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BEDROOM TAX

More than 50,000 families have been uprooted and silently shipped out of London, leaked official documents have revealed.

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More than 50,000 families have been uprooted and silently shipped out of London, leaked official documents have revealed.

An investigation by i, the sister paper of i100.co.uk, uncovered the true scale of the “social cleansing” taking place across the capital.

Problems arise when families cannot afford homes in their local area and are relocated by councils into other boroughs, creating a domino effect across London and beyond.

The unprecedented number of families being cut off from their relatives and support networks in this way coincides with the coalition government’s introduction of the benefit cap and the so-called bedroom tax.

These charts show the true extent of the issue:

homeless placement

homeless placement

homeless placement

Campbell Robb, the chief executive of the homeless charity Shelter, commented:

It’s shocking to see in black and white the sheer volume of homeless families being uprooted and sent miles away from their local area.

It’s the housing shortage that has created this crisis, and the only way to escape it for good is for the next government to build the affordable homes we so desperately need.

A spokesman for London Councils said:

Boroughs aim to keep households as near as possible to their home borough where reasonably practicable. However, they are facing huge challenges in finding affordable temporary accommodation in the capital in the context of a very pressured property market and shortage of housing in London.

 

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Owen Jones: Which side are you on? Seven areas of protest that need your help

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Britain has a proud history of rebellion, but widespread anger is not being translated into political action today. Why is that?

Protesters at the Hovis bakery in Wigan, August 2013.
Protesters at the Hovis bakery in Wigan, August 2013. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

Struggle, protest, rebellion: these are great traditions in our country that we do not celebrate enough. Much of our history is a series of struggles against authority for rights and freedoms that the powerful often only grudgingly conceded. Think of the Peasants’ Revolt of the 14th century, or the English Revolution of the 17th century; the suffragettes or the Chartists of the 19th century. By using their collective power, otherwise voiceless people won dramatic and sweeping change.

Why don’t more people protest today in the tradition of our ancestors? Often there is a sense of resignation, an absence of hope or lack of faith in an alternative to current injustices. Anger is often redirected to those at the bottom of the pile: immigrants or unemployed people. People may fear consequences if they engage in political action. As our ancestors demonstrated, protest and struggle are crucial for progressive social change. We need to keep that tradition alive if we are to build a just and equal society.

Tax justice

Around £25bn is lost each year through tax avoidance in Britain, even as the wealth of the richest 1,000 Britons has doubled and services are slashed. But while tax avoidance once languished on the fringes of political debate, it is now one of the great causes of our time. Above all, that’s because protest groupUKUncut occupied tax-dodging businesses, using social media to organise demonstrations and bypass an unsympathetic mainstream media. It proved that peaceful civil disobedience can pay off, forcing otherwise ignored issues onto the political agenda.

Anti-racism

Racism haunts British society, whether it’s the targeting of black people through police stop-and- search, higher poverty rates for minorities, or the negative media portrayal of Muslims. Media Diversified is fighting to have proper representation of black and minority ethnic (BME) voices, and needs support; Unite Against Fascism and Hope Not Hate take the fight against racism to the streets, andStopWatch campaigns against disproportionate stop-and-search.

Feminism

The statistics are chastening if you think equality has been achieved. Over a million British women face domestic violence a year; 85,000 are raped. Only around one in five MPs are women, and women are underrepresented in journalism, are paid less and are concentrated in the lowest paid jobs.

But there is a thriving new wave of feminism. Groups like Sisters Uncut are taking to the streets to demand equality. The White Ribbon Campaign tackles male violence against women. And groups like Calm are trying to change the damage done to men and women through the policing of gender roles, including sexism and homophobia.

Living wage

Working people are Britain’s wealth creators, and yet most Britons in poverty are in work. Billions are spent on in-work benefits that subsidise low pay, ranging from working tax credits to housing benefit. Yet there are success stories. Workers at Brixton’s Ritzy cinema staged a series of strikes and through social media encouraged customers to boycott the cinema, winning themselves a pay hike.

When workers fight for decent pay, back them: publicly boycott their employers, and even join workers on the picket line if you can.

