Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Posts Tagged ‘Bedroom Tax

The Bedroom Tax that Never Went Away.

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Image result for bedroom tax

It’s still there, and worse, under Universal Credit.

Amongst all the other things about Universal Credit, wait for payments, sanctions, benefit freeze, on-line forms and the hated ‘journal’, life under the rules of Coachy, and all the rest, most people, well this Blog for one, had forgotten about the Bedroom Tax.

Not, apparently the dogged Newshounds of the regional press.

Today: Birmingham Live.

Universal Credit claimants face bedroom tax of up to 25 per cent – here’s what you need do

These are the Universal Credit housing rules – as Government tries to make system fairer for tenants.

People receiving Universal Credit are being hit by cuts in their benefit because of the so-called bedroom tax.

Those in council or housing association properties are finding their Universal Credit reduced if they have more rooms than they need – even if there is a lodger living in one of them.

The amount paid to cover the rent could be slashed by as much as 25 per cent, says Shelter and Citizens Advice.

Bedroom tax – more formally known as under-occupancy penalty – was introduced in 2012 to reduce housing payments to those with spare bedrooms.

And it applies to Universal Credit, which has replaced six existing social security payments including the old housing benefit.

Liverpool Echo.

Claimants warned that Bedroom tax can reduce Universal Credit payments by 25%

Payments can be reduced – even if there’s a lodger living in the room.

If you want further cheer..

Birmingham Live.

The TRUTH about Universal Credit – from DWP Jobcentre staff

These are the stories of the staff who deal with Universal Credit on a daily basis.

Meanwhile Amber Rudd is still relentlessly full of high spirits.

Written by Andrew Coates

March 25, 2019 at 11:22 am

Bedroom Tax: Bad News Government Tried to Bury on last Parliamentary Day of Year and…more bad news.

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https://i1.wp.com/politicalscrapbook.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/ids-bedroom-dining-room.jpg

God Rest You Merry Gentlemen!

Christmas Cheer: reports Enigma.

Government accused of ‘Scrooge-like’ attitude to Christmas as jobseekers could face benefit sanctions for missing appointments on Christmas Eve

The DWP will continue implementing George Osborne’s austerity measures with a ‘business-as-usual’ approach over Christmas, despite MP’s objections.
Wednesday. Independent.

Newshound Enigma found this as well,

Labour says universal credit will take 495 years to roll out as costs rise £3bn

Cost of Iain Duncan Smith’s troubled plan for benefits rises to £15.8bn as Major Projects Authority report reveals HS2 also among schemes at high risk of failing.

The overall cost of Iain Duncan Smith’s key welfare scheme appears to have risen by £3bn to £15.8bn in two years, according to an official report that shows several other significant government programmes are also in danger of collapsing.

Universal credit, the troubled programme that plans to roll six welfare benefits into one payment, has also suffered a further year’s delay and will not be fully implemented until 2020.

The figures are disclosed in a Major Projects Authority report. It also shows that more than half of all of the government’s leading projects, including HS2, are in danger of failing.

A majority of seven million benefit claimants were supposed to be on the new welfare scheme by 2019, according to a statement from Duncan Smith last year.

According to the report, the “total budgeted whole-life costs” of universal credit will be £15.84bn and will be completed in April 2020.

In 2012, the estimated cost for universal credit was £12.85bn. No figures were available in 2013 because Duncan Smith was forced to reset the entire scheme.

The scheme, championed by Duncan Smith with David Cameron’s support, received royal assent in 2012 with initial plans for a full roll-out by the 2015 general election.

A pilot scheme has been introduced in selected areas, but only 65,000 people in the UK are currently claiming universal credit, according to government data.

Stephen Timms, the acting shadow work and pensions secretary, called for the government’s spending watchdog, the National Audit Office, to review the management of the scheme.

“These new figures have shown how wrong Iain Duncan Smith is to claim universal credit is ‘on time and on budget’. It will take 495 years to fully roll out universal credit at the current rate,” he said.

Today we have this (first spotted in the unemployed’s favourite daily, the ‘I‘)

Bedroom tax

A report ordered by the Government on the effects of the so-called bedroom tax was quietly released on Thursday.

It found that the removal of the spare room subsidy – otherwise known as the bedroom tax – has increased hardship among those affected, with nearly half reporting that they had to cut back on food spending to cope, a Government-ordered study has revealed.

Three quarters of people affected by the changes regularly run out of money by the end of the week or the month, the study found.

It also reveals that only a third of people affected who applied for emergency support to pay the rent received any help.

The Guardian gives more details.

