Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Poverty Crisis Worsened by Universal Credit.

with 20 comments

Image result for poverty Social Metrics Commission

” total number of people living in poverty is 14.2 million.”

Poverty, anybody could see with their own eyes, is growing.

I was struck, visiting my old homeland, Haringey, by this recently.

It was not so much that seeing the homeless people on the streets was a surprise – we have plenty in Ipswich. Though I must admit that, coming out of Wood Green Tube station, the sight of a geezer with a sleeping bag sprawled out in front of the ‘Spoons on Spouters’ Corner was unexpected.

It was that walking from there to Turnpike Lane most people looked, well, not well off.

Same pound shops, charity shops, though a Mall looked a bit more prosperous than ours.

This is the real London, not Made In Chelsea.

Bounds Green, where I grew up, is (wrote the Guardian in 2013 and it’s still true), is “ordinary north London, like wot even Muswell Hill used to be: an endangered species these days.”, was another destination on this tour.

On a  round circuit from the Tube to my old gaff (a short 15 minutes)  I came across at least 10 off-licences and newsagents/food stores selling cheap booze.

Encouraging to see that people still appreciate white cider and 9% lager, no “shops selling single-estate, organic, truffle-dusted flat whites”.

But then………..

This report, then, does not come out of the blue.

More than two million Brits at risk of falling into poverty, report warns

The UK Government has been urged to take action at the Budget in order to tackle Britain’s growing poverty crisis, in response to the publication of a new report which shows that 2.5million people are at risk of falling into poverty.

The Social Metrics Commission has published a new framework for measuring poverty in the UK, which takes into account a wider range of interplaying factors which cause people to fall into poverty – including material resources, the cost of disability, and the cost of childcare.

Sam Royston, director of policy and research at The Children’s Society, said: “While we would welcome these changes to how poverty is measured being included in official statistics, concrete action is needed to tackle the shameful scale of poverty among our children, with all the damage it can do to their wellbeing, education and life chances.”

The Commission found that more than one in ten (12.1%) of the total UK population (7.7million people) live in persistent poverty. While a further 2.5million people in the UK are less than 10% above the poverty line – meaning relatively small changes in their circumstances could see them fall below it.

Philippa Stroud, the commission’s chair, said: “We want to put poverty at the heart of government policymaking and ensure that the decisions that are made are genuinely made with the long term interests of those in poverty in mind.”

The UK Government abolished child poverty targets under the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 – a moved condemned by the SNP who have reintroduced them in Scotland and have called for their reintroduction across the UK.

These are the conclusions of the above report:

The SMC report, available here,  reveals numerous key findings and challenges. The total number of people living in poverty is 14.2 million with the composition of poverty moving towards a better identification of children (4.5 million) and working-age adults (8.4 million). The good news is the shift away from pensioner poverty with far fewer pensioners living in poverty following a significant reduction of poverty amongst pension age couples, over the last 15 years.

The report reveals that people with a disability are much more likely to be living in poverty than previously thought, with around half of the 14.2 million people in poverty living in families with a disabled person.

The report also reveals the persistence and depth of UK poverty. More than one in ten (12.1%) of the total UK population are in poverty now and have been in poverty for at least two of the previous three years. A further 2.5 million people live less than 10% above the poverty line and are close to falling below it with relatively small changes to their circumstances; and around 2.7 million people live less than 10% below it.

 SMC KEY FINDINGS

  1. 2 million people in the UK population live in poverty: 8.4 million working-age adults; 4.5 million children; and 1.4 million pension age adults.
  2. Over half of those in poverty (58.2%) also live in persistent poverty. This means that more than one in ten (7.7 million) of the total UK population are in poverty now and have been in poverty for at least two of the previous three years. Persistent poverty is highest in families more than 10% below the poverty line, in workless families and families where someone is disabled.
  3. People with a disability are much more likely to be living in poverty. Nearly half of the 14.2 million people in poverty live in families with a disabled person (6.9 million people equal to 48.3% of those in poverty). The SMC metric recognises the inescapable costs of disability, accounting for them alongside the value of disability benefits, to reflect the lived experience of living with a disability.
  4. Far fewer pensioners are living in poverty than previously thought, with a significant fall in pensioner poverty over the last 15 years. Poverty rates amongst pension-age adults have nearly halved since 2001, and have fallen to one in ten, a drop from 17% of the total population in poverty in 2001 to 11% in 2017. There are, however some pensioner groups still experiencing high levels of poverty. For example, the poverty rate for pensioners who do not own their own home is 34.2%.

You can only note that all this is about to get a lot lot worse:

The Universal Credit Rollout Will Cause Liverpool Untold Harm – The Government Must Pause And Rethink. 

Joe Anderson Mayor of Liverpool

Huffington Post.

In a city described by the Joseph Rowntree Trust as having the second worst affected in the country when it comes to ‘destitution,’ Liverpool needs Universal Credit like a hole in the head.

Nevertheless, from this week, the remaining parts of my city not already covered by UC will start being migrated across to the new benefit.

