Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Posts Tagged ‘Cuts

New Threats to Claimants and Public Services.

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The reality of the recent cut to benefits – that is for those who got the Top Up, which did not include Legacy Claimants – is sinking in.

One thing that strikes you, and it is a long time since this writer was under 25, is the pitance single young people have to live on: £321.84 a month. You can easily pay £70 a month in gas and electricity alone (Flat). In fact that’s around what I pay. It’s a hefty chunk of any low income. My Bill, like everybody else’s, is set to rise.

Then here is this:

What is now worrying local councils is this:

Budget 2021: Local services face cuts as Sunak’s Spending Review delivers real-terms fall in council funding.

The ‘I’.

Council services such as social carebin collection, sport centres and road repairs are likely to be cut following real-term reductions in funding to councils in Rishi Sunak’s Spending Review, the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) will warn.

Analysis by the IFS shows that despite sharp rises in household council tax bills and £4.8bn of new grant funding for local authorities up until 2025, any additional revenue will be wiped out by rising costs, and councils will be forced to slash at least some essential services.

The IFS found that the expected average rise in council tax bills across all councils equates to 2.8 per cent increase each year until 2025. With the average council tax bill currently about £1,428, three consecutive years of rises would mean the average household would pay £39.92 more from next April, and £123.13 more from April 2024 than they paid this year.

These are the kind of things that do not register with people, until they are affected. Things at risk include very visible services libraries and the Citizen’s Advice bureau (in Suffolk a couple of years ago the Health Trust had to step in when the Tory Council Council halved their funding for them, except that kind of thing to happen again).

For all the claims to back public transport a look at the reality shows the reality:

Councils reacted with anger, warning that unless local authorities increase council tax bills by 3 per cent – thereby forcing a referendum in which local residents will vote on the rise – then services are likely to be cut.

Sam Chapman-Allen, chairman of the District Councils Network and Conservative leader of Breckland District Council in Norfolk said: “The Spending Review does not deliver the firm financial foundation district councils need to continue delivering essential frontline services and supporting local economies to grow. 

“We cannot see how the £4.8bn new grant funding announced by the Chancellor will come close to addressing the financial pressures district councils and the rest of local government are under.   

“Councils face a triple whammy of rising inflation, higher wage costs from the lifting of the public sector pay freeze, and continuing pressures from the impact of Covid. This leaves councils with an unpalatable choice between increasing council tax for hard-pressed local residents or cutting services that every local resident and business relies on.”

Don’t forget that people on benefits will begin again to pay Council Tax Relief/Reduction next year, which in some parts of the country is already unfairly high.

Still somebody’s happy:

Halloween Day FINAL.jpg

Written by Andrew Coates

October 31, 2021 at 6:15 pm

Government Pulls Opposition Day debate on Universal Credit Cut. Instead MPs will vote on National Insurance hike.

Government pulls plans for imminent vote on controversial universal credit  cut | The Independent

Government pulls plans for imminent vote on universal credit cut.

Universal Credit vote blocked as government scraps opposition day

Elliot Chappell. Labour List.

Jacob Rees-Mogg has told parliament that an opposition day debate, in which Labour had been planning to force a vote on a cut to Universal Credit, will not take place so that MPs can vote on the plan to raise National Insurance instead.

The leader of the House of Commons informed MPs of the change to the schedule following a statement by Boris Johnson this afternoon, in which the Prime Minister confirmed plans to break a 2019 Tory manifesto pledge with a 1.25% levy.

Johnson announced the policy as part of the funding arrangement for his long-awaited social care plan. He presented the proposal to the cabinet this morning before coming to parliament to outline his “sustainable” plan for the care sector.

Reacting to the change in scheduling, Labour’s Thangam Debbonaire said: “This morning, cabinet was bounced into the Prime Minister’s so-called social care plan and now the leader is trying to bounce parliament into accepting it in a vote tomorrow. This is no way to run a government. It’s no way to run a country.

“This Tory tax rise won’t come in until next spring, so why the rush? Does he know that he will never get it past his backbenchers, through parliament, otherwise? Is he making sure that his own MPs have as little time as possible to consult their constituents or hear from stakeholders and experts?”

Labour had been hoping to force a vote on the government’s £20-per-week cut to Universal Credit, which will take effect from October 6th. Ministers face opposition on the move from the opposition and campaigners as well as backbench Tories.