Housing crisis

Five million are trapped on social housing waiting lists, one in four young Londoners grows up in an overcrowded home, and people are increasingly driven into the expensive private rented sector. Campaigns like Focus E15 and the New Era estate won victories, drove the crisis on to the agenda, and set an example for others to follow.

Workers’ rights

Zero-hours contracts, agency contracts; there is no shortage of attempts to strip workers of hard-won basic rights.

Tony Blair once infamously boasted that Britain had the most restrictive anti-trade union laws in the western world. We need to preserve trade unions so they can win their members a proper slice of the wealth they’re creating. Join a union – and encourage colleagues to do so too.

Environmental justice

The global crash seemed to drive the environment down the political agenda, but climate change activists are now making it a bread-and-butter issue about jobs. The anti-fracking movement has taken the fight to fossil fuels and are demanding real investment in the renewable industries of the future.

Naomi Klein’s recent book This Changes Everything underlined the existential threat posed by climate change, while the Campaign Against Climate Changestaged a large show of force in London this month.

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10 facts about Migrants to the UK that the Daily Mail hopes you never discover October 22, 2014

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Most recent data show
  1. Just 2.7% of Unemployment Benefit Claimants [JSA] are EU Migrants
  2. 99% of National Insurance Numbers issued to foreigners are for workers not the jobless
  3. EU Migrants from Poland & A8 Countries contribute a net £16bn+ benefit per year to the UK economy [2009 data]
  4. Just 38,000 EU Migrants claim JSA at a cost of £140m to the taxpayer
  5. NHS ‘Tourism’ from overseas visitors using the NHS costs 0.1% of the NHS Budget
  6. EU Immigrants from Poland and other A8 countries pay 39% more in taxes than they get back in state expenditure on them
  7. A UK born person of working age is 150%+ more likely to be receiving benefits than a foreign born person resident in the UK
  8. 93% of foreign born persons of working age in the UK do not receive benefits
  9. EU Migrants from Poland and other A8 countries are 60% less likely to live in Social Housing than UK citizens.
  10. In 2011, 67% of Poles & other EU (A8) nationals who attempt to claim benefits in the UK were refused

Bedroom tax bites as low-income tenants choose between ‘heat or eat’

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Bedroom tax bites as low-income tenants choose between ‘heat or eat’

Hardship study by DWP finds majority of affected tenants unable to meet rent shortfall, but downsizing is not an option
Bedroom tax

Hard-pressed tenants are cutting back on food and energy, or running up debts to try to meet rent payments, the report finds. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

Thousands of low-income tenants have been plunged into “heat or eat” hardship as a result of the bedroom tax, a government-commissioned analysis of the policy’s impact reveals.

The study, published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), finds that 60% of the 523,000 tenants affected have been unable to meet housing benefit shortfalls of between £14 and £22 a week in full.

The report finds that hard-pressed tenants are cutting back on food and energy, or running up debts with friends or high-credit lenders to try to meet rent payments.

Although one in five claimants has registered an interest in downsizing, shortages of smaller properties mean just 4.5% of tenants had been able to move to a smaller home.

Four-fifths of claimants told researchers they were finding it “very” or “fairly” difficult to meet the shortfalls, and many said they would continue to spend less on household essentials over the next 12 months.

One social landlord told researchers: “Our customers (tenants) are in severe hardship through this reduction in housing benefit and many are needing vouchers for food banks after making rent payments.

“Customers are distraught and telling us they cannot cope and we are dealing with regular threats of suicide.”

Tenants told researchers that financial pressure caused by the bedroom tax mean that they struggled to afford school uniforms, or family swimming trips. They had cut down on going out, or having grandchildren round for a meal.

The work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, defended the government’s package of housing benefit changes, saying that the DWP was “on track” to have saved over £6bn by next April.

A DWP spokesperson said that 4.5% of social tenants moving in the first six months of the bedroom tax policy was “a promising start”.

Social landlords reported rent arrears were up 16% since April 2013, although it was difficult to attribute this rise entirely to the bedroom tax.

The report notes that just 45 tenants were evicted as a direct result of the bedroom tax during the first six months of its implementation – over half of them by one unnamed social landlord.

