Tagged: bedroom tax

Child poverty on course for biggest rise in a generation

Child poverty is on course for the biggest rise in a generation, reversing years of progress that began in the late 1990s, leading charities and independent experts claimed on Saturday.

The stark prognosis comes before the release of government figures which experts believe will show a clear increase for first time since the start of the decade.

Key policy decisions in the second half of the last parliament, including the introduction of the bedroom tax and cuts in benefits between 2013 and last year, are blamed for fuelling the rising number of families whose income is below 60% of the UK average – the definition of relative poverty.

Calculations from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) have suggested that progress between the late 1990s and 2010 has been reversed and that the number of children living in relative poverty rose from 2.3 million in 2013 to 2.6 million in 2014.

The Child Poverty Action Group says that with the government committed to implementing a further £12bn of benefit cuts in a new round of austerity, the problem of children living in poverty looks certain to grow for several more years.

Tens of thousands of people joined an anti-austerity march through central London on Saturday, Alison Garnham, the charity’s chief executive, said ministers were failing too many children in low-income families.

The government can no longer claim that deficit reduction is about protecting children’s futures now that it’s being made to confront a child poverty crisis, with the biggest rise in a generation now expected of its own making,” she said.

“With child poverty expected to rise by nearly a third in the decade to 2020 as a result of its policies, it’s clear the government’s approach is failing.”

Full story :   http://northstar.boards.net/thread/109/child-poverty-course-biggest-generation

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The election has finally opened Tory eyes to the disaster of the bedroom tax

The lovely wibbly wobbly old lady

Reposted from the Guardian on line

David Cameron on campaign bus
Some of Cameron’s party faithful are asking whether the bedroom tax costs more socially than it is saves financially. Photograph: WPA Pool/Getty Images

The first flashpoint is the bedroom tax. Backbench Conservatives returned from constituents’ doorsteps with a very different view on the policy. They heard for themselves the human tragedies that imposing such a cost on maintaining a family home creates.

Many are worried about one group in particular: divorced or…

View original post 476 more words

Bedroom tax ruling gives ‘hope to tens of thousands of separated couples with children’

A housing provider on Teesside claims a landmark bedroom tax appeal ruling will give “hope to tens of thousands of separated couples with children”.

Coast & Country says its Tenants Working Together group has secured a legal victory which could mean parents sharing responsibility for a child or children will not be subject to the controversial bedroom tax on the spare room used by their child.

A first-tier tribunal judge ruled that a child can live in two homes for bedroom tax purposes.

It follows other tribunal successes, many based on room size or usage, which encouraged the group to help fellow tenants in lodging an appeal.

Kim Gallagher, chair of Coast & Country’s tenant panel, said:

“This successful appeal is incredibly exciting and has the potential to affect the lives of many thousands of people across the country for the better.

“It is the so-called absent parent, generally the father, who is hit by the bedroom tax, even if the child has a room that is regularly used at the house. This ruling opens the doors for many other people to appeal on the grounds that a child can have two homes.

“The bedroom tax is grossly unfair and it is only by determination to fight unjust cases that the most vulnerable are not penalised.”

Tom Blenkinsop, Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, said:

“The bedroom tax was one of the cruelest policies implemented by the coalition Government and under the current Tory Government, it will not be going away.

“A Labour government would have abolished this unfair policy and scrapping the bedroom tax would have been included in the first Queen’s Speech.

“The next best thing is winning these little battles in the courts and I completely welcome this decision and praise the hard work of these local campaigners.

“It is so vital that it is repeatedly pointed out how unfair and, in many cases, unworkable this policy is. I’m sure the Coast & Country tenants’ working group will continue to fight against the bedroom tax and I am happy to support their efforts.”

Coast & Country chief executive Iain Sim said:

“Coast & Country is pleased to be able to support our hardworking and energetic tenants’ group in ensuring that any tenant who may have grounds for appeal is made aware of this and assisted in every way.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said:

“This judgment does not change the wider policy.

“Ending the spare room subsidy is restoring fairness to the system and saving £1m a day.”

It is understood the ruling could still be subject to appeal.

Under the spare room subsidy, social sector tenants with rooms deemed to be “spare” face a reduction in their housing benefit.

Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 27 May 2105

‘Welfare Reform Isn’t Working As Planned’, Says Expert

With a further £12bn in welfare cuts in the pipeline, what evidence is there to show that reforms to the welfare system are helping people into work and cutting costs?

