Tagged: safety net

300,000 Unemployed People Each Month Face ‘Five Week Wait’ For Benefits, New Research Shows

New research published  by the TUC reveals the future impact of a controversial new welfare reform – the five-week wait – on workers in North West England, with 39,000 newly unemployed people set to be hit each month.

Currently most workers who lose their job have to wait two weeks before they get their first benefit payment. But under new Universal Credit rules for assessing unemployment claims, most people will face a wait of more than five weeks before they get any money. This could mean going two months into rent arrears before any cash support arrives.

Across the UK, almost 300,000 people will be hit each month by the five-week wait. Despite this, recent polling by YouGov for the TUC has revealed that fewer than one in seven people (13 per cent) say they have heard of the plans. Seven out of ten people (70 per cent) say that they would be worried when asked to imagine losing their job and not being entitled to receive any benefit payments for five weeks. More than half (52 per cent) say it makes them think less favourably of the government’s welfare reforms.

The TUC’s new research reveals the monthly average number of newly unemployed people broken down by region, local authority (county and unitary) and constituency. This indicates how many people can be expected to be hit by the five-week wait when Universal Credit replaces workers’ current safety net benefits.

Across the region, Lancashire is the most affected local authority where over 5,000 people each month are expected to be hit by the five-week wait, in Manchester more than 3,600 people will be affected whilst in Liverpool just under 3,500 people will be affected.

These local authorities are amongst the biggest affected in the UK, ranked 4th, 9th and 11th respectively. The DWP’s own analysis suggests that the measure may increase claimants’ reliance on short-term loans.

The TUC has launched a new campaign, Saving Our Safety Net, to highlight the five-week wait and other welfare reforms that cut safety net protection for working people.

North West TUC Regional Secretary Lynn Collins said:

We know workers in the North West have suffered cuts in real earnings over the last 5 years, and will have relied on savings to get by, which means that many workers have no financial buffer if they lose their job. Help should be there when it is needed, but instead people will be left to rely on food banks and pay day loans to see them through the wait.

“Welfare reform is one thing but the five week wait is a collective punishment for anyone who loses their job. People need to focus on finding new work, instead of being stressed-out about how they will pay the rent, feed the kids and keep the heating on.

“Job security has got worse since the recession. Government ministers are out of touch and fail to understand the anxiety many people feel not knowing if they’ll still have work next month. If your job goes, the five-week wait puts you at greater risk of a downward spiral where you’re trapped in debt, lose your home, become ill from the stress and fall too far to climb back again.

“With these escalating bills, worsening job security and only a limited recovery in the jobs market, a 5 week wait could easily push many more families into poverty through no fault of their own. These people have paid for, and deserve, a safety net.

“We are launching the Saving Our Safety Net campaign to expose government welfare plans for what they are – cuts to the National Insurance safety net we’ve all paid into on the understanding that it will be there when we need it.”

Source – Welfare News Service 07 Aug 2014

http://welfarenewsservice.com/unemployed-people-each-month-face-five-week-wait-for-benefits/

What The Fuck Does David Cameron Know About Poverty?

the void

cameron-toff There are few things more vile than listening to a man born into a multi-million pound fortune lecturing the rest of us about whether people are really poor or not.

David Cameron’s pathetic tirade about poