this could cost ‘millions of pounds’ and said the borough will lobby the government to ask the DWP for extra funding.
Croydon Council is also concerned and is considering taking legal advice about whether the decision can be challenged. Jon Rouse, chief executive of Croydon Council, this week confirmed the four boroughs are talking about how to ‘relay our concerns back to the government’.
Bromley and Haringey councils confirmed they are looking at the impact of implementing the cap.
The grim reality of these attacks is that it is estimated that 54 per cent of families who will be hit by the overall benefit cap live within London. Plus the impact of overall benefit cuts; around 55 per cent of cuts to financial support have not yet hit families. This is one oppressive double-double whammy… too many bedrooms, receiving too much in benefits, problems in appealing, you are expected to contribute to your Council Tax (some councils are expecting you to pay 25%), benefits have only been uprated by 1%… at the same time food prices are increasing along with energy increases are running higher than 1%. It will possibly be easier to experience benefit sanctions now. It has been shown that people are being sanctioned for not applying/accepting jobs they are not qualified to do. And sanctions are far more severe.
We are witnessing a wholesale attack on people on benefits. People at the moment just exist on benefits not live. With these attacks they will find their paltry amount of money will not stretch. Basic necessities will be too expensive. People are already skipping meals, reducing food budgets, going without food so that their kids can and so on. People will find themselves in a quandary; buy basic food, taking money from their food budget to pay for the bedroom tax, finding the money to pay for the extra Council Tax, ending up in arrears, facing court, bailiffs, homeless families. Where will it stop? It won’t as the ConDems haven’t finsiged their class war… not by a long way…
ConDems state they will save money doing this but will they? Housing benefit cuts will cause massive public expenditure. People being chased for relatively small amounts of money. The administration will possibly outweigh the savings. The multiplier effect on local economies will be quite strong. Some worse than others.
In April, the social fund is will be devolved to local government. The pressure on local government will be immense. Already, in London, 4 in 10 children live in poverty this will inevitably rise with the attacks. Demand for crisis loans has risen significantly since 2006. There has been a 109% in the use of food banks.
More London grim statistics:
In 2011/12, the total loss to families from welfare cuts was £3.360 billion. This year it will be well over double that, at £8.985 billion. However, this still is not even half the full amount of cuts that families will be experiencing by 2014/15. During the current year, families will still be waiting for 55 per cent of the full cuts to hit them.
133,000 unemployed households in London, 20 per cent of the total, will be unable to afford their current rent as a result of either the household or LHA cap.
Almost two-thirds of these households will face a shortfall equivalent to more than 10 per cent of their living cost benefits. Over a third face a shortfall above 20 per cent and one in six of over 30 per cent.
Currently, 30 per cent of community care grant expenditure, and just under 20 per cent of that on crisis loans, goes to people with a disability. Changes to disability benefits might also therefore be expected to increase demand.
Around 700,000 people are expected to lose out by 2015/16 from the abolition of contributory employment and support allowance for those in the work-related activity group after one year, with the DWP estimating net losses at £36 of week.
As I live in Bristol I have been researching information about poverty, unemployment and deprivation. The provision of the social fund by local government won’t be ring-fenced. In Bristol, for example, the £1.7million allocated will be a financial drop in the ocean. Just look at the statistics below:
The number of Bristol residents claiming JSA increased by 1.1% between June and July 2012, from 12,408 to 12,539.
Bristol as a whole 69,500 – 16% of the population – suffers from income deprivation ranging from 51% of people living in ‘Ilminster Avenue West’ to 1% of people living in ‘Clifton Down’.
20,700 (28%) of children live in income deprived households;
16,000 (22%) of older people live in income deprived households;
With the attacks on benefits there will be impact on areas like Knowle West and Lawrence Weston regards to the bedroom tax due to there being social housing. It has also shown that food banks in Bristol have been used a lot more. So no doubt there will be applications for the Bristol Local Crisis and Prevention Fund therefore £1.7m is woefully WOEFULLY inadequate (coupled with the fund being privatised which will, possibly, add extra costs).
These attacks on benefits amount to a savage ongoing class war against the poor. People need to organise and fight back!