80,000 children in temporary accommodation

Red Brick

The homelessness ‘safety net’ suffered another blow last week when Westminster Council decided to prevent homeless households from bidding for social housing for 12 months after the Council accepts it has a duty towards them. The Council plans to discharge its duty in most cases by identifying private rented accommodation for them.

Housing now receives quite a lot of media coverage but very little is devoted to homelessness. Last week there was a short Panorama programme and a few media outlets picked up on the latest increase in the number of households in temporary accommodation. But this is an era when it seems even ‘Cathy Come Home’ would leave the country unmoved.

It seems that homelessness has become part of the ‘scrounger’ narrative that rules the media so completely. Anyone seeking state help is fair game (unless you are a pensioner or a member of the royal family). The cynicism…

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The minimum income is 2.5 times what people get on benefits – but still they are labelled scroungers

Mike Sivier's blog

140630minimumincome The numbers speak for themselves: Under ‘Adequacy of safety-net benefits’, EVERY SINGLE INCOME GROUP has lost out. While others have suffered a great percentage drop, single working-age people remain the least able to make ends meet.

“How much money do you need for an adequate standard of living?”

That is the question posed every year by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation – and every year the organisation calculates how much people have to earn – taking into account their family circumstances, the changing cost of these essentials and changes to the tax and benefit system – to reach this benchmark.

This year’s research finds:

A lone parent with one child now needs to earn more than £27,100 per year – up from £12,000 in 2008. A couple with two children need to earn more than £20,200 each, compared to £13,900 each in 2008. Single working-age people must now earn more…

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#DWPChaos Parked on ESA WRAG for a year now out of system ……..

Diary of an SAH Stroke Survivor

………Indeed this was Iain Duncan Smiths GOAL all along.












Right my complaint has been ongoing ever since migration from Incapacity Benefit and indeed it has turned into a giant of a complaint spanning a couple of years as the blogs above show (they are spread all over this blog so decided to bring them all onto one page) .

There are moral points of view regarding this complaint which as you know our government does not take into consideration and thus it is my believe that this is partly why they are going wrong also after all not everyone fits in the same bag but that is what they are trying to do.

There has to be some understanding, compassion and empathy shown but what we are seeing is lies and brutality and that has to stop anyway I…

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Devastated families face eviction after Britain’s richest MP buys housing estate and hikes up rent

Richard Benyon’s estate has told the social housing tenants in East London there are more rises to come – one resident, Debra Cox, described it as ‘social cleansing’
Devastated families are facing being evicted after the inherited estate of Britain’s richest MP bought a stake in their homes.Tory Richard Benyon’s £110million family firm is part of a consortium that snapped up the housing estate and announced plans for a massive rent hike. Up to 90 households in East London fear the Benyons’ plan to charge “market rents” will treble their bills.

The New Era Estate, in Hoxton, has a long history of providing affordable housing and has been home to some people for 70 years.

Distraught Debra Cox, 49, who has lived there for 18 years, said: “This is social cleansing – this has always been a form of social housing and they just want rid of us. I have been to the council and was told we don’t have a chance of being rehoused.”

Soaring house prices have driven o­rdinary families out of vast swathes of the UK – particularly the capital where the average price of a home rocketed by 18.5% last year. Britain’s housing crisis is worsened by weak legal protection for private tenants, who can be forced out of homes they have lived in for years at a few weeks’ notice.

At a heated meeting on Thursday, teaching assistant Debra told the new landlord: “You do realise that as soon as you put them on at market value, whenever that may be, myself, my husband and my 18-year-old daughter will be homeless?”

Her husband Gary, 50, fumed: “My wife had a seizure during the night brought on by the stress. My wife is ill and I am going to lose my f*****g flat because of you and your mates.”

Protesters occupy Westminster against cuts to disability care funding

The lovely wibbly wobbly old lady

Reposted from the Guardian

This protest is trending on twitter, but surprise, surprise no mention of it on BBC!