The head of Housing and Communities at the London School of Economics (LSE) believes that savings are lower and costs are higher than planned.

Anne Power says:

“In 2013 and 2014, LSE Housing and Communities carried out a survey of 200 social housing tenants across the South West of England to find out whether welfare reform, introduced by the coalition government, was in practice helping tenants into jobs and making them better off.

“We found that the impact was direct, harsh and in most cases not leading directly to work. We have also talked to 150 social landlords and their tenants all over the country to understand the impact of cuts in benefits on the way landlords and tenants are managing.

“Our findings are striking. Welfare reform isn’t working as planned. Government savings are lower and costs are higher, particularly disability payments due to mismanagement.

“The ‘Bedroom Tax’, was introduced to make social housing tenants with one spare bedroom move home or pay more rent. This has led to empty homes in some parts of the country as many social landlords in the North and the Midlands have surplus larger properties which they have under-let to small households. Tenants now compete to downsize, leaving a costly supply of empty, larger units. Often tenants simply can’t find a smaller unit to move too.

“Sanctions, government-imposed penalties on job seekers who fail to meet Job Centre requirements, suspend all benefits with no notice. Many appeals have over-turned the job centre sanctions but often too late to prevent deep and sometimes tragic hardship. Housing benefit payments are also rising because evictions have forced tenants to pay higher rents in the private rented sector.

“Welfare reform is directed at getting a job. But older working age bands struggle because, after a long gap, skills may no longer be usable and jobs requiring IT require considerable retraining. Former manual workers often suffer serious injuries at work and can no longer do hard labour.

“Benefit cuts create longer term social costs too. For example, carers and their dependents may need a spare bedroom for a foster child or sick relative or night-time carer.

“The government is playing to popular attitudes. Spending on welfare, when austerity hits everyone, is not popular. There is a common belief that far more people cheat than actually do, whereas bureaucratic errors are far more common and cost more.

“There is general belief that people should work, whatever the job and certainly tenants we spoke to want to work. Tenants like working. But “booting” people into standing on their own feet can cut vital support lines without jolting them into a job. It can incapacitate them.

“Welfare reform is underpinned by a strong belief in the value of the market; if things don’t pay, they will stop happening, so if benefits don’t pay, people will stop depending on them. This over-simplified view has led to unintended and unnecessarily harsh consequences. As tenants feel less certain that they can rely on benefits, they find job centre interviews and the threat of sanctions too painful and too humiliating, so some just disappear off the unemployment register.

“The number of people actually finding work through job centre action is far smaller than claimed.

“On the other hand, tenants want to work whenever possible, even when pay is poor, so in that sense the strong work focus of welfare reform is positive. Tenants also like training and learning – and job centres send claimants on courses.

“Tenants are adjusting to lower incomes, although paying bills is a constant juggling act and it is no longer possible to take basic support for granted. The adjustment tenants are making would be far more painful if it wasn’t for advice organisations like CAB, churches and charities that offer emergency support. Food banks help in extreme circumstances.

“Social landlords are responding to welfare reform and the wider cuts they face with considerable anxiety. They know the vast majority of their 4 million tenant households are hard hit.

“Collecting rents becomes even more important, but far more challenging. Welfare reform has forced social landlords to recognise the need for more direct, face-to-face, front-line contact with tenants to ensure payments and help resolve problems. They develop opportunities for training and accessing jobs to help welfare reform work.”

Source – Welfare Weekly, 26 May 2015

http://www.welfareweekly.com/welfare-reform-isnt-working-as-planned-says-expert/

Iain Duncan Smith Gets More Time To Rescue The Loathed Universal Credit

The collective groan that went up when Iain Duncan Smith was reappointed to the Department for Work and Pensions over the weekend could probably be heard from space.

For housing workers, it’s five more years of the same: no change in direction, just straight ahead with the pressing business of welfare reform. However, the return of IDS also provides an opportunity for pragmatism in the delicate relationship between the new Conservative government and social landlords.

From the bedroom tax to the social cleansing of London as families hit by the benefits cap are shunted outside the capital, there was a lot for housing experts to criticise during the term of the coalition government – and criticise they did.

