What is really happening to the poor amid this avalanche of cuts?

January 16th, 2013

My own constituency, Oldham West, is one of the poorest in the country.   How are they being affected by the cascade of cuts?   Housing benefit cuts in April will particularly impact on pensioners, families on low incomes, disabled people (many already traumatised by Atos assessments of their alleged capability for work), the long-term sick , and the jobless.   The so-called bedroom tax will hit those classified as ‘over-occupying’ their property.   People with 1 bedroom more than they are supposed to need will have their housing benefit cut by 14%, and with 2 bedrooms more than they need a cut of 25%.   This will affect about 2,000 households in Oldham.   Moving to a smaller property will be difficult because of the housing shortage (there are 8,500 on the waiting list in Oldham) and because of the priority given to homeless people. 

A ‘universal credit’ is being introduced which limits the total of all benefits that can be received, including housing benefit, child benefit, income support and all other social income including crisis loans.   This will affect about 200 families in Oldham, will add pressure to already tight budgets for many large families, and will increase the risk of rent arrears.

The Council Tax rebate is now being cut by 10%, but pensioners who are nearly half of these claimants are exempted so that persons of working age will now have to pay 20-25% of their Council Tax bill which is likely to be £3.50-£6 a week.   It is expected that 17,000 people of working age in Oldham will now have to pay this extra amount.   Further, if these extra tax payments cannot easily be collected, it is likely that the outstanding arrears will have to be redistributed to other Council Tax payers.  

In addition the government has just announced, in Osborne’s Autumn Statement last month, that not only is public sector pay being held down to a 1% increase over each of the next 3 years when inflation is running at 2-3% (in other words, after inflation they will be 1-2% worse off each year), but benefits and tax credits are also being restricted each year to the same 1% increase.   That means that a quarter of Oldham’s population is about to suffer, on top of cuts already made, a further cumulative cut in their standard of living.   As a result of all these measures it is estimated that the poorest tenth of households will in cash terms be an average of £3,995 a year worse off, or £76 a week, which is some 32% of their annual income.   It should be noted that many, if not most, of these cuts will affect persons in work since a high proportion of working people today are in poverty, defined as having an income less than 60% of the median wage which is about £390 a week).

The government have also just announced, in the local authority settlement by Eric Pickles, that the 50 Councils with the biggest cuts (including Oldham and Rochdale), where a third of children live in poverty, face spending reductions on average of £160 per head of population.   By contrast, the 50 Councils with the smallest cuts in the prosperous southern shire counties, where child poverty is less than 10%, will have their expenditure reduced by just £16 per head of population.

5 Responses to “What is really happening to the poor amid this avalanche of cuts?”

  1. Adam cook Says:

    See what pickles has turned down

    http://youtu.be/MPGgRU8r20Y

    Eric pickles goes against his planning inspector to refuse opportunities for disabled students
    Read the ponderosa appeal

  2. Carole Kent Says:

    Michael Meacher, I applaud your eternal protection of the poor in the UK. Below are other points born out of the same concern.

    .We all contracted into The National Insurance ACT. For living expenses, rent costs and healthcare for when we found ourselves in need. It is a Statute, requiring our consent. Once consented into (monthy payments made and received, beneficial to both, is evidence of contract) it becomes a binding contract. Protected by the ‘force of Law’. By reducing that provision government are breaching that contract. Why aren’t they being summonsed to a court? With help from the Police?

    . JobSeeker’s ACT forms part of the N.I. provision for the above. It already has a clause that one had to be continually actively seeking work in order to claim their right to these benefits. These new Work Programme amendments can only be lawful if all contractees consent to it’s addition.

    The people DO NOT CONSENT. These moves are therefore also unlawful and illegal. Despite what the judge says. He is WRONG.

