Tag Archives: benefit cap

CAMERON’S ‘GLOBAL RACE’ : THE GREAT LEAP BACKWARDS TO A NEW FEUDAL BRITAIN ?

When I reflect on the past three years of Coalition Rule there’s no doubt in my mind that they are intent on destroying the hard fought rights of ordinary folk to a decent living wage and a secure roof over their heads. Every day, when I read of yet another assault on these rights I fear for the future of my grandson’s generation. The devastation that this government has presided over is astonishing and the insidious and divisive rhetoric of sanctimony that seeps from their mouths and saturates the Tory press is beyond sickening. The question is, why now? The usual trite excuse for austerity  and the complete destruction of the public sector both here and abroad- “its the banks wot dunnit” – doesn’t wash when the only real victims are the poor.

Over the last months it seems every Coalition politician asked to comment on TV or radio for whatever reason has been justifying the decisions and actions of government by referring to the so called ‘global race’ we’re apparently signed up to. What ‘global race’? Who exactly are we competing against here, and what’s the prize? Who’s putting the effort in and who’s reaping the benefits? When did it start? And WHY are we in this ‘race’ in the first place?

01_awelfarea     Back in May 2010, as he took up office at the DWP, the allegedly right honourable Iain Duncan-Smith set out his stall by commenting on the welfare benefit situation he was inheriting. He said,

The rise in working age poverty and continued inequality show that we must make work pay and the first choice for millions of people. It is not right that someone can actually be worse off by taking work, we should be rewarding such positive behaviour by making work pay.

Now tell me if this sounds daft, but if I were going to ‘make work pay’ I’d do something about raising the minimum wage by enough to make it possible for a family to actually have a life worth living; and I’d also do something about making sure there were enough of those jobs for those who needed them.

IDS obviously had other ideas. Since he came out with the quote above we’ve seen his attempts to ‘make work pay’ and heard his sermons with their feeble excuses of ‘fairness’ as justification for shoving more and more people deeper into poverty and precariousness. His reductions in benefits and his welfare caps and his bedroom tax and whatnot have pushed down the incomes of the most vulnerable poor well below the minimum wage level so theoretically it could be said work pays more than benefits – something that a decently paid job always did – assuming there are enough to go round. The point I’m making here, though, is that in order to be able to come on our TV’s and proudly claim that he’s done what he said he would do, in the process he’s made the lives of people who for one reason or another can’t work, far more difficult – and in some cases so impossible they’ve ended those lives in despair – and he’s done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for those people who are desperate to work but can’t find the non-existent decently paid jobs he keeps nagging them to go and get.

Steve Bell cartoon 16.07.2013 The devious lengths he and his ministers have had to go to in order to  impression manage the whole bloody fiasco are mind blowing. The DWP has now become renown for manipulating statistics and reconstructing reality. What with Lord Freud’s completely Freudian denial of the truth about food banks followed closely by IDS’s deadpan attempt to make poverty and homelessness totally disappear through a unilateral act of blind faith I’m left wondering if we should rename the DWP  the Department for Sinister Magic Tricks.

We’ve always known that Tories look down on the poor and do nothing positive to help them and we’ve all seen how our democratic process of government has been even more infected of late by the creeping virus of corporate vested interest. With the imminent EU-US Free Trade Agreement elephant looming large and ominous in the corner, salivating at the thought of all that lovely profit to be made here and rubbing its greedy hands at the thought of cracking its powerful whip if our puny government dares to try to pass any laws to stand in its way, the future for the likes of us is not bright and definitely not as rosy as it will be for companies like Orange.