Much of that was tied up in an understandable moral objection to the changes being implemented. After all, if you’ve dedicated your career to alleviating housing need, it can be hard to work within the constraints of policies which you observe to be undermining a life’s work.

The practical objections, however, have been far more quietly stated, in part because some of them are so complex that they do not resonate with the wider public. In short, their comments don’t make great headlines.

Universal credit is one such example. The policy sounds laudable when described as a simple way of helping benefit recipients transition into employment by handing over full financial responsibility for all their outgoings including rent (previously paid directly to the landlord).

But as all housing providers knew, it will be much more complicated than this. Government has never been good at managing large IT projects or handling lots of data. The reality of working life for many low-paid staff can be weeks of employment and unemployment hard up against one another, with no time for state bureaucracy in between. And most frontline jobs are paid weekly or fortnightly, not monthly like universal credit.

For housing associations, the policy introduces a huge financial variable. How can large organisations with loans negotiated on the basis of a reliable income cope with hard-pressed tenants who do not pay up? The housing regulator is now stress-testing accommodation providers to see how they would cope with situations like this. The result is, inevitably, a downgrading in their ratings.

It’s important to remember that universal credit is derided by private and social landlords alike. Both fear for their revenue. The difference between the two is that, while private landlords can refuse to house people on benefits, social landlords will need to make compromises to stay afloat. That’s why, though he is so widely disliked, Duncan Smith’s reappointment should actually be welcomed.

Cameron told MPs at a meeting of the 1922 Conservative parliamentary committee on Monday that their “re-election starts now”. Absolutely. This government can no longer blame the mistakes of the previous incarnation, and nowhere is this more significant than for housing.

After five years of thwarted pilots, up to £663m of IT costs being written off by the Treasury and more stumbling blocks than an army fitness assault course, it’s time for a pragmatic approach to the introduction of universal credit. The Conservative government is unlikely to walk away from the policy, and Duncan Smith cannot claim ignorance of its failings so far. He cannot hide behind excuses or inexperience in the way a new minister to the brief could be tempted.

To survive their new future, social landlords will need to adapt. They will need to have diverse income streams: development will now always be for the private sector alongside the social to make ends meet. So for every social home that is built, a home for sale, shared ownership or private rent must also be built to help social landlords stay afloat.

Yet, also, there’s never been a better time to challenge a minister head on and demand some certainty. The minister will have little choice but to capitulate.

Source – The Guardian, 15 May 2015

Tenant evictions reach six-year high amid rising rents and benefit cuts

The number of tenants evicted from their homes is at a six-year high, according to new figures, as rising rents and cuts to benefits make tenancies increasingly unaffordable.

County court bailiffs in England and Wales evicted more than 11,000 families in the first three months of 2015, an increase of 8% on the same period last year and 51% higher than five years ago.

The increase in the number of tenants losing their homes means 2015 is on course to break last year’s record levels. Nearly 42,000 families were evicted from rental accommodation in 2014, the highest number since records began in 2000.

Rental prices have soared in many UK cities but wages failing to keep pace with rising costs and caps to benefits have left many poorer tenants unable to make payments.

Separate figures also published on Thursday showed almost 59,000 households have had their benefits capped in the past two years. Nearly half of those families were in London, where the the average monthly rent for a two-bedroom home is £2,216.

Housing charities said the figures were a glaring reminder that many tenants were struggling to maintain a roof over their heads, and they called on the new government to do more to tackle a housing crisis in the UK.

The latest repossession statistics, published by the Ministry of Justice, reveal the highest number of evictions in a single quarter since 2009, when comparable records began, with nearly 126 families forced out every day.

Between January and March, 11,307 tenants and their families were evicted by bailiffs, compared with a figure of 10,380 between October and December last year, and 10,482 in the first quarter of 2014.

The record figure comes as the number of landlord repossession claims – the first step of the legal process leading to an eviction – also rose. Claims were up 10% on the last quarter, but at 42,226 they remained below a six-year high of 47,208 in the first quarter of 2014.

Claims by both private and social landlords were up, the figures showed, although most of the rise was explained by claims by the latter. Social landlords were behind nearly five times as many attempts to recover properties than private landlords, the figures showed. These landlords are typically housing associations providing homes at lower rents than the market rate, often to tenants who receive housing benefit.

In the first three months of the year, 64% of possession claims were made by social landlords. These 27,204 court actions came alongside 5,551 made by private landlords and 9,741 accelerated claims, which could have been by either social or private landlords.