    . Those who refuse to go on the Nazi Work Programme are suddenly left without any money at all. Yet have to wait 2 weeks before they can claim ‘Hardship Allowance’ … !!! Which amounts to around £40 a week. If they hadn’t died from starvation in the previous 2 weeks, that is. Shameful. Many were refused payment this last Christmas Eve – outrageous! Spiteful, even …

    . Doctor’s opinions should be reinstated and their decision accepted as final. In regards to Sickness and Disability payments. Who will soon be forced into the same Nazi Work Programme as the able unemployed.

    . They need to calculate Housing Benefit on gross pay, not net, as they currently do. This means that no notice is taken of the £50 plus youths pay every week in, ironically, Taxes and NI contributions. Poss this happens just with youths’ claims.

    . Non-dependent deductions for youths, forced to stay at home till they are 30 anyway, should be restricted to a £20 contribution for both Rent and Council Tax deductions. Any higher amount makes taking a job for youths untenable. Currently they are being asked for up to £40 per week to make up the deductions from their parents HB and CTB. Because they are in-work non-dependents in the same home. Forced to stay with their parents as HB help will not be given to them for their own place under the age of thirty. This causes considerable stress in households. I suspect these consequences to have been deliberate.

    . Council Tax comes under The Local Government Finance ACT. It is also a statute. An offer to contract into services from your local Council. You can refuse to contract in with them. As HB is reduced further Council Tax payments will increasingly go out the window. As it is a contract you CAN negotiate with your local Council, therefore. Only contract into whatever CTB will pay. Renewed every year. At 50% reduction, at least, given they had shedloads of money left over to invest in places like the banks in Iceland. A mere small part of millions of pounds worth of investments made by UK Councils, in places other than their own. Tho Councils themselves are not currently aware of the concept of people having the right to haggle over individual contracts made with them. Or are not owning up to it. Soon they will have to. Or face no revenue from the poor at all.

    .Councils are registered trading companies. As are our Courts and Police Stations. They are there to make profits. And are starting to look collectively like a ‘racket’. Mis-using our Police forces as protectors of these revenue collectors. They need to be reined in.

  3. Jamie Says:

    Excellent way of putting it Caroline

  4. Rainbow Lizzie Says:

    Micheal Meacher MP Labour, we auad you for your ever strong support you give to protect the sick and disabled, where ever we are in the country, as a whole God Bless you. We as disabled and the sick support you in every way. As we fight the right to be human, for our dignity, humaniity, in our humiliation, , deprivisation, descrimination againt us and in unprecedented poverty, God Bless you. thank you also Caroline as above for the excellent way of putting across the above points born from the above, we salute you in Solidarity. As we the poor, sick, disabled keep up the good fight together in unity and Solidarity. ‘The people should not be afraid of the government, The Government should be Afraid of the PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!’ Blessings and Thank you.

  5. John Lezemore Says:

    What Mr.Meacher is doing I feel is with heart felt concern and should be commended immensly by so many of us who are unfortunate to have met with some form of illness or disabilty or even accident at some stage in life.

    This does happen and can to anyone at any stage.

    Up and till the union of the coalition and IDS in the background, individuals felt some form of security from the state should one become a victim of illness or disabilty.

    These cushions of security have been removed at an unbelievable rate over the past two years.

    The persecution faced by millions is frightening making sick people worse. ATOS / DWP and the revolving door scenario is tantemount to mental torture.

    I can not understand as to why the media have a type of gagging order in place so as not to make the UK citizens aware of what is actually taking place.

    Maybe if they did publicize the horrific truth of what is taking place many more would consider what if this happened to them and would cause major concerns amongst the masses.

    I truly believe many more of us should lobby the newspaper groups to expose this dreadful goverments cleansing policies for what it is.

    I am sure we all wish Mr.Meacher well in his tremendous efforts in which to secure a meeting with the Ministers and a delegation.

    The callous refusal to a meeting with spartacus by Mr.Hoban is a clear admission of the guilt revealed in their unlawful policies, deceipt and lies.

    Thankyou so much Mr.Meacher.

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