The dread I feel is because we know what happens next.

Already, we can see a spike in hardship and a rise in council tax arrears from those who have already transitioned to UC. Not to mention the snaking queues at foodbanks and the families struggling with things like school uniform costs.

Around 55,000 Liverpool households will eventually see their claim move to Universal Credit. So far, we estimate that up to 2,800 people in Liverpool are affected by changes in work allowances in Universal Credit, resulting in a loss of income to families of between £40 and £200 each month.

The Council’s various discretionary schemes, set up to protect people in hardship, made 13,700 awards last year at a cost of just under £2.7million. 71% of all Discretionary Housing Payments made in Liverpool are to help people who have been hit by the ‘under occupation penalty’ – or as we know it, the bedroom tax.

It’s so frustrating because as a council, we have one of the best records in the country when it comes to maintaining discretionary benefits for the poorest and most vulnerable in our city. We are left picking up the pieces from failed central government changes.

Despite losing two-thirds of our government funding since 2010 (£444million), we have stretched our finances as far as we can in order to preserve basic human dignity, but also because it makes sense to address problems upstream before they swim downstream and cost even more to fix.

This is often down to the scandalous time lag between applying for Universal Credit and receiving a first payment. This is often as long as twelve weeks, with the National Audit Office recently reporting that four in ten applicants had experienced financial difficulties while transitioning across to UC, while one in five were not paid on time.

So my message to ministers is simple: pause this roll-out and listen to those of us on the frontline. It’s possible to reform Universal Credit to keep the original intention of simplifying the benefits system without deliberately causing misery for tens of thousands of people in my city and millions more across the country.

Drop the ideology for a start. There is no good reason to make desperate people wait for their benefits, simply because eight years ago Iain Duncan-Smith wanted to teach them budgeting skills. Pay up straightaway and take that terrible burden off the backs of some of the poorest people in our society.

Unnecessary delay simply throws vulnerably families into the clutches of payday lenders and loan sharks. This is a simple concession that Esther McVey could make that would transform the lives of millions of people for the better and show that the Department for Work and Pensions is listening to evidence about the ill-effects of UC.

I would also urge her to work with councils rather than ignoring us. Along with the voluntary sector, we are working to pick up the pieces of botched welfare changes. But give us the tools to do it. Provide ring-fenced funding so councils can create a local welfare scheme to address acute hardship.

But it’s also about practical steps, like understanding the system simply isn’t flexible enough for people on zero hours contracts and have no guarantees about their work situation from week to week. Also, the DWP could dramatically reduce the waiting time for connection to the DWP advice and information lines.

Before people in Liverpool are exposed to these poorly-conceived and badly implemented changes, I am asking Esther McVey to pause and #RethinkUC.

 

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Written by Andrew Coates

September 18, 2018 at 9:23 am

20 Responses

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  1. Reblogged this on sdbast.

    sdbast

    September 18, 2018 at 9:38 am

    • universal credit is made to encourage people to work CHEAP and now accept temporary vacances and wait at bus stop at 530am to go to work.
      You cannot ask an agency a basic question what is the start time what is the finish time aggreed by the client.
      90percent of the time your aggreed start time is altered by the client at very short notice you have no say in the matter.
      Then you have to go to your work coach at the job centre and explain yourself why you dont like the job.
      You are working and still subbordinate to the job centre universal credit is the worst thing that happend in uk.
      Basically the government are subsedising low pay poor working conditions also greedy bankers.
      All the jobcentre do via work coach is to teach you how to be a wage slave WITHOUT QUESTION accept abuse, of workers HUMAN RIGHTS.
      There is no such thing as a proper job with holiday pay anymore your life is in chaos good bye theresa may you will lose the next election.

      john Richards

      October 12, 2018 at 8:53 am

      • There are no prizes either, Richard for putting up with this shit. Get sacked for ‘gross misconduct’ by one of these agencies and you won’t receive any benefit payments for three years. That’s why the ‘smart cookies’ sit on benefits – Universal Crap is designed to see an end to this.

        Universal Crap

        October 12, 2018 at 9:33 am

      • There are no prizes either, Richard for putting up with this shit. Get sacked for ‘gross misconduct’ by one of these agencies and you won’t receive any benefit payments for three years. You will end up on the streets. That’s why the ‘smart cookies’ sit on benefits – Universal Crap is designed to see an end to this.

        Universal Crap

        October 12, 2018 at 9:34 am

  2. Good luck expecting one of the cruellest most wide eyed ignorant politicians of our time to rethink anything. If nothing else itwill be a matter of pride. She won’t like that.

    Who else but McVey could aspire to a relationship with evil like Philip Davies.

    UC needs to be scrapped and the campaign to reform it should reform itself toward that end. It is unworkable, misguided, ideological, inefficient and cruel

    ghost whistler

    September 18, 2018 at 9:44 am

  3. The names on this report are rather significant

    Presumably that is the same P. Stroud of the donut smiths’ Centre for Social Injustice and the ‘free (for those who have it already) market Legatum?