0 I’m by no means alone in feeling these concerns. There have been numerous reports over the past couple of years presenting the evidence of suffering that Duncan Smith and his ministers want to magic into non-existence. Church groups and charities, the Children’s Commissioner, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and now, writing in today’s Observer, the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu have all expressed deep concern and anger at the growing scandal of our low wage economy. Dr Sentamu asks a very pertinent question in his article, a question which goes to the heart of this government’s pretence of a justification for their cruel cuts and tacitly exposes their smear campaign which labels benefits claimants as scroungers as a dirty lie. Talking about tax credits he says,

“The holes in millions of pay cheques are being plugged by in-work support to the tune of £4bn a year… Why is the government having to subsidise businesses which don’t pay their employees enough to live on? “

 shoes b         9-21-2010-12-37-45-PM

Contained in that question are the real shock horror headlines about benefits scroungers that the Tory loving Daily Mail and Telegraph have not been printing. This is the true story:-

FOUR BILLION POUNDS OF TAX BENEFITS GOING TO HELP SCROUNGING CORPORATIONS SO EXECUTIVES CAN LIVE IN LUXURY WHILE WORKERS’ KIDS GO WITHOUT THE BASIC NECESSITIES.

Coalition rhetoric seems to consist of just a few stock phrases that every minister trots out at every opportunity during interviews and speeches. They never engage in real debate. One of their biggest lies is the one where they tell you they’re on the side of “people who want to work hard and do the right thing” and they imply that people who do this will “get on”.This is their definition of  “striver”. I wonder if they realise that some dictionaries define the word as “one who works as hard as a slave”. So if you decode their message what are they really saying? It seems to me they’re saying they want us to work like slaves and do the right wing thing which is basically to help corporations make more profit. Their talk about Britain being in the ‘global race’ is part of this discourse. When Cameron uses it he implies that if we don’t get ‘match fit’ by being ‘strivers'(slaves) we’ll lose the race. Being ‘strivers'(slaves) we attract business to Britain. The goal of the Coalition (Tory) government is to turn Britain into a slave economy that attracts corporate investment to enrich them and their wealthy mates. They’ve already opened up much of the public sector to private investment and will carry on doing that until its all in private hands (they’ve even sold our blood!). It seems the DWP’s job is to manufacture a suitable workforce conditioned to accept lower and lower wages subsidised by more and more expensive credit from their loan shark friends. Enslavement is the only word for it.   Lets take a look at how far they’ve taken us towards that goal in the last three years.

Graphic-02A   No matter how hard IDS and his magicians spin and weave their web of lies about employment statistics the hard facts are that decent paying full time jobs are difficult to find. The graphic above clearly illustrates how many full time jobs have been lost since 2008 and shows just how precarious work has become. The biggest worrying factor, though, is the incredible rise in the number of people who are now employed on zero hours contracts in this country – especially in the 16 to 24 year old section of the labour market. Back in 2005 there were 50,000 working age people on these contracts. Last year that figure was 200,000. You can get an idea of the pace of change when you learn that between 2011 and 2012 the figure doubled in size. 38% of those 200,000 are under 25 and now 23% of employers of over 100 employees use zero hours contracts. The private health sector are now the second largest users of these contracts with 13% of them now employing nurses and healthcare assistants this way, compared to only 7% back in 2004 – another indicator of the creeping privatisation of the NHS. What’s worse most cleaning and catering firms that employ people on zero hours expect their employees to pay for their own training and uniforms. This information was obtained from House of Commons Library Special Note SN/BT/653 last updated on 4th July 2013.

david-cameron-welf_2438993k  Of course, David Cameron and his corporate cronies at the CBI see this sorry state of affairs in a very different light. They can go out and ‘sell’ Britain’s ‘flexible’ workforce. And it has the added value of making the unemployment figures look good; as Neil Carberry of the CBI said on the BBC on 15th May,

It’s zero hours contracts and other forms of flexible working that mean there are half a million fewer unemployed people than there might otherwise have been.”

Precisely, Neil. And with this in mind you’ll be wondering why David Cameron told Archbishop John Sentamu he thought his concept of a living wage was “an attractive idea”. Was he deliberately lying to the priest or was he doing the usual Tory trick of appearing to agree by not finishing his sentence?  What he surely meant was it was “an attractive idea for some but not the Tories.”