“The government have pulled Labour’s vote on the cut to Universal Credit that would have been tomorrow to vote on the NI increase instead. I will do all I can to ensure a vote still takes place. The biggest cut in the history of the welfare state must be debated in parliament,” Jonathan Reynolds said.

***

On the issue actually debated today the TUC has issued this statement.

TUC – PM’s social care announcement is “deeply disappointing” to workforce 

Commenting on today’s (Tuesday) social care announcement by the Prime Minister, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: 

“We need a social care system that delivers high-quality care and high-quality employment. 

“New funding for social care is long overdue. But today’s announcement will have been deeply disappointing both to those who use care, and to those who provide it. 

“The Prime Minister promised us a real plan for social care services, but what we got was vague promises of money tomorrow. 

“Care workers need to see more pay in their pockets now. Nothing today delivered that. Instead, the only difference it will make to low-paid care staff is to push up their taxes. 

“This is so disappointing after the dedication care workers have shown during this pandemic keeping services running and looking after our loved ones. 

“Proposals to tax dividends should have been just once piece in a plan to tax wealth, not an afterthought to a plan to tax the low-paid workers who’ve got us through the pandemic. 

“We know social care needs extra funding. But the prime minister is raiding the pockets of low-paid workers, while leaving the wealthy barely touched. 

“We need a genuine plan that will urgently tackle the endemic low pay and job insecurity that blights the social care sector – and is causing huge staff shortages and undermining the quality of care people receive.” 

The TUC published proposals on Sunday to fund social care and a pay rise for the workforce by increasing Capital Gains Tax. 

The union body says increasing tax on dividends is a welcome first step to reforming the way we tax wealth, but that it won’t generate the revenue needed to deliver a social care system this country deserves. 

Instead, by taxing wealth and assets at the same level as income tax, the government could raise up to £17bn a year to invest in services and give all care staff a minimum wage of £10 an hour. 

TUC analysis shows that seven in 10 social care workers earn less than £10 an hour and one in four are on zero-hours contracts. 

Polling published on Sunday by the TUC showed that eight in 10 working adults – including seven in 10 Conservative voters – support a £10 minimum wage for care workers. 

Written by Andrew Coates

September 8, 2021 at 11:54 am

Posted in Cuts, DWP, Tories, Universal Credit

Tagged with , ,

Local Impact of £20 a Week Universal Credit Cut: Ipswich Onwards…

No Cuts To Universal Credit | Megaphone UK

Yesterday East Anglia Bylines carried this story:

Universal Credit cuts threaten Tory MPs in the East

Stephen McNair

Extracts.

The government’s planned cuts to Universal Credit will hit one family in five in East Anglia. Will the region’s Conservative MPs dare to back the Chancellor’s plan?

What about East Anglia?

In East Anglia 320,000 families receive Universal Credit, more than half of them with children. Forty percent of these claimants are in work, but not earning enough to meet the minimum needs for basic living. In every constituency more than 10% of families are on Universal Credit, and that percentage rises to over 25% in five of them (see table below). So the blow is going to be felt right across the region.

Will our region’s Conservative MP’s back the cut?

Thirty nine of the region’s 41 MPs are Conservatives, and the Party has traditionally been opposed to generous welfare benefits of any kind. However twelve of the region’s Conservative MPs have majorities smaller than the number of Credit claimants.  At the extreme, in Peterborough Paul Bristow MP has a majority of only 2,580, but 18,360 voters on Universal Credit.

So the Universal Credit cut is a real threat to at least ten of the region’s MPs, especially in Peterborough, Ipswich and Norwich North, where the Conservatives hold the seat with narrow majorities.  

Note, one would hope so, but people in working class Peterborough have already voted for those opposed to their own interests.

In Waveney, Peter Aldous has already written to the Prime Minister calling for the cut to be cancelled.  It will be interesting to see how large a rebellion there will be on the government benches when the issue comes to Parliament. Will our MPs be prepared to inflict cuts on such a large proportion of their own constituents, or will they swallow their traditional principles, and vote to block this cut?

Note, it is to be very much doubted that (many?) others will follow, though some might. The hard right Ipswich Tory MP Tom Hunt is more obsessed with fighting ‘cultural Marxism’ than standing up for constituents on Universal Credit.

One can hardly avoid mentioning that the MP for Suffolk Coastal, which adjoins Ipswich is this figure is the DWP Minister carrying out the brutal cuts…

Where will the cuts bite hardest?