· Change

There are approximately 200 police for 60 protesters! (love the strategic placement of the raw compost bin :-)) 

Embedded image permalink

The group has urged the church not to forcibly remove them from its grounds.
The group has urged the church not to forcibly remove them from its grounds. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Demonstrators have set up a camp in the grounds of Westminster Abbey to protest against cuts to financial support for disabled people.

Members of disabled people against the cuts (Dpac) pitched tents and said they intended to occupy the green outside the doors of one of Westminster’s most recognisable landmarks until 22 July. The protest is reminiscent of the occupation that sprang up at St Paul’s Cathedral in 2011.

The Dean of Westminster is expected to negotiate with the…

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Bedroom Tax forced stroke victim to turn to crime so he could pay rent

Ex-airman Adrian Brown begged for a smaller home but council bosses said they didn’t have another – so, hit by mounting debts, he sold a rented TV for £100

Stroke victim Adrian Brown turned to crime to pay the hated Bedroom Tax.

The ex-airman had to fork out an extra £34 on his £97-a-week rent because his council house had unused spare rooms . The 51-year-old begged for a smaller home but council bosses said they didn’t have another specially adapted house. So, hit by mounting debts, he sold a rented TV for £100.

Wheelchair user Adrian, cared for by partner Linda, 43, said: “They were going to kick us out and it was the only thing of real value. It’s disgusting how they have treated someone who served their country. I was willing to put my life on the line for them. I didn’t ask to have a stroke and I didn’t ask for three bedrooms – this was the only one available. Now they have punished me for it.”

He added: “When I knew the bedroom tax was being brought in I asked the council to put us in a one bedroom house. But they said there wasn’t another specially adapted house and we would have to pay the extra money. I didn’t ask for three bedrooms – this was the only one available – and now they have punished me for it.”

Adrian, of Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, was given a conditional discharge by the town’s magistrates and told to pay a £15 victim surcharge.

After the case, housing officials said an adapted one-bed bungalow was now available. But Adrian, paralysed down his left side in 2005, will have to pay the extra rent until he moves in six weeks’ time.

Latest legal aid figures. Social welfare – it’s a wipe out!

Latest legal aid figures. Social welfare – it’s a wipe out!

by nickd (Mylegal), ilegal team

It’s a wipe out!
The Ministry of Justice has today released the latest legal aid statistics. Remember these cuts were once promoted by the Coalition as one of their ‘top achievements’. I can’t help but feel today’s release couldn’t have been timed any better, the breaking news over the Brooks aquittal and Coulson conviction provides the MOJ with the ideal opportunity to slip these statistics out in silence – very much as per their usual transparency agenda….
I’m sure these will be analysed in detail over the weeks to come but for now I just want to draw your attention to the areas of social welfare law once well served by legal aid which helped advice agencies & law centres assist thousands of vulnerable individuals battle for their benefits – no easy task when your opponent is none other than the Secretary of State.
Download the data and take a look at “Table 9: Civil Legal Help – Providers available”

Welfare Benefit legal aid providers
   Year                    Number of providers
2011/12                              359
2012/13                             345
2013/14                                11*
* Of the 11, only 1 is a not for profit, the remaining 10 are all solicitors

Debt legal aid providers
   Year                    Number of providers
2011/12                            356
2012/13                            337
2013/14                              51*
* Of the 51, only 12 are not for profit, the remaining 39 are all solicitors

Employment legal aid providers
   Year                     Number of providers
2011/12                           179
2012/13                           169
2013/14                             8*
* Of the 8, there are no not for profit, all 8 are all solicitors

Housing legal aid providers
   Year                   Number of providers
2011/12                           530
2012/13                           509
2013/14                           228*
* Of the 228, 18 are not for profit, the remaining 210 are all solicitors

I’d call it a total wipe out, especially for the not for profit sector. I seem to remember the days when we were once highly regarded as part of what was once called the ‘Community Legal Service’, – but then came along the ‘Big Society’ which promptly saw an end to the once ‘innovative’ evolution of community based legal services.

From Ilegal: http://ilegal.org.uk/thread/8658/latest-legal-figures-social-welfare


Stitching-up claimants is all part of the job, says Jobcentre insider

Last week Iain Duncan Smith met a whistle-blower who has worked for his Department for Work and Pensions for more than 20 years.