Productivity-and-compensation-1  The Tories’ scurrilous insults about working people can be seen to be even more disgusting if you take the time to think about what this little graph shows. The red dotted line refers to hourly wage rates in UK manufacturing while the rising blue line indicates productivity. Its glaringly obvious that since the 1980’s and Thatcher’s era of destruction, workers’ wages have not kept up with their output. People have been working harder and harder for less and less. This is the most up to date graph I could find but even on this you can see the beginnings of a downturn in the hourly rate in 2010. Its surely no coincidence that since Thatcher’s onslaught on trade unions and the consistent curbing and demonising of union activity ever since that time, workers in Britain have been exploited for their labour. And its certainly no coincidence that the gap between the increasing hard work and the poverty of the reward mirrors the increasingly gaping chasm between rich and poor. For me this graph is a testament to the fact that the wealthy are living it up on the backs of the impoverished. And now, it seems, they want more.

images  One of our most basic needs is to have somewhere safe and secure to live. A home. An affordable home. A recent report from Joseph Rowntree Foundation “Keeping up in Hard Times” (2012) has shown that,

  “From a living standards perspective, it is clear that the majority of low income families have insufficient incomes to comfortably meet an adequate standard of living as defined by the Minimum Income Standard and cover their housing costs. Even at the median, family incomes for owners and private renters do not stretch to cover both costs in a third of local authorities. This is not just an issue in London and the South East. Even in cheaper parts of the country and in lower priced tenures, housing costs can be hard for those on the lowest incomes to afford. For a very low income couple with one child, the cost of meeting the MIS alone is greater than their income of £19k. This means that even a subsidised social rent is unaffordable. “

The report demonstrates that in the whole of the South of England  there is no housing option which doesn’t cost more than 25% of the Minimum Income Standard. For a couple with two children this is calculated to be £23,700 p.a. BEFORE rent and childcare costs are added in. According to IDS, its ‘unfair’ for anyone to receive total benefits greater than £24,000. As the bedroom tax and the benefits cap bites deeper families are going to find themselves in very deep trouble indeed. How many will be forced to move into the cheaper housing areas in Wales and the North, looking for scarce, precarious work? If things don’t change they may well have to.

This won’t be just a divided Britain, this will be Ghetto Britain.

Why has Baron Freud been consulting with his Bankster Mates about our Credit Unions?

italian-banksters    images (11) We’ve all heard the twisted logic coming from David Freud’s lips. Baron Freud’s argument is that because the poor have the least to lose they should take the biggest risks. Perhaps we shouldn’t be all that surprised to hear a former banker talking like this or be further surprised that he seems to measure risk purely in terms of quantities of money and has completely failed to see that while the poor do indeed have less to lose, by losing the small amount of money and possessions they own they would be rendered destitute and homeless. Whereas for the rich to lose the very same amount – the sum total of the poor’s assets – would have no impact whatsoever on the quality of their lives. They certainly wouldn’t go hungry. Freud is not an uneducated man. He’s well aware that the facts I’ve just written above are true. His argument is not based on fact but on a deeply held class prejudice because what he is effectively saying very clearly with his banker’s logic is that the money he and his class own is more important than the very lives of the poor. He knows just as well as we do that when you deprive a human being of the most basic means to survive you condemn them to a slow death. This is the man who has been entrusted with the job of welfare reform. And this is the man who, since early 2011, has been talking to some of the biggest and most notoriously criminal banks about our Credit Unions. Why? images (3)       A Credit Union, as many of you will know, is a member-owned financial cooperative, democratically controlled by its members, and operated for the purpose of promoting thrift, providing credit at affordable rates as well as a few other financial services to its members. Its a very different beast than a commercial bank, not least because it doesn’t exist to make a profit. When the Credit Union Act 1979 was passed it defined the meaning and ethos of Credit Unions and set out their objectives. The central and most basic principle that underpins such organisations is the notion that there is a ‘common bond’ between members. Members were people who had things in common such as being employed in the same industry, living in the same locality, belonging to the same organisation or group or had any other reason to be associated with each other. By virtue of this basic requirement Credit Unions were necessarily small co-operative societies. The objectives laid down in Statute were,