The constituencies most affected are listed here. All are held by Conservatives (we highlight one..)

ConstituencyCountyMP2019 MajorityFamilies on universal credit or working tax creditsPercentage of families on universal credit or working tax credits
IpswichSuffolkTom Hunt5,47912,20024.3%

Yesterday the Ipswich Star published this:

‘Massive impact’ as 58,000 people to lose £20 a week in benefits

Citizens Advice has found itself helping many more younger people during the pandemic, with Mrs Harrison saying the “jobs they were in are no longer there”.

She has argued that a “delay would be ideal – especially to try to get over the winter period”.

Waveney (Note, this includes Lowestoft which has a large working class and some very poor areas) MP Peter Aldous is one of those calling for the £20 a week uplift to be made permanent.

Today, local press is doing its job.

‘Forced to live off £8.30 a day’ – man’s fear at impending benefit cut.

The princely sum of £8.30 might buy you a cinema ticket, a meal for one at a restaurant or a couple of ready meals from the supermarket.

But one Universal Credit claimant from Suffolk is facing up to the harsh reality of a life where that will be his daily budget – as he braces himself for a £20 a week cut to his benefits.

The claimant, a young autistic adult with chronic fatigue syndrome, was an electrician before the pandemic and lost his job in a kitchen as the Covid crisis started.

Since then, the man – who has asked us not to use his name – said he has been “struggling on the benefit system”.

This is a familiar story to our readers,

He says this is “barely enough as it is” – but with the government set to remove the uplift on October 6, the claimant is now asking: “How do they expect everyone to survive?”

“It will cause devastation to so many families across the UK,” said the man, who is one of 58,069 people in the county claiming Universal Credit.

“I can barely afford the things I need with the £20 uplift.

The details makes it worse.

When it gets reduced, people will be forced to live off of £8.30 a day, roughly. This is disgusting and cannot be allowed to happen.”

The claimant also argues the the DWP’s removal of the uplift contradicts letters he has had from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), which warn of the continuing dangers of Covid-19.

“How on one side can the DWP cut off financial support to the most vulnerable people in our society, with the excuse of ‘this was only a temporary increase because of the coronavirus pandemic’, and then on the same day the DHSC can send me a letter saying that Covid-19 remains a threat?.

“So the DWP is saying we don’t need to provide you extra financial support, but the DHSC is saying that the virus remains a threat? It is so ignorantly stupid and a contradiction.

“The Covid-19 pandemic is very much still happening. Those who are vulnerable and disabled in our society still do not feel safe to return to normal.

“The DWP cannot be allowed to get away with this.”

Hats off to the Ipswich Star and the East Anglian Daily Times for the report.

This story can be reproduced across the country, and it is not hard to imagine our contributors having worse experiences of living on existing benefits. Not hard because many have written about it.

There are of course those on Legacy Benefits who never got the uplift.

UK Government urged to scrap plans to axe £20 Universal Credit increase.

ITV.

Ministers from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have called on the UK Government to scrap plans to axe the £20 increase to Universal Credit and instead make the higher rate of payment permanent.

In a letter to Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey, they branded the change, which is due to come into effect in September, as the “biggest overnight reduction to a basic rate of social security since the modern welfare state began, more than 70 years ago.”

Ministers from Holyrood, Cardiff and Stormont raised concerns about the impact the reduction would have on poverty.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 30, 2021 at 5:29 pm

Johnson – Universal Credit Claimants Should Rely On Their Own ‘Efforts’ Not Welfare.

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There’s been a flurry of stories about the Universal Credit cut today:

But this stands out.

Boris Johnson Says Universal Credit Claimants Should Rely On Their Own ‘Efforts’ Not Welfare.

“Boris Johnson has defended planned cuts to Universal Credit by suggesting claimants should rely on their own “efforts” rather than accept “welfare”.

The prime minister shrugged off a growing Tory rebellion over the removal of the £1,000-a-year top-up to the benefit, which was introduced to cushion the impact of the Covid pandemic on low-income families.

Everyone on Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit will see the uplift axed on October 6 and a new report warned that households in more than 50 Tory marginals won in 2019 would be among those hardest hit.”

The man who looks like adopting the Bertie Wooster strategy before the Beak of ‘sout denial’ continues

But Johnson made a robust defence of the benefit cut plans, declaring that it was better for people to get more money by working harder than by relying on income that came from other taxpayers.