In May 2014, when the threat of evictions reached its highest level for a decade, the National Housing Federation, which represents housing associations across England, told the Guardian the bedroom tax was causing problems for social landlords. The policy cuts the amount of housing benefit paid to social housing tenants whose homes are deemed too large for their requirements. Benefit sanctions were also thought to be causing problems.

But many housing associations, particularly in London and the south-east, have turned out tenants as they have sought to redevelop generations-old estates to take advantage of the big rise in property values. This has in turn led to an increase in the number of grassroots campaigns to oppose evictions, such as the Focus E15 mothers.

In one case of eviction resistance last week, activists from Housing Action Southwarkand Lambeth in London answered a call from a 14-year-old girl to successfully resist her family’s eviction from a flat in an estate that Southwark council had marked for demolition. Elsewhere in the capital, shorthold tenants in Brixton’s Loughborough Park estate, owned by the Guinness Partnership housing association, have defied eviction orders by occupying their flats.

The MoJ figures came on the same day as the Department for Work and Pensions revealed that 58,690 households across the UK had their benefits capped to a maximum of £26,000 a year since April 2013. Londoners were the worst affected, with 26,636 families facing a cut in benefits over the period to February 2015, followed by 5,953 in the rest of the south-east.

DWP proposals to meet the Conservatives’ pledge to cut £12bn from the welfare budget, in documents leaked to the Guardian last week, included barring under-25s from claiming housing benefit, increasing the bedroom tax on certain categories of tenants, limiting welfare payments by family size and freezing welfare benefits at current levels.

Responding to the eviction statistics, Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said:

“Today’s figures are a glaring reminder that sky-high housing costs and welfare cuts are leaving thousands of people battling to keep a roof over their heads.

“Every day at Shelter we see the devastating impact of a housing market at boiling point, with the cost of renting so high that many families are living in fear that just one thing like losing their job or becoming ill could leave them with the bailiffs knocking at the door.

“The new government must make sure people aren’t left to fall through the cracks and hurtling towards homelessness by preserving, if not strengthening, the frayed housing safety net to protect ordinary families desperately struggling to make ends meet.”

Betsy Dillner, director of the campaign group Generation Rent, said:

“These record eviction figures and signs that they are accelerating are a stark reminder of the housing crisis that the government must urgently start taking seriously now they’re back in power.

“Whether it’s an inability to pay expensive rents or a landlord’s desire to take back their property, the fact that more than 40,000 families were forced out of their homes last year is a symptom of the government’s failure to create a sustainable housing market.”

The housing minister, Brandon Lewis, defended the government’s performance, pointing out that mortgage repossessions had fallen drastically, keeping owner-occupiers in their “hard-earned homes”.

He said:

“Mortgage repossessions continue to fall at 56% lower than this time last year, and the lowest annual figure since the series began in 1987. Meanwhile, numbers of county court mortgage possession claims continue to fall to the lowest quarterly number since records began. This is thanks to our work to tackle the deficit and keep interest rates low, helping more families to stay in their hard earned homes.

“There are strong protections in place to guard families against the threat of homelessness. We increased spending to prevent homelessness, with over £500m made available to help the most vulnerable in society and ensure we don’t return to the bad old days when homelessness in England was nearly double what it is today.”

Source – The Guardian,  14 May 2015

David Cameron Urged To Meet With Victims Of Tory Austerity

A church minister has written a stirring and emotional letter to David Cameron, urging the Prime Minister to meet with victims of austerity and consider the “social and human cost” of Tory policies.

In a letter posted on the social network Facebook, which has been shared over 100,000 times and sent to Downing Street, Reverend Mike Walsh says he agrees with the PM that the best route out of poverty is by moving into work. But says David Cameron doesn’t seem to understand that people are scared about “what your policies will do to our communities and families”.

Scared of what will happen to our health service and our schools. Scared of losing our family homes for the sake of a few quid saving from the bedroom tax, or not being able to heat our home and have enough left to buy food.”

Reverend Walsh, from The United Reformed Church, says Tory policies are “couched in terms of reducing the deficit and balancing the books”, and pleaded with Mr Cameron “to govern for everyone and unite the country”.

“The country isn’t a business, it’s its people. All its people. And you are everyone’s Prime Minister whether we voted for you or not.”