However, more than 35% of tenants affected by the bedroom tax had been issued with formal eviction warning letters by autumn 2013. Social landlords predicted “widespread concern about potential future evictions”. Researchers Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research and pollsters Ipsos Mori based their work on detailed interviews and surveys with claimants, social landlords and local authorities.

The report, which was published as the government undertook a major ministerial reshuffle this morning – covers the first six months of the bedroom tax after its introduction in April 2013.

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60% Of ‘Bedroom Tax’ Houses In Arrears Due To Cut In Benefits

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60% Of ‘Bedroom Tax’ Houses In Arrears Due To Cut In Benefits

Posted: 15/07/2014 21:38 BST Updated: 15/07/2014 21:59 BST
BEDROOM TAX

Almost 60% of households affected by the “bedroom tax” changes were in arrears as a result of the cut to their housing benefit, an internal Government review has found. Under the policy, social tenants deemed to have a spare room see their rent eligible for housing benefit reduced by 14%, rising to 25% if they have two or more extra bedrooms.

The review found that there was widespread concern that those affected were “making cuts to household essentials” or incurring credit card or payday loan debts to make up the shortfall. The Government was accused of “sneaking out” the report on the day of the Cabinet reshuffle, and Labour described the policy as “cruel”.

Some 20% of those affected had paid none of the shortfall and 39% had only paid their landlords part of the money owed, the interim report for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) found. The report found 522,905 households were affected by the policy in August 2013, which equates to 11.1% of social tenancies.

Some 4.5% of claimants downsized to avoid being hit by the measure within the social housing sector within six months of the removal of the spare room subsidy (RSRS) policy coming into force in April last year. The report found 18% of affected claimants said they had looked to earn more, rising to 50% of those who said they were unemployed and seeking work.

But the report said: “Landlords reported that, five months into the RSRS, 41% of tenants have paid the full RSRS shortfall, 39% have paid some and 20% have paid none. There was widespread concern that those who were paying were making cuts to other household essentials or incurring other debts in order to pay the rent.”

Some 57% of claimants were cutting back on household essentials and 35% on non-essentials in order to pay their shortfall. A quarter of claimants (26%) said they had borrowed money – 21% from family and friends, 3% said they had borrowed on a credit card and 3% had taken payday loans – although it was not known whether they had a history of borrowing for other purposes. Some 10% had used savings and 9% been given money by their family.

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Poor Suffer Most As Benefits Cut In Real Terms Today (GRAPH)

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Poor Suffer Most As Benefits Cut In Real Terms Today (GRAPH)

The Huffington Post UK  |  By  Posted: 07/04/2014 13:25 BST

Benefits have been cut again today, as the annual 1% cash terms increase is effectively a cut as it is still below the rate of inflation.

The real terms cut today is due to last year’s introduction by MPs of the Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill, which aimed to cut £5 billion from the welfare bill.

Work and pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, who guided the bill through Parliament, told MPs that the move would be a “fair settlement” for workers and people on benefits.

However, the below-inflation rise means people relying on things like jobseeker’s allowance or housing benefit will feel a continued squeeze. Only disability benefits and the state pension will be protected.

At the time of the bill’s passing, critics warned that the cuts would “punish the poorest”, and the Institute for Fiscal Studies has shown exactly that in this graph.

The IFS calculates that 2.5 million households without anyone in work will lose an average of £215 per year in 2015-16, while seven million households with someone in work will lose an average of £165 per year.

ifsbenefitscuts

Oxfam’s director of UK poverty, Chris Johnes, said: “Yet again, working-age benefits, which poor families rely upon, are bearing the brunt of the Government’s cuts. The benefits budget seems to be the child constantly picked on, whose unpopularity makes it easy fodder for the axe.

“Already, compared to average earnings, benefits are at their lowest levels since the welfare state was founded. On top of this, inequality will deepen as the proposed changes in the Bill are undoubtedly going to hit poor families hardest.”

This comes after official figures disproved David Cameron’s claim that the number of households without work doubled under the last Labour government.

The prime minister said claims by the Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, that recent changes to the benefits system had left many facing hunger and destitution were “simply not true”.

Cameron said the reforms were not just about “making the numbers add up”, but were intended to bring “new hope” to people who had previously been written off by the system.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/04/07/benefits-uprating-1-cut-real-terms_n_5103616.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

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