“My strong preference is for people to see their wages rise through their efforts rather than through taxation of other people put into their pay packets, rather than welfare,” he said.

He added: “The key focus for this government is on making sure that we come out of Covid strongly, with a jobs-led recovery, and I’m very pleased to see the way the unemployment numbers, the unemployment rate has been falling, employment has been rising, but also wages have been rising.”

However, critics point out that many of Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit are actually in work, but are on low wages.

Meanwhile our all-heart Minister is here:

Written by Andrew Coates

August 26, 2021 at 5:09 pm

Dole Cut Still Going Ahead.

“Universal Credit helped me support myself while I worked part-time and started a yoga business.” - Samantha, Wiltshire

Under the Tories the DWP are all Heart….

Ending the £20 Universal Credit uplift will be like ‘taking one leg off’ people, campaigner says

ITV News.

The £20 Universal Credit uplift has proven to be a vital lifeline for families across Wales and should not be scrapped, a campaigner has said.

Sheila Powell, a retiree from Flintshire who herself claims Universal Credit and works with local charities to support people who are struggling financially, said removing the uplift would be like “taking one leg off” those struggling.

The Universal Credit uplift was introduced as an economic support measure to help families on lower incomes at the beginning of the pandemic, with the UK Chancellor announcing it in his March 2020 Budget.

Working Tax Credits were also topped up by £20 as part of the UK Government’s uplift.

The Universal Credit uplift was subsequently extended in March 2021 for another six months and is due to expire at the end of September.

Those claiming Working Tax Credits were given a one-off £500 payment earlier this year around the time the UC uplift extension was announced.

Comment:

The more you look at it the more the £20, which those on ‘legacy benefits’ never got, was and is important.

Look at these details:

Universal Credit cut: Everything you need to know Desde.com.

As it stands, the government is set to slash benefits by £20 a week – equivalent to £1,040 a year – from 6 October. The exact date  people will see the cut kick in will depend on the day they get their Universal Credit payment. For many, this means September will be the last month they see their benefits paid at existing levels.

How many people will be affected?

If plans go ahead, the cut will hit nearly six million people on Universal Credit. More than a third (38%) of those who’ll see their income hit are already in employment, while one in six (16%) are under 25.

Latest figures show roughly 1.9 million families with children will see their benefits cut.

Regions that will see the biggest proportion of residents hit by the cut are London and the North East.

How much could I lose?

While every Universal Credit claim will drop by around £85 a month, the proportion of income claimants will lose will vary depending on their circumstances.

Single people under 25 are set to be hit by the biggest drop.

Monthly standard allowances will drop:

  • By a quarter for single claimants under 25, from £344 to £257.33
  • By a fifth for single claimants over 25, from £411.51 to £324.84
  • By 17% for joint claimants under 25, from £490.60 to £403.93
  • By 14% for joint claimants over 25, from £596.58 to £509.91

Previous analysis by Citizens Advice shows £20 a week is equivalent to six days of energy costs or three days of food costs for a low-income family.

What support is available if I’m worried about my income?

You’re not alone and there is support available. Everyone’s situation is different so it’s important to seek independent help from somewhere like Citizens Advice. Depending on your circumstances, this could include:

  • A benefits check. This will help you verify you’re getting all the support you’re entitled to. You can use an online calculator or contact your local Citizens Advice.
  • Support with essential costs. You can contact your local council to see if they can give you any extra help from a hardship fund, including food or essential things like clothes. Check your local council on GOV.UK.
  • Help with debt. Some bills can cause you more problems than others if you don’t pay them. Rent or mortgage arrears, energy bills and council tax are your priority debts as there can be serious consequences if you don’t pay them. Citizens Advice can provide guidance if you’re struggling with bills.
  • Free school meals. If you have children and you get certain benefits, you might be able to get free school meals for your children.
  • Food bank vouchers. If you can’t afford the food you can ask for a referral from Citizens Advice or an organisation that’s already supporting you – for example, a charity, school or children’s centre – for a food bank voucher.
May be a Twitter screenshot of 1 person and text that says "RD Hale @RD Hale Why the hell are we still paying for 2nd homes for MPs on £80K a year, when Universal Credit doesn't cover the cost of running one home for an ordinary family? 05 Aug 21 Twitter Web App 22:29"

This below might affect some people here, or those we know:

Written by Andrew Coates

August 10, 2021 at 5:35 pm