Three-quarters of people affected by the bedroom tax say they have had to cut back on food, an independent evaluation published by the Department for Work and Pensions has found.

The research found that 46% said they had cut back on heating, 33% on travel and 42% on leisure. Among a control group of tenants unaffected by the bedroom tax, far fewer – 56% – said they were cutting back on food because of benefit changes.

The findings by the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research and Ipsos Mori were slipped out by the government on the last day of parliament before the winter break, along with a deluge of more than 380 other documents.

Its study found landlords were very concerned that some tenants were “in severe poverty and unable to pay the shortfall”. The report said 78% of claimants who were still affected by the bedroom tax after two years of the policy were regularly running out of money by the end of the week or month. They tended to pay the rent by using up savings, borrowing from family or friends or accruing debt.

It found that the effects of cutting back “had an impact on some claimants’ health and emotional wellbeing, with the most vulnerable reporting experiences of stress and worry”.

Claimants were able to use savings and borrowings in the first year of the bedroom tax but by the time of the second wave of qualitative research, in autumn 2014, claimants “who had been using their savings for the first year had depleted these and so were having to make greater cutbacks in their household budgets”.

The report found that only one in nine claimants escaped the bedroom tax by moving to a different property, and the vast majority of those affected were still affected nine months later.

Only 5% of those affected by the policy had been successful in finding extra work, of which half said they were then no longer affected by the bedroom tax.

A very merry Christmas looms….

Written by Andrew Coates

December 18, 2015 at 4:16 pm

Ipswich 2015: Can Ben Gummer improve the town?

Ipswich: an economic wasteland, high welfare reliance and stuck back into the early 90’s. Unemployment falling on one hand, on the other hand a new centre as an emergency measure to tackle youth unemployment is introduced! Ipswich’s Canary Wharf-cum-Monte Carlo looks like the aftermath from World War 2. Emphasis to push this has turned the town centre into what looks like the fallout from a Nuclear meltdown incident.  Read the rest of this entry »

Rachel Reeves (Labour Conference) slates Iain Duncan Smith’s reverse “Midas Touch”.

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Rachel Reeves MP, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, in a speech to Labour’s Annual Conference 2014 in Manchester, said:

“Just think conference, it could be less than a year left for the Bedroom Tax.

Because the very first thing I will do if I am Secretary of State for Work and Pensions next May is repeal it.

It’s unfair, it’s unworkable, and it’s on its way out – across the whole of the United Kingdom. Scrapped, binned, axed, abolished, put out of its misery, consigned to the history books.

And that day can’t come soon enough.

And for those Liberal Democrats who now say they’re against it too – we will see how serious they are when Parliament returns. Because we will call a vote on the Bedroom Tax. Today I have written to Nick Clegg to urge him to do the right thing and vote with us – not to water it down, but to cancel it altogether.

Change can’t come soon enough for the half a million families caught by the Bedroom Tax, all of them on low incomes, two thirds of them disabled, clobbered by a government that has handed 13,000 millionaires a tax cut worth £100,000 with an average annual charge of more than £700.

Change can’t come soon enough for Tony Cunning, a former sheet metal worker I met in Trafford. He had to give up his job because he needed kidney dialysis three times a week. He was looking forward to having that equipment installed in his flat so he wouldn’t have to keep going into hospital. But then he was told that the room he needed for the dialysis machine counted as a “spare bedroom”. Tony faced the choice between finding another home, or finding another £977 a year to cover his rent.

Change can’t come soon enough for my constituent Alice. Alice works three shifts a day as a cleaner to support her family, but had to wait four months for tax credits she was entitled to. Alice was trying to survive on rolled over payday loans, and had to come to me to ask for food vouchers.

Change can’t come soon enough for the former Remploy workers I met in Wakefield. They were promised help to get new jobs when their factories were shut, but instead they were just abandoned.

So the Bedroom Tax is just the start of what we will have to put right after five years of this Tory-led Government. Five years of favours for a privileged few while life for working people and their families gets harder and harder. Five years in which David Cameron has left the Department for Work and Pensions in the hands of Iain Duncan Smith. A man with his own special Midas touch: everything he touches turns into a complete and utter shambles.

Universal Credit – stuck in first gear.

Work Capability Assessments – in meltdown.

Personal Independence Payments – mired in delays.

The Work Programme – failing the people who need help the most.

The Youth Contract – an embarrassing flop.

It would be comical if it wasn’t so criminal. We should be angry that taxpayers’ money is being squandered. That vulnerable people are being ill-treated. That lives are being scarred. That talent is being wasted. We should be angry – and they should be ashamed.