  • the promotion of thrift among the members of the society by the accumulation of their savings;
  • the creation of sources of credit for the benefit of the members of the society at a fair and reasonable rate of interest;
  • the use and control of the members’ savings for their mutual benefit; and
  • the training and education of the members in the wise use of money and in the management of their financial affairs.

Credit Unions were never intended to be banks…. cu_umbrella    Back in July 2006 the then New Labour government started a Growth Fund as part of their Financial Inclusion Fund and in an attempt to encourage growth in run down local economies they handed out grants to Credit Unions so they could provide more loans to local people to help fund small businesses and other projects. They gave Credit Unions grants worth in total £42 million between 2006 and 2008, then pledged a further £38 million to be used between 2008 and 2011. Its estimated that this money benefited around 160,000 people to the tune of £70 million in affordable loans. This was money given up front by government and they took the trouble to do some research and target the most needy areas with the most money. But in 2010 of course the slash and burn Coalition government took over the budget… Mark-Hoban-said-the-euroz-007    In early 2011 DWP Minister Mark Hoban (pictured here with a rather large zit) made a statement about the future of the Financial Inclusion Fund containing a shadowy hint at their plans for Credit Unions,

“The Financial Inclusion Fund will close at the end of March 2011. The Government will work closely with industry and other stakeholders to ensure that tackling financial exclusion remains a high priority. ….. The Financial Inclusion Fund has always been due to close in March 2010(sic). The Government have not yet taken a decision on the future of the projects currently funded from the Financial Inclusion Fund. The Government remain committed to helping poorer households to access appropriate financial services, to improve their financial resilience and to avoid falling into unsustainable levels of debt”

This reference to a commitment to help poorer families access ‘appropriate’ financial services is an ominous one in light of the fate they have in store for Credit Unions. The key is in the use of the word’appropriate’ rather than, say,  ‘affordable’ – because you can be sure its their definition of that word that will prevail given that they have not publicised their plans widely enough to open up the consultation debate to the very poor and low waged who traditionally rely on Credit Unions. We were hearing a great deal about Universal Credit back then  but there was precious little media reporting on this issue at all despite the many opportunities to bring it up whenever there’s been a horror story in the news regarding pay day loan sharks. Its pretty obvious they have deliberately kept it low profile. banks     Whilst a spotty Hoban was speaking in such vague terms to the press, his wily colleague the Baron Freud was consulting with some of the biggest banking and private equity interests in the world. According to DWP records, almost from day one, of the Coalition he was having meetings with a number of big players regarding Credit Unions.

  • In July 2010 he consulted separately with people from Deutsche Bank, UBS and J.P. Morgan for  ‘investment expertise.’
  • In January and February  2011 he met with PMM Partners LLP, a company describing itself as existing for ‘ the purpose of pursuing private equity opportunities in the real estate sector’ and offering help  ‘with all aspects of fund origination, structuring, acquisitions and disposals, due diligence, asset and property management’. One of their customers is Grant Thornton who produced the so-called ‘independent’ report on Furness General Hospital.( http://wp.me/p3mYc5-5J )
  • In April 2011 he met with Barclays who had been ‘donating’ small sums of money -around £30K  – to Credit Unions since 2010 to encourage them to change their business model towards a more mainstream banking version.
  • In December 2011 he met with Barclays again, along with Goldman Sachs and PMM Partners LLP.