David Cameron may better understand the human cost of austerity measures if he spent “a week or two living on the minimum wage, or volunteer in a food bank”, says Reverend Walsh.

Go to Liverpool and meet people with disabled dependents who can’t afford even one nanny, or to Newcastle and talk to people still living in poverty due to the demise of the coal industry.”

He added: “If you do that, then maybe you can heal some of the fractures in our society. Without this I just don’t believe you can see just how crucial these issues are.”

Foodbank charity Trussell Trust gave out more than one million food parcels in 2014/15, with benefit delays cited as the primary cause of rising food poverty in the UK.

Foodbank use is soaring. Source: Trussell Trust
Foodbank use is soaring. Source: Trussell Trust

The full letter reads:

Dear Prime Minister,

I don’t know if you will ever read this, but I have some things I wish to say to you.

You have won the General Election and command a majority in the House of Commons, and as such will feel you have a legitimate mandate to govern. However, you must also know that you don’t command a majority of the British people.

Although our political views are very much at odds on many issues, I’m willing to believe that you are a good man, as sure of your ideals as I am of mine, and believe your plan is what’s best for us all. You said today that you will govern for the whole country and bring back together that which has clearly fractured. I hope you will.

But Prime Minister, though you can obviously see your party did not win the confidence of Scotland and huge swathes of the north of England, I’m not sure your party quite understands why. It’s not because we’re all ‘loony-left’ or extremists and nationalists, it’s because so many of us are scared. Scared of what your policies will do to our communities and families. Scared of what will happen to our health service and our schools. Scared of losing our family homes for the sake of a few quid saving from the bedroom tax, or not being able to heat our home and have enough left to buy food.

I don’t disagree with you that the best way out of poverty is to work, nor do I think that people should get something for nothing and expect the tax-payer to support people indefinitely if they are able to work. Who would think that that was ok and fair?

But your party’s policies on these issues, couched in terms of reducing the deficit and balancing the books, don’t seem to take into account the social and human cost of such actions. The country isn’t a business, it’s its people. All its people. And you are everyone’s Prime Minister whether we voted for you or not.

You said today you will govern for everyone and unite the country. I hope you do. But to be able to do so you need to make it a priority in your first 100 days, to spend time in Scotland visiting people on zero hours contracts. Come to Manchester and talk with those who have been sanctioned for having a spare room, but have nowhere else to go. Go to Liverpool and meet people with disabled dependents who can’t afford even one nanny, or to Newcastle and talk to people still living in poverty due to the demise of the coal industry. Spend a week or two living on the minimum wage, or volunteer in a food bank for a whole day.

Then Prime Minister you might begin to understand the cost of your policies from the other side, to see people as more than their net contribution to the economy, or as deliberate drains on the system. If you do that, then maybe you can heal some of the fractures in our society. Without this I just don’t believe you can see just how crucial these issues are.

So please Prime Minister, leave Westminster for a few hours a week and truly strive to govern for all of us.

Rev’d Mike Walsh

The United Reformed Church

Source –  Welfare Weekly, 13 May 2015

http://www.welfareweekly.com/david-cameron-urged-to-meet-with-victims-of-tory-austerity/

New minister for disabled strongly against disability benefits and human rights

The prime minister has announced that the new minister for disabled people is Justin Tomlinson, Conservative MP for North Swindon. Tomlinson has a strong anti-benefits and anti-human rights background.

Tomlinson has replaced Mark Harper, who is now the Conservative chief whip.

Tomlinson is a former national chairman of Conservative Future, the youth wing of the Conservative party and has been an MP since 2010.

He is a party loyalist, with a strong record of voting against the interests of sick and disabled claimants.

According to They work For You, Tomlinson:

  • Voted strongly for of the bedroom tax
  • Voted very strongly against raising welfare benefits at least in line with prices
  • Voted very strongly against paying higher benefits over longer periods for those unable to work due to illness or disability
  • Voted very strongly for making local councils responsible for helping those in financial need afford their council tax and reducing the amount spent on such support
  • Voted very strongly for a reduction in spending on welfare benefits
  • Voted very strongly against spending public money to create guaranteed jobs for young people who have spent a long time unemployed.

Tomlinson also voted in favour of repealing the Human Rights Act.