The Tories will leave a truly toxic legacy. And for all their talk about cutting welfare, they’ve overspent on social security by £13 billion in this Parliament with a rising in-work benefits bill left for the next government. Because what the Tories will never understand is that you can’t control the costs of social security if you’ve got economy where people can’t earn enough to keep up with the cost of living.

So let me be straight with you: there will be tough decisions on resources and priorities for the next Labour government. But we will also target the deeper causes of rising welfare spending by building a recovery that leaves no one behind.

That’s how we ensure a system that is fair and affordable, so we can keep up the fight against child and pensioner poverty, upholding and renewing the principles our welfare state was built on: responsibilities and opportunities for all who can work; dignity for those who cannot; hard work and contribution recognised and rewarded.

Those are my values, and this is my mission. So here’s our plan to deliver it:

Step one: a Compulsory Jobs Guarantee so no one is left on unemployment benefit for years on end.

Comment: we need details, and the rates of pay offered.

Step two: a Basic Skills Test so we intervene early to tackle skills gaps that can condemn people to a life on benefits.

Comment: There are already plenty of tests. Testing is part of the problem not the solution.,

Step three: a Youth Allowance that means young people who lack key qualifications are expected and supported to do the training they need.

Comment: What will the allowance be? Will there be a choice in training? Who will do the training?

Step four: replace the failing Work Programme, with power devolved to local councils and communities, instead of big contracts signed in Whitehall.

Comment:will  the Programme  still be outsourced to the usual suspects, SERCO, SEETEC and the other chancers?

What will it consist of?

Will Mandatory Work Activity be Abolished?

Will the exploitative and oppressive Community Action Programme be abolished?  

Will the timewasting prison of  Mandatory 35 hour Job s7 earch be abolished?

Step five: ensure our pensions market works for all working people, so that everyone can save for their future with confidence.

Comment: we need higher universal pensions not more markets.

Step six: ensure that disabled people who can work get the tailored support that they need.

And as for the Work Capability Assessment, we need real reform, with disabled people given clear rights and a real say. And I give you this commitment: as Secretary of State I will come down hard on any contractor that gets these critical assessments wrong, or fails to treat disabled people with the decency and respect they deserve.

Comment: we need an end to more privately run assessment fiddles: no more “contractors”!

And Conference, it’s not enough to get people into work if they’re still reliant on benefits to make ends meet. So we will get more workers paid a living wage. And because the fall in the real value of the National Minimum Wage since 2010 is now costing the taxpayer £270 million a year in additional benefits and tax credits, we’ll set the Low Pay Commission a target to raise the Minimum Wage to £8 an hour by the end of the Parliament, so we aren’t using our social security system to subsidise the profits of big companies paying poverty wages.

That’s a future worth fighting for. And the fight is now on. It’s a fight for hardworking mums and dads who put in the hours but still fear for their family’s future. A fight for every young person who deserves a fairer chance to make the most of their lives. A fight for all those doing what they can to get into work and who need to be supported not stigmatised. A fight for all the people forced into debt, or to queue at a foodbank, because of inexcusable benefit delays. A fight for hundreds of thousands of disabled people to stay in their homes without having to pay the indefensible Bedroom Tax.

We’ve got 226 days left to fight for that with everything we’ve got. Conference, let’s make it happen.

Labour Press.  

Concluding Comments.

A decent level of benefits should be the aim of any Labour government: work or full maintenance!

The present system needs a radical overhaul.

To begin with we need an end to the Sanctions Regime and a full review of the abuses taking place by the DWP and private contractors (in the Work Programme and elsewhere).

There should be prosecutions for those who have mistreated claimants.

Those private outsourcing companies engaged in profiteering from the system should be subject to hefty fines.

A priority for claimants is restoration of full of the Council Tax Benefit!

Plus a rise in benefit levels.

A grand People’s Commission, charged with creating an equal and fair welfare state, should have the power to bring the benefit system under democratic control for the good of all. 

Written by Andrew Coates

September 23, 2014 at 11:38 am

Council Tax: Claimants End up in Court.

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A few weeks ago the Guardian reported,

Thousands in court for council tax arrears as benefit cuts hit home

Many people who were formerly exempt from paying now face court, as the bedroom tax adds to spiralling debt burden.
With government cuts to means-tested council tax benefit, many people are now facing liability orders for arrears. From April 2013, the government slashed funding for council tax benefit by £500m, and instructed local authorities to decide how the reduced benefit should be distributed. The poorest residents, unemployed, disabled or low paid, now find themselves paying council tax where previously they were exempt.