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-work-pensions So what’s going on here? Lord Freud seems to be conducting a consultation about the future of Credit Unions by speaking to the banks but not involving the Credit Unions themselves in the process. Well, not quite, but we’ll get to that in a minute…. social-spending-cuts-cartoon        Its important to remember at this point that the grant funding given to Credit Unions by the previous government was coming to an end and the Coalition wasn’t minded to carry it forward. However, Freud and his gang at the DWP knew that they were about to embark on a massive cut in benefits and it can’t have failed to register with them that this was going to leave the poorest people in dire need and thus create a huge market for small loans. There had already been a number of tales of horror about pay day loan sharks getting in on the act with exorbitant interest rates. Credit Unions were the obvious acceptable alternative to this but the tight-fisted, moralising, capitalist Tory attitude baulked at  the thought of simply handing over money with no return. The Baron, it seems, was hatching a cunning plan, which with the right kind of propaganda would make it look like the government was still supporting Credit Unions out of a paternalistic concern for those they were about to impoverish further, when in fact they were about to facilitate a kind of hostile takeover by the Banksters. To this end, back in 2010, they made ambitious claims in the press to be planning to ‘invest’ over £70 million in Credit Unions. 144359404   Freud and Co.then commissioned Experian to do a feasibility study for what they called their ‘Credit Union Expansion Project’. The study found that,

“a market exists amongst people on lower incomes for locally provided banking, savings deposit and loan services from trusted providers such as credit unions:

  • 1.4 million have no transactional bank account at present
  • 4 million incur bank charges

  • up to 7 million use sources of high cost credit”

    http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/credit-union-feasibility-study-report.pdf rman13158l       So there was definitely a market out there and with the roll out of benefit cuts playing in the background any Tory fool could see this was a growing market. But there were problems. The ethos of the Credit Union laid down in statute which kept such organisations small and that relied on a common bond between members didn’t sit well within a market context. The very nature of Credit Unions is to be co-operative not competitive and has a distinctly socialist flavour to it.  Experian saw this as a major drawback and gave the following advice which Lord snooty Freud and his pals have placed at the heart of their expansion programme,

“A major programme of cultural and behavioural change would be required to achieve the modernisation and expansion needed.By achieving the publicly funded change we propose it can speak to the Big Society Bank and other funding organisations as one ‘organisation’ large enough and financially stable enough for investors to be interested in. However, until real change has been achieved there is no realistic opportunity for it to achieve commercial or social investment because it lacks the capacity to repay.”

Now where have I heard that phrase ‘cultural and behavioural change‘ before? 01_awelfarea     It seems the sheer arrogance of this government knows no bounds. Just like IDS the Baron is acting like a feudal lord towards the Credit Unions and by extension to all of us who use them. As members we have shares in them, we OWN them yet here he is treating them as if he has the right to consult with banks behind their backs and make decisions about their future in order to make them a more attractive prospect for the sharks to invest in then impose those decisions on them as a condition for government money which they’ll have to pay back. There’s much more of this draconian approach in the feasibility study that should raise the alarm.

  • Government investment being made in stages on a payment by results basis, with the next stage not approved for commencement until the objectives of the previous stage have been achieved
  • Strict criteria will be applied to ensure that only suitable credit unions, which have already demonstrated sufficient progress are involved.
  • Change programme will need to demonstrate at an early stage a greater capability and willingness to change if Credit Unions want to be selected to participate in a program of behavioural, process and systems change.
  • Legislation to be changed to allow them to charge up to 3.0% pcm ( approx 43% APR) on loans from April 2014.