    Caldy

    September 18, 2018 at 9:50 am

    • Thanks for the newshounding Caldy!

      From Conservative Home.

      “Finally and most importantly, the CSJ will be launching a Social Metrics Commission. I will come back to this site to say more in the future, but suffice to say for the moment that if there is one thing that needs to happen to the narrative around social policy, it is an honest dialogue around how poverty and social impact is measured.

      We know that the old poverty measures do not work and that under them, the “best way of lifting children out of poverty” is to collapse the economy – hardly an approach that changes the lives of the poorest for the better.

      On the other hand, the Treasury could at the moment take billions out of programmes that support the poorest and statistically nobody would be measured as poor – surely that is not workable either.

      The CSJ wants to work with all comers on the Left and Right to build measures that will stand the test of the political cycles – that could be accepted by all parties as having the resonance of truth about then and that genuinely deliver life change.

      It is for these reasons that I have come back to the CSJ – having fallen in love with my “Plan B” – and why I count it such a privilege to go into the Lords where for the first time in more than five years I can speak on these issues. I am looking forward to this new season enormously.

      Philippa Stroud: I worked with IDS for five years. Now I’m back at the CSJ
      23rd October 2015
      After more than five years working in government, I have returned to the Centre for Social Justice.

      http://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2015/10/philippa-stroud-i-worked-with-ids-for-five-years-now-im-back-at-the-csj-and-heres-my-vision-of-what-it-should-do-next.html

      Andrew Coates

      September 18, 2018 at 2:57 pm

  4. Reblogged this on iaingrahamsite.

    iaingrahamsite

    September 18, 2018 at 9:56 am

  5. Philippa Stroud, the commission’s chair, said: “We want to put poverty at the heart of government policymaking and ensure that the decisions that are made are genuinely made with the long term interests of those in poverty in mind.

    We’ve heard of her before.

    Rising Tory star Philippa Stroud ran prayer sessions to ‘cure’ gay people
    Conservative high-flyer Philippa Stroud founded a church that tried to ‘cure’ homosexuals by driving out their ‘demons

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2010/may/02/conservatives-philippa-stroud-gay-cure

    ken

    September 18, 2018 at 10:37 am

  6. The Tory mantra since 2010 has always been: “Cut, cut and cut help and entitlements from people who don’t vote for us, especially if looking tough shores up our voter demographic and gives us political advantage.” The best way to succeed as a minister under this regime was to make savings in the budget you controlled and the biggest budget of all is social security. Esther McVey is an ambitious dyed in the wool Thatcherite and so to expect good sense, humanity or compassion from her is stupid. Only when a large enough number of people, particularly families with children, are suffering obviously under Universal Credit and the political fallout become great enough to actually threaten government’s future will the government act to make it better, or, at least, less bad.

    The current government will only act more kindly towards the poor when doing the opposite hurts it.

    Personally I reckon they will carry on for as long as possible believing that, as happened with the infamous bedroom tax, that after the protests fail Universal Credit, in its current cancerous form, will reluctantly be accepted as the new normal and eventually the status quo.

    Neil Milbourne

    September 18, 2018 at 11:02 am

    • It’s about self sufficiency,

      whoknew

      September 18, 2018 at 12:07 pm

      • Advocating that kind of self sufficiency didn’t work out too well for Marie Antoinette.

        Neil Milbourne

        September 18, 2018 at 1:00 pm

  7. David Cameron’s ex-speechwriter claims Universal Carcrash leaves people in “debt, depression & anxiety (the masonic tories solution as victims see suicide as the only way out)

    https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/universal-credit-must-stopped-before-13259094

    Violet

    September 18, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    • Theresa May can’t be a mason though can she? Only men can be masons. Women can be co-masons but co-masonry isn’t recognised by real masons, or, probably, the Great Architect of the Universe himself.

      Most Worshipful Sovereign Grand Master and Puissant Sovereign Grand Commander

      September 18, 2018 at 12:59 pm

      • No, women are allowed too.

        Violet

        September 18, 2018 at 1:53 pm

  8. Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating!.

    A6er

    September 18, 2018 at 2:40 pm

  9. Keeping people pauperised means they are easier to control!

    Foxglove

    September 18, 2018 at 6:43 pm

  10. Derry woman who cares for her severely disabled grandson slams Universal Credit process as ‘horrific

    A Derry woman who is a full-time carer for her severely disabled grandson has described the process of applying for his benefits under the new Universal Credit system as ‘horrific’.

    The woman, who does not wish to be named, said she has been placed in financial difficulties after waiting six weeks without any money for his first payment to come through.

    And she said the application process does not cater for people with additional needs and has caused unnecessary stress for her grandson who has severe autism, severe learning disabilities, epilepsy, OCD and challenging behaviours.

    https://www.derrynow.com/news/derry-woman-cares-severely-disabled-grandson-slams-universal-credit-process-horrific/248600

    Andrew Coates

    September 19, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    • DWP – we don’t give a dam.

      whoknew

      September 20, 2018 at 11:31 am


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