Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Attacks on Welfare Lead to Poverty. Bring Back Council Tax Rebates Now!

with 14 comments

How the Tories chose to hit the poor

Tom Clark. Guardian 2nd of July.

….frightening signs of hardship emerge, tied closely to the early benefit cuts. In line with the first restrictions on incapacity payments, there’s a sharp rise in poverty for disabled people. As the first housing benefit restrictions bit, on the breadline that adjusts for rising rent, 600,000 people sank into absolute poverty. Among children, so-called material deprivation – that is, families who can’t afford things such as birthday parties and warm winter coats – also edges up, as does the coalition’s new measure of “severe poverty”. And overall, the incomes of the poorest fifth are already faring worst.

But the true statistical picture of foodbank Britain will have to wait. For it was not until April 2013, at the very same time the 50p tax rate was chopped for the richest, that the poor were landed with a new household benefit cap which could leave children in London being raised on 62p a day. Poor families nationwide were then also faced with the reinvention of something very like the poll tax, as the national council tax rebate scheme was axed, and a three-year programme of holding benefits below inflation began. Clegg was just as craven in accepting this as he had been brave over indexing for living costs the year before.

Joyce says: “Just as benefits that outpaced wages led to reduced inequality immediately after the slump, government plans to reduce welfare spending in the next few years – while workers’ pay stabilises – are likely to push inequality back up.” The links between the coalition’s direct decisions and prospects for poverty are clear. There is no rise at all in hardship among pensioners, which fits with a whole series of special exemptions from the cuts. But a separate official survey revealed how overall taxation was rising for the poorest, even as it fell for others.

Council Tax Reduction replaced Council Tax Benefit in April 2013.

Each council runs its own scheme.

Having to pay a percentage of Council Tax – at rates which vary across the country – means, in reality, a massive cut in benefits.

More exactly, “Everyone of working age has to pay a minimum contribution of 8.5% of their Council Tax liability unless they are in a protected group. (War pensioners, war widow(er)s and people who receive Armed Forces compensation scheme payments will not have to pay the minimum contribution).”

That cash is not replaced by a rise in JSA and other benefits.

By October  2013 this was the picture,

Low-income families will see their council tax bills rise by up to £600 a year from April.

As a result of council tax benefit reform, No Clear Benefit shows that three-quarters of local authorities are set to demand increased payments from the 3.2 million poorest working-age households who currently pay either no council tax or a reduced charge. Families are facing a hike of more than 330 per cent in the most severe cases.

It comes as the government hands responsibility for council tax support to England’s 326 local authorities, along with a 10 per cent cut in funding for it. The government has insisted that pensioners are fully protected from any rise under the new localised system, known as council tax support, meaning that working-age households will bear the full brunt of the changes.

This was the result by October in the Capital.

Hundreds of London’s poorest and lowest-paid inhabitants attended a mass court hearing in south London on Friday, hoping to challenge non-payment of council tax orders issued by Southwark council, which had summonsed 5,800 people to attend

In  Essex those on benefits ended up having to pay 20% of Council Tax in 2013.

The result?

CHANGES to council tax rules have led to bailiffs being sent to 205 Colchester homes.

New benefits rules in April last year meant the majority of working age claimants now have to pay at least 20 per cent of their council tax.

The changes affected about 8,000 households in the borough which were asked to pay, on average, £169.

A Freedom of Information request has revealed 3,225 people found themselves in arrears at some point.

Of those affected, 40 per cent were receiving disability-related benefits and a further 40 per cent were single parents. Just 495 were employed.

The council subsequently sent out 1,500 summonses, followed by 1,235 liability orders, which it can do if the full amount is not paid within 14 days.

Of these cases, despite offers of help and a series of reminders, bailiffs were passed details of 205 residents who still owed cash.

Essex County Standard January 2014.

Ipswich Unemployed Action reported in April 2014,

Here’s the bad news – if you’re one of the 2.34 million low-income families who used to get council tax benefit, you will be paying on average £149 more in council tax this year than just over a year ago.

In some parts of the country, families once considered too poor to pay council tax face a bill of nearly £300 this year, according to a report by the New Policy Institute for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Last April the government scrapped council tax benefit which helped people on low incomes – either those working for low wages or because they were on benefit.

It was replaced by council tax support and devolved down to local authorities to administer – crucially, though, with a significantly reduced budget.

Initially some councils did try not to impact some of the poorest families. A year on, the figures show more councils than ever have started to insist all working-age adults – pensioners are exempt – must pay something, regardless of their income.

 

Clark comments that “last week Duncan Smith published an anti-poverty “strategy” claiming that his welfare reforms would transform “the lives of the most vulnerable”. ”

Indeed it has.

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14 Responses

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  1. CEASE AND DESIST

    Meanwhile, there is censorship on Google:

    http://mikesivier.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/google-searches-for-leon-brittan-and-pie-censored-after-cease-and-desist-notice/

    Check out the “Chilling Effects” website – interesting site!

    Tobanem

    July 3, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    • Oh no, no, no Tobanem

      Google isn’t the only search engine, theirs a ton and a half of archive servers and lets not forget my friend THE DEEP WEB.

      I would say a cease and desist sounds like an admission to guilt,wouldnt you?

      Mr pedo brittain can run all he likes, go to as many courts as he wants for WHAT HAPPENS ON THE NET STAYS ON THE NET.

      gaia

      July 4, 2014 at 12:51 pm

  2. The High Court has ruled emergency laws underpinning a government back-to-work scheme are “incompatible” with the European Convention on Human Rights.

    The ruling stems from a case brought by Cait Reilly in 2012, who said being forced to work for free at a Poundland store breached her human rights.