His responsibilities a minister for disabled people include:

  • cross-government disability issues and strategy
  • Employment and Support Allowance, Work Capability Assessment and Incapacity Benefit Reassessment Programme
  • disability benefits (Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment and Attendance Allowance)
  • carers
  • appeals reform
  • fraud and error (including debt management)

Tomlinson has some interest in health issues, but does not seem to have shown any great interest in disability issues during his time as an MP.

Source – Benefits & Work,  12 May 2015

http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/3093-new-minister-for-disabled-strongly-against-disability-benefits-and-human-rights

Benefits cuts plans leaked to Guardian

Plans to make the medical test for employment and support allowance (ESA) harder to pass and increase the amount of bedroom tax some claimants have to pay have been leaked to the Guardian.

The cuts documents drawn up by civil servants and seen by the Guardian, relate to ways that the benefits bill could be reduced if the government goes over the national spending cap for welfare benefits.

However, sources in the DWP told the Guardian that these are the same options that will be presented to Conservative ministers wanting to cut £12 billion from the benefit bill if they win the election.

The cuts include:

  • Stricter fit for work tests or ‘tighter limits on eligibility’
  • Increasing the bedroom tax on certain categories of renters
  • Stopping under-25s from claiming ESA or housing benefit
  • Freezing all benefits payments

The DWP documents also reveal that IDS has failed to meet his targets for cutting the cost of IB/ESA, DLA/PIP and housing benefit and that ‘welfare reform’ is not saving money. The only way to cut costs now, according to the papers is to make cuts, some of which have been rejected in the past by ministers, which are “very/highly/extremely controversial”.

Little wonder then, that the Conservatives don’t want to reveal them before an election.

You can read more in the Guardian

Source – Benefits & Work, 05 May 2015

http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/3087-benefits-cuts-plans-leaked-to-guardian

Food Bank Users Could Top Two Million If Tories Win Election

The number of people reliant on food banks to help feed themselves and their families could rocket to more than two million, according to new research.

Research by Dr Rachel Loopstra, from Oxford University, forecasts that Tory plans for a further £12bn in welfare cuts could lead to a doubling in food banks users by 2017.

Trussell Trust, who operates over 440 food banks, gave out 1,084,604 emergency food parcels in 2014/15 – up from 61,468 in 2010/11.

The charity is just one of many food bank providers, charities and churches supporting hungry families across the UK.

Source: Trussell Trust
Source: Trussell Trust

The research also shows that rising food bank use is due to higher demand, rather than greater supply – as claimed by some government ministers.

According to a formula devised by Dr Loopstra, the number of food parcels given out per head of the population rises by 0.16% for every 1% cut in welfare spending.

Dr Loopstra said: “It coincides with spending cuts, welfare reform and record numbers of benefit claimants losing payments due to sanctions.”

Source: Trussell Trust
Source: Trussell Trust

Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves seized on the figures, saying they were further evidence of the hardship and misery caused by Tory welfare policy.

“It would be an absolute disgrace for food bank use to double”, she said.

“The welfare state is there to provide a safety net. It’s not doing what it’s meant to do when people have to rely on charity.”

Reeves said David Cameron’s pledge of more savage cuts to welfare benefits means he has no choice but to cut working-age benefits, because the Tories have ruled out any changes to pensions and pensioner benefits.

“The Tories cannot achieve their £12bn of cuts to social security without doing so and hitting family budgets hard”, she said.

“Child benefit and tax credits are now on the ballot paper next week. Labour will protect them, and families across the country now know the Tories will cut them again.”

Reeves blamed benefit delays, sanctions and the hated bedroom tax for the increased demand on food banks.

She said Labour was the only party committed to reducing the reliance on food banks.

> But hang on… didn’t she say Labour didn’t want to be the party of the unemployed ?  And aren’t Labour promising more Workfare ?

“A Labour government would do this by axing the bedroom tax, getting rid of benefit sanctions targets and introducing protections for people with mental health problems, carers, pregnant women and people at risk of domestic violence.”

She added: “It’s inevitable, if the Tories get back in, that we will see further food bank use.”

Trussell Trust’s Adrian Curtis said: “Despite welcome signs of economic recovery, hunger continues to affect significant numbers in the UK today.”

Source –  Welfare Weekly, 04 May 2015

http://www.welfareweekly.com/food-bank-users-could-top-two-million-if-tories-win-election/