credit unions    It gets worse. There are over 400 Credit Unions in the UK, some smaller than others. The one I belong to is one of those smaller concerns. Experian didn’t think that government should fully subsidise the gap between income and expenditure for the credit unions in the financial model they produced. This is, in part, because they thought they should be asked to find ways of bridging some of the gap themselves.They point out that this would pose risks for the smaller Credit Unions and as evidence for this they mention that 55 Credit Unions have already had grant funding withdrawn, 25 of which have been forced to cease trading. They also mention that during the course of their study around 80 of the bigger Credit Unions had agreed to sign up for the program BUT they advise this is too big a number, and advise that government  “ will want to select the credit unions you work with in future very carefully.” Following this report the Baron has revised down the figure for investment into this so-called ‘expansion’ of Credit Unions from the £70+ million originally announced to a mere £38 million  to be delivered in phases over 5 years on a payment by results basis. This will effectively be a loan not a grant. So if less than 80 Credit Unions are to be signed up for this what will happen to the remaining 300 plus Credit Unions whose funding will disappear altogether?  images (13)    I said above that it wasn’t quite true that the Baron had only been consulting with big banks over this cunning plan. In fact both he and IDS had just one meeting back in February 2011 with the Association of British Credit Unions Ltd. (ABCUL) who say they represent 70% of Credit Unions and ‘provide a full range of advice, training and development services to help our member credit unions grow and become sustainable financial co-operatives.’ Except for organising a get together of several of the larger Credit Unions in May 2012 where the plans were announced and this year making a patronising token gesture of opening an account for himself at one of the London Credit Unions this is the only serious meeting the Baron has had with anyone who has a grass roots stake in Credit Unions. http://www.abcul.org/media-and-research/news/view/342 On 22nd April this year the Baron announced that ABCUL were ‘the winning bidder in the recent DWP Credit Union Expansion Project (CUEP) procurement exercise.’ The wording of this suggests that there were several bidders for this contract – you can only win something if there’s competition – yet there’s no information on the DWP website at all about this procurement exercise, despite others being available for public scrutiny and despite the government’s trumpeting of itself as aiming to be ‘the most transparent government ever’.(FOI applied for yesterday). And given the lack of evidence of any wider consultation with the shareholders of Credit Unions you have to wonder if ABCUL were given the nod back in early 2011 that the contract was theirs. They have form for this with ATOS. city-of-london1   The question now remains over what part the banks consulted by the Baron are hoping to play in all this. And why he was involving a company like PMM Partners LLB, a private equity firm specialising in real estate. Maybe we can get a taste for what their intentions are by looking across the Atlantic to the United States where the model proposed by the Baron has been playing out for many years, long before the 2008 meltdown. Here are three reasons why Credit Unions should give the big banks a very wide berth indeed

images (4)

The NCUA – the American equivalent of ABCUL – accused London- based Barclays Capital  of breaching state and federal law when it allegedly made misrepresentations in the course of selling securities valued at more than $555 million to the U.S. Federal Credit Union and to the Western Corporate Federal Credit Union between February 2006 and June 2007.Both credit unions were placed under the agency’s conservatorship in March 2009, then into liquidation in 2010. When the NCUA sued Barclays contested it on the grounds that NCUA had left it too late. Both these Credit Unions were part of a corporate consortium of the kind proposed by the Baron for the UK.

http://www.law360.com/articles/381613/credit-union-agency-sues-barclays-over-555m-in-risky-rmbs

download (1)

The National Credit Union Administration Board on Thursday hit a UBS AG unit with claims that the banking giant misrepresented the risk of more than $1.1 billion in residential mortgage-backed securities it sold to two now-defunct credit unions. Again these credit unions were part of the consortium. UBS are another bank to have consulted over here by the Baron …and of course he used to work for them.

http://www.law360.com/articles/376102/credit-union-watchdog-says-ubs-falsely-sold-1-1b-in-rmbs

 y69_07-22-09_goldmansachs_risk1

A federal watchdog for the credit union industry slapped Goldman Sachs with a lawsuit in 2011 alleging violations of federal and state laws tied to the sale of mortgage-backed securities

.goldman-sachs-cartoon    The NCUA filed suit in California district court against the financial firm for damages in excess of $491 million. Specifically, the NCUA claims that Goldman’s misrepresentations caused the credit unions to believe certain investments carried minimal risk, while that was not the case.

http://money.cnn.com/2011/08/09/news/companies/goldman_ncua_lawsuit/index.htm images (18)   The government have already changed the law concerning Credit Unions. Enacted in last year it means the following changes have already happened with few of the people it will really affect noticing, let alone being consulted about it.