    The government brought in new rules in 2013 allowing unpaid work schemes to continue pending further legal appeals.

    Ministers said they were “disappointed” by the ruling and would appeal.

    But lawyers for Miss Reilly claimed the government owed about £130m to people who had fallen fall of the retrospective legislation and ministers should admit they made a mistake.

    The 24-year old graduate, challenged the legality of an unpaid work placement she undertook in 2011, part of the government’s “mandatory work activity” programme.

    She said that she was told that if she did not agree to take part in the scheme, which she said involved stacking shelves, she would lose her Jobseeker’s Allowance.

    ‘Minority of cases’

    The government was forced to pass emergency legislation amending the scheme last year after Court of Appeal ruled that the regulations underpinning it did not comply with existing laws giving the Department for Work and Pensions the power to introduce the programme.

    The legislation was designed to reinforce the rules to make it clear that claimants must do all they can to find work in order to claim benefits and to ensure the government did not have to repay money to claimants who had not complied with the conditions of their benefit claim.

    But Mrs Justice Lang, sitting at the High Court in London, ruled on Friday that the retrospective legislation interfered with the “right to a fair trial” under Article Six of the Convention on Human Rights.

    The Department for Work and Pensions said it was “disappointed” by the ruling – which it said applied to a minority of claimants – and would launch an appeal.

    “We disagree with the judgment on the legislation and are disappointed,” a spokeswoman said.

    “It was discussed, voted on and passed by Parliament. While this applies to only a minority of past cases and does not affect the day to day business of our Jobcentres, we think this is an important point and will appeal.”

    She said the legislation remained “in force” and the government would not be compensating anyone who had been docked benefits pending the outcome of its appeal.

    ‘Admit error’

    But Paul Heron, a solicitor for Public Interest Lawyers, said it was a “massively significant” ruling and the DWP’s decision to appeal against it would be a further blow to the “upwards of 3,000 cases sitting in the tribunal system waiting for this judgement”.

    He claimed people were owed anything from four weeks benefit, about £250, to several thousand pounds and were having to mostly represent themselves at tribunals.

    He told BBC News it was “about time the DWP just held their hands up, admit they made an error, and pay people the money they were entitled to at the time. That is what a responsible government would do.”

    The back-to-work schemes have been condemned by critics as “slave labour” because they involve work without pay but are seen by supporters as a good way of getting the unemployed back into the world of work.

    The Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeal’s ruling on the regulations last year although the judges also rejected claims that the schemes were “exploitative” and amounted to “forced labour”.

    Ministers said that the most recent legal judgement had upheld this view.

    “We’re pleased the Court recognised that if claimants do not play by the rules and meet their conditions to do all they can to look for work and get a job, we can stop their benefits,” the spokeswoman added.

    Poundland, one of several employers which took part in the scheme, withdrew from it in 2012.

    High Court challenges UK work schemes

    BBC

    July 4, 2014 at 11:38 am

    • No surprizes their then?

      gaia

      July 4, 2014 at 12:57 pm

      • I will post on this – it’s extremely important for the future of the Help to Work scheme!

        The arguments of the Public Interest lawyers are crucial for the future.

        Andrew Coates

        July 4, 2014 at 2:59 pm

  3. i got a sanction doubt for attending my mwa placement and was sent home as it was not suitable for me and i still get a sanction doubt.

    rehab group has sub contracted pinnacle ppl for mwa at army of angles stores at a cost of 600 quid to rehab then they pay pinnacle ppl 250 quid for each mwa placement.

    just goes to show mwa is not here to help find work just used to sanction ppl of there benefits

    super ted

    July 4, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    • Sorry to hear that super ted but can you really say your surprized?

      Have you asked them how sanctioning you fits with the phrase ” HELP TO WORK” ?

      gaia

      July 4, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    • I too have a couple of health conditions. My dr has told me that I cannot stand for long periods or work in dusty conditions. This is due to a heart murmur ans asthma. Could I get a sanction either from jcp or wpp for ”being unfit” etc. I am 57 and can’t cope with a lot of stress.

      Mr Greenford

      July 6, 2014 at 12:12 pm

  4. the letter from the provider has no number on it and just got the one from the dwp and just says i failed to take part.good cause letter

    i knew it was coming so have kept both bus tickets to prove i went and told the jcp on the day as well.

    got 7 days to reply why i failed to attend when i did attend and they told me to go home lol.

    what a fkn joke i did what they told me to do and still get a sanction doubt they can fail over and over again and get rewarded for it and we all get shit on for there profit.

    super ted

    July 4, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    • My wpp pa sends out letters with just a printed name No Signature

      Greenford

      July 6, 2014 at 10:07 am

  5. look at this on there fb page.

    Our Gloucester shop has been open for a year this weekend! A massive thank you to all Staff and Volunteers who have put in the hard work to ensure our shop can function.

    But most of all – Thank you to all supporters, without you we would not be able to do the work we do.

    the only staff there are from the sub contracted provider the rest were all mwa slaves https://www.facebook.com/armyofangels.charity

    must have been at least 10 there all on mwa doing nothing at all i could see bar going round and sweeping up like wtf is that going to help anyone find work.

    super ted

    July 4, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    • Lets us all know how you get on super ted.

      gaia

      July 5, 2014 at 7:47 am

  6. Andrew Partridge ^^^^ dick head , do you mean WHOLE store , if so get your facts right before you post pathetic , stupid , comments , I have been a VOLUNTEER since November last year , and we have only used a handful of the mwa / pinnacle people , I take it you are the reject from society that we didn’t want in the shop .

    cant lose after that post 😉

    super ted

    July 5, 2014 at 1:15 pm

  7. Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.

    A6er

    January 13, 2015 at 10:44 pm


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