Monday, 02 March 2015

Charities attempt to stop benefit cuts

More than 20 charities and organisations have called on the government to scrap its latest welfare cuts ahead of a key commons vote tomorrow.

Umbrella organisation Homeless Link, and the charities The Children’s Society and Barnados are among those to back the call. The open letter, published in the Observer newspaper yesterday, warns that plans to cap increases in benefits will cause hardship to millions of people.

The letter said: ‘If introduced, this hardship penalty will hurt millions of families across the country – families already struggling to pay for food, fuel, rent and other basics.

‘The government must make sure that increases in benefit rates at the very least reflect rises in the cost of living. Otherwise, this toll will deepen inequality and increase poverty.’

It explained thousands of people have had to turn to food banks for help and 6 million households are struggling to heat their homes.

Chancellor George Osborne announced last month that increases to local housing allowance base rates, which are used to calculate housing benefit for private renters, will be capped at 1 per cent – less than the rate of inflation – for two years from April 2014. Most working age benefits, including employment and support allowance, income support, and jobseeker’s allowance will also be uprated by 1 per cent over the next three years, as will child tax credits and working tax credits.

MPs are due to debate and vote on the measure, contained in a piece of legislation called the Welfare Benefits Uprating Bill, tomorrow. Labour has said it will vote against it.


Readers' comments (26)

  • As if Ozborne and his cronies aren't aware of the hardships these tactics will cause and it is niaive to attempt to appeal to a 'better nature' when none exists. Yet they are not quite accurate in stating that this will deepen inequality because, in time, all will be equal in poverty, food rationing and hardships. All, that is except those, like the charity bosses and all of the thieving Ozborne class who have created a £500 Trillion plus deficit for which they have so kindly made the public guarantors to fund their profiligate destructive Agenda 21.

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  • Excellent that at least some third sector organisations have the courage and conviction to stand up and be counted on the need to challenge bad policy. The dangers of 'political' activity are real fore charities and other public grant recipients. But the sector's role cannot always be to go on 'taking the money' whislt only to passively mediate and ameliorate. Food kitchens are legitimate and commendable in themselves, but providing them is no answer when public policy is what is creating them.

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  • Oh dear the debt was created by the Last government who spent far more than they earned for thirteen years. much to buy votes and now will not tell the truth to the people.
    All government spending needs cutting by 25% at least to balance the books. the government is trying to do this slowly. probably too slowly, because too many people have become welfare dependent. Local councils to, spent far too much, particularly on pet projects and nothing jobs.
    Of course the rich should pay there taxes and Foreign PLC's should be made to pay corporation tax in the UK.
    But the maximum of all welfare benefits should be set at a maximum of 85% of the minimum wage for each adult in the family.

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  • Given the circumstances a 1% increase is very generous.
    They should have been frozen at the present level for at least 10 years.
    Worth remembering most people in the world live on a dollar a day (60p)
    Charity begins at home, so how about the charities redirecting the money that goes to 'advisers' foreign war lords and arms supplies, back home.

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  • Rick Campbell

    " Charities attempt to stop benefit cuts" and the uncharitable will sneer ...

    On the subject of charities:

    Progress towards Big Society 'glacially slow', charities say

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  • Many people using food banks are those who are working but may have had their working hours cut, or have been out of work for a little while – they still have paid their bills, mortgage but just need that little help to get back on their feet.

    John you are correct, Labour wasted so much money on IT projects that would never work, sold off the countries gold when it was as its lowest but money was needed in the economy and public services. Governments, Labour and Conservative, since the formation of the welfare state have governed by consensus politics, each building more and more layers of state benefits. Until now – I believe there is a new reality that still cannot continue. Some people don’t believe this but I’ve really yet to hear any real alternatives to welfare cuts.

    Tax the bankers, the rich, collect more corporation tax - all these don't really work. I can only say those who want to keep or extend benefits are you prepared for a rise in your taxes? Of course, benefits should be available to those who need that helping hand and most people are happy to help in this way. Benefits, like public sector workers (as really that are sort of the same) should certainly be capped to the same percentage as the public sector.

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  • Alpha One

    It's unfair that benefits should not go up in line with inflation, but then neither do wages, and thats the reason for the cap.

    Why should I slug my guts out all year to get 1% (if that for most) when I see the Frank Gallaghers of this world passed out on park benches, but still enjoying inflation level raises in their benefits payments.

    If benefits were restricted in such a way so as to only allow people to spend them on food and the essentials then there would be a good argument for not capping them. But until they stop handing cash to benefits claimants who then spend portions of it on fags and booze, Osborne is just in capping increases.

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  • Daedalus

    DaftAida | 07/01/2013 10:05 am
    "all of the thieving Ozborne (sic) class"

    What an incredibly discriminatory comment branding a large number of number with a single pejorative comment. Such an outrageous example of discrimination is breathtaking. If such a comment were aimed at other groups of people there would be an uproar on this web site.

    Double standards are OK when the discrimination is justified is it?

    Disgusting to make such a generalisation with so little knowledge.

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  • Eric Blair

    I think those charities are spot on with this. Their open letter pointed out 'six million households are struggling to afford to heat their homes.' Not a small issue because living in cold conditions can erode your health (it raises blood pressure), and it kills people.

    'Nearly half of teachers say they often see children going hungry' says the letter. It's taken two years for this government to turn England into a dystopian nightmare. Fight them!

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  • Colin Mcculloch

    Having read the comments on this article, it seems the Goverment has already won its battle for public support in its final cull of the welfare state.

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