Tories Tax Cuts for Wealthy Austerity and Poverty for rest of us

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Demand for ‘baby banks’ soars as benefit cuts bite

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Many new mothers are becoming reliant on handouts for basics such as nappies, wipes and bottles

Hannah Peck, founder of Baby Basics, is busy. From a church storeroom in Sheffield, she runs a charity that provides essential baby products to vulnerable new and expectant mothers. In the four years since the project began, the number of requests for goods has never been higher.

Similar to a food bank, donations from the public are sorted and handed out to local people in need. All users of the service are referred by healthcare professionals such as midwives, health visitors and social workers.

Volunteers prioritise requests according to the soonest baby due date. Since 2009 the charity has given out more than 1,000 moses baskets, each packed full of nappies, bottles, clothing and bedding.

Full Guardian Article here


What the welfare cuts mean for us: ‘The feeling of dread never goes away’

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The government is three years into a savage programmme of welfare cuts.

Coalition ministers say they aim to save billions on benefits and help ‘hard-working people’

while ending a culture of dependency. But what does this mean for people who need support?

For the past two years Joe McPhillips has spent a lot of time standing at the window, waiting for the postman. “I couldn’t leave without knowing if the postman had been. I’ve stood at the window sometimes four or five hours, just because I felt so insecure. I’ve heard there are more cuts coming.”

Just before Christmas two years ago McPhillips received a letter that declared in angry red block capitals: “Your benefits are being cut.” Two days later he took an overdose and would have died if his brother hadn’t discovered him in time, and rushed him to hospital.

McPhillips, 59, has serious mental-health problems, which forced him, several years ago, to leave the job as an industrial saw sharpener he had held for 25 years. He depends on a handful of benefit payments – disability living allowance (DLA), employment and support allowance, and housing benefit. News of the looming wholesale benefit changes unsettled him so profoundly that he has since tried three times to take his life.

Eviction notices surge by 26%

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13/12/2013 | By Carl Brown, Gene Robertson

Welfare squeeze sparks tougher approach by landlords on arrears, survey reveals

The number of eviction warning notices issued to social tenants because of rent arrears has soared by more than a quarter in a year.

An exclusive Inside Housing survey of 113 social landlords across Britain reveals councils, arm’s-length management organisations and housing associations are increasingly using the threat of eviction to protect their income in the face of welfare reform and the squeeze on living standards.

The survey shows the landlords issued 99,904 notices seeking possession for rent arrears in April to November this year, compared with 79,238 for the same period in 2012 – a 26 per cent increase.

Sam Lister, policy and practice officer at the Chartered Institute of Housing, said the tougher approach was ‘sadly not surprising’ as ‘welfare reform is causing real difficulty’.

He added that landlords have to recover rent owed to them. ‘To not do so would be unfair to tenants who are paying their rent… and would leave landlords unable to meet their commitments,’ he said.

An NSP is the first step towards eviction and informs a tenant the landlord intends to take legal action to recover the property.

Berneslai Homes had the highest increase in NSPs issued. The number of NSPs issued by the 18,900-home ALMO nearly trebled from 760 to 2,184.

A spokesperson for Berneslai said the increase was due to rent arrears ‘as a result of changes to benefit entitlement and tenants in work who don’t receive housing benefit but are feeling the pressure on household budgets’.



Daily Mirror December 17th 2013

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Derbyshire Firefighters left their picket line after hearing that a two-car crash was life-threatening

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Brave Firefighters  left their  picket line on Friday night after hearing of a possible life-threatening two-car crash in Derbyshire.

It was on Friday  aprox 9.30pm when firefighters on strike at Swadlincote fire station were informed by police of the crash, in Burton Road, Midway Derbyshire.

Read a more biased account here :

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