  • Credit unions  no longer have to prove that everyone who can join a credit union has something in common. This means they are able to provide services to different groups of people within one credit union.
  • Credit unions are able to open up membership to new groups, such as tenants of a housing association or employees of a national company, even if some tenants/employees live outside the geographical area that the credit union serves.
  • Credit unions are no longer limited to providing services to just individuals.
  • Credit unions are able to choose to offer membership to unincorporated associations and corporate bodies such as companies, partnerships and social enterprises.
  • Non-individuals can only make up a maximum of 10% of a credit union’s total membership hold a maximum of 25% of shares in the credit union and be granted a maximum of 10% of loans
  • Credit unions can choose whether to offer ordinary shares – ownership of which will bring all the benefits of credit union membership, or deferred shares, which will only be repayable in restricted circumstances and which will count towards the capital of a credit union.

krauzeyield     The government eventually plan to deliver the new Credit Union services through local Post Offices where most people draw their benefits. Perhaps we can now see why they called their shiny new system Universal Credit. As benefit are slashed further and further Baron the Bountiful is providing the masses he so despises with access to credit, possibly from the same account their benefits are paid into. With the planned increase in interest rates that Credit Unions can charge to around 43% APR these loans won’t necessarily be all that cheap. A quick browse on the internet revealed a number of companies offering far lower rates. Tesco have a loan at 5.1% APR and some companies even offer bad credit risk customers under 20% APR. For Banksters like the Baron it seems the future is bright…..

Baron Freud admits over 40,000 households will be hit by benefit cap: Almost 8500 could lose more than £100 per WEEK.

images (7) Yesterday, 27th June, in the House of Lords, the ignoble Lord Freud (aka Baron Freud) was asked by Labour member Baroness King of Bow to confirm that a revised estimate of the number of households who would be affected by the savage benefit caps was now 40,000. She also asked him for a breakdown of these figures by local authority.

HouseofLords_32316c  This was his reply:-

” A breakdown by Local authority of the revised estimate of 40,000 as the number of households that may be affected by the benefit cap has been placed in the library. The benefit cap is being applied through a phased implementation which commenced on 15 April 2013 in Bromley, Croydon, Enfield and Haringey. It will be introduced at a national level from 15 July 2013 and all appropriate households will be capped by the end of September 2013.

Estimates assume that the situation of these households will go unchanged, and they will not take any steps to either work enough hours to qualify for Working Tax Credit, renegotiate their rent in situ, or find alternative accommodation.

The Department has made extensive contacts with households who are likely to be affected by the cap and we are offering advice and support through Jobcentre Plus, including, where appropriate, early access to the Work Programme before the cap is introduced.”

Satellite    The breakdown shows that across the country,

  •  8,200 households are likely to lose OVER £100 per week. The majority of these live in London boroughs.
  • 4,900 households will lose between £50 and £100 per week across the whole country.
  • 113,000 households will lose up to £50 per across the whole of the UK.

However,actual figures for local authorities where there are less than a 100 households affected by the cap are not given so the table the Baron provides doesn’t show the level of losses that will affect these households.

Going off his estimate of 40,000 in total, this leaves a further 15,600 households whose level of hardship he’s not admitting to, except to say they will be affected to some extent. We don’t know, therefore, how many of these households will lose over £100 a week but we can assume that the figure of 8,200 that we do know about is likely to be quite a bit bigger and quite possibly over 8,500.

I’d love to know what the ‘extensive contact’ he claims the DWP has made with families likely to be affected by this evil measure consisted of. I suppose we should be grateful that he didn’t also add the usual insulting lie that ‘the DWP is committed to helping struggling families blah blah blah…’

You can read the table for yourself here

http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2013-0676/Local_Authority_breakdown_ of_those_affected_by_the_benefit_cap_final.doc>