Giving the Secretary of State a dossier of evidence, the former Jobcentre Plus adviser told him of a “brutal and bullying” culture of “setting claimants up to fail”.

“The pressure to sanction customers was constant,” he said. “It led to people being stitched-up on a daily basis.”

The man wishes to be anonymous but gave his details to IDS, DWP minister Esther McVey and Neil Couling, Head of Jobcentre Plus, who also attended the meeting.

“We were constantly told ‘agitate the customer’ and that ‘any engagement with the customer is an opportunity to ­sanction’,” he told them.

Labour MP Debbie Abrahams, the member of the DWP Select Committee who set up the meeting, has renewed her call for an inquiry into inappropriate sanctioning.

“I am deeply concerned that sanctions are being used to create the illusion the Government is bringing down unemployment,” she said.

Keighley MP under fire over comments about tenants on housing benefit

KEIGHLEY MP Kris Hopkins is under fire after giving landlords the green light to kick out tenants on housing benefit.

Labour reacted with anger after Mr Hopkins, the housing minister, argued it was a “commercial decision” that any private landlord had the right to make.

He said: “If they actually decide they don’t want to have somebody on housing benefit in the future, that’s a perfectly legitimate thing for them to do.” The comment came after Panorama unearthed new figures revealing the number of evictions from privately-rented houses is rising sharply.

Emma Reynolds, Labour’s housing spokesman, described the attitude as “callous” when tenants were victims of a cost-of-living squeeze and a failure to build enough homes. She said: “It is appalling that David Cameron’s housing minister thinks it’s acceptable for someone to be evicted just because they are receiving social security.”

Speaking afterwards, Mr Hopkins stood by his comments, but added: “All landlords legally have to operate within the terms of their lease and every tenant must be treated fairly and without discrimination. The number of people in the private rented sector on housing benefit nationally has risen in the past two years, showing that landlords are letting to benefit claimants.”

Plymouth people too poor to afford food as 70,000 live in deprivation

MORE than 700,000 people in Plymouth and the South West are so deprived they are going without three or more of the basic necessities of life, according to a new report.

Researchers carrying out the largest study of poverty and deprivation conducted in the UK found that seven per cent of people living in the region could not afford to eat a balanced diet, while about 1.2million could not afford to heat and maintain their home properly.

Some 462,900 (nine per cent) of people could not clothe themselves or their children properly, while 982,000 of the regional population were said to be in “social deprivation” – not able to take part in hobbies and sports, or provide birthday and Christmas celebrations.

In Plymouth the latest NHS figures show 10,200 city children and 67,150 people living in poverty.

Maria Mills, of Plymouth Foodbank, says benefit cuts and the tax system are conspiring to keep people in a “poverty trap.”

“Last year we helped 7,400 people, this year it will be more than 9,000,” she said. “The biggest problem is benefit sanctions, but low income and zero hours contracts are still a big issue. It’s modern slavery.

“I think instead of paying working tax credits or child tax credits, if that money went into allowing employers to pay a decent wage we would have people who could have enough disposable income. At the moment we are keeping people in a poverty trap.”

Overall, 34 per cent were found to be “multiply deprived”. But a Department for Work and Pensions spokesman questioned the findings, saying: “There is strong evidence that incomes have improved over the last 30 years, despite the misleading picture painted by this report,” he said.

“The independent statistics are clear, there are 1.4 million fewer people in poverty since 1998, and under this Government we have successfully protected the poorest from falling behind with a reduction of 300,000 children living in relative income poverty and 100,000 fewer children in workless poor families.”

Nevertheless those behind the report – the Poverty and Social Exclusion in the United Kingdom (PSE) project – insisted they stood by the results of two surveys. Professor David Gordon, from the Townsend Centre for International Poverty Research at the University of Bristol, led the project which involved 14,559 people in the UK.

“The coalition Government aimed to eradicate poverty by tackling the causes of poverty. Their strategy has clearly failed,” he said. “The available high-quality scientific evidence shows that poverty and deprivation have increased since 2010, the poor are suffering from deeper poverty and the gap between the rich and poor is widening.