The sums seem small on paper, but to the unemployed and low paid, day to day, they’re untenable. Already on subsistence benefits and faced with rising living costs, even £3-5 is a big dent in a very meagre weekly budget.

As with the bedroom tax, the people receiving these bills previously weren’t charged because they didn’t have the means to pay. Their financial circumstances haven’t improved, they’ve only worsened as the cost of living has risen, but they’re expected to find even more money from ever-squeezed budgets.

Across the country, every poverty charity, MP and council official I spoke to repeated the same message – this is only the first wave of summonses: as the policy takes effect, and as more people struggle to keep up with payments, the courts will find more and more of the poorest in society in their courtrooms. As early as October 2013 Labour estimated that 450,000 vulnerable people had been summonsed as a result of the withdrawal in council tax benefit, and many more have been summonsed since.

Behind this is the following,

Withdrawal of council tax support leads to 30% increase in court proceedings

Councils that passed on government’s cut to means-tested council tax relief report doubling in rate of liability orders sent to non-payers.
The number of households threatened with bankruptcy, repossession and ultimately prison has increased at double the rate in local authorities that passed on government cuts to council tax benefits, leaving 670,000 facing bailiffs in the first six months of this year, new figures have revealed.

In local authorities that made no cuts to the benefit there was a 15% increase in the number of liability orders – issued by magistrates courts for non-payment of council tax – on the previous year as the economy stagnated. However, this figure jumps to 30% in local authorities that withdrew public assistance to the poor.

The survey of more than 200 local authorities, conducted using freedom of information requests by anti-cuts campaigners False Economy, revealed that more than 25 people a day were issued with liability orders between April and September in areas without council tax support.

Ministers cut funding for the means-tested benefit by

The figures in this area are stark:

Council: Suffolk Coastal
Political party: Cons
Change in liability orders: (%) 81.44

Council: St Edmundsbury (Suffolk)
Political party: Cons
Change in liability orders: (%) 90.11

Council: Tendring (Essex).

Political party: Cons

Change in liability orders: (%) 47.87%

 

The figures for other councils in the area near to Ipswich, and Ipswich itself,  are not given.

Indications are that the burden on benefit claimants is likely to increase significantly this year.

David Cameron’s Government to be reported to United Nations over bedroom tax and benefit cuts

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Is this a turning point to reverse the bedroom tax and benefit cuts? Liverpool Council is reportedly referring the Tory Government’s controversial welfare reform policies to the United Nations for what it says is a breach of the UN economic and social rights convention.

It is to be seen whether other local authorities or government departments will follow suit – and how this action could effect Ipswich and the local area – in addition to the country as a whole.

Liverpool Council says the PM’s government could be breaking international laws on ensuring people are kept out of poverty

Liverpool Council is reporting David Cameron to the United Nations, claiming that his government could be breaking international rules on keeping people out of poverty.

Authority bosses believe the coalition – through its controversial policies such as the hated bedroom tax and welfare reform – could be in breach of the UN economic and social rights convention that sets out minimum standards for access to food, clothing and housing.

Labour members from all parts of the city have spoken of the evidence they have gathered of people who were being forced into degrading poverty because they were being denied access to benefits they desperately needed.

Many are ending up having to resort to what they said was effectively “begging” for food at food banks, the Liverpool Echo reports.

At a meeting this week, councillors heard stories of people stripped of their dole money for up to 16 weeks because they had been late for interviews or had failed to meet the criteria of the government’s Welfare to Work programme.

And they heard claims that in some job centres in the city, suspensions of benefits and other sanctions had risen by up to 500% since 2012.

But the government has hailed the removal of benefits from people who “aren’t pulling their weight” as evidence that the “something for nothing” culture was being tackled.

Cabinet member for children’s services in Liverpool Cllr Jane Corbett, who brought forward a motion along with Croxteth Cllr Barry Kushner, said: “We were elected to represent the people of Liverpool and speak up for them, fight for justice for them to make sure their voices are heard.”

In a rare moment of cross-party unity, Lib Dem Cllr Pat Moloney said: “It is the moral purpose of government to protect its citizens … and to keep them out of hunger and worse.”
by Mark Waddington in the Mirror, Jan 17th 2014: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/liverpool-council-report-david-cameron-3031436

Thanks to Benefit Tales

The Bedroom Tax Song.

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Words cannot express the misery that the Bedroom Tax is creating.

In Ipswich close friends are being ruined by it.

But here is a stab at giving some words to this,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bik9299kA0c&feature=youtu.be&noredirect=1

Written by Andrew Coates

April 2, 2013 at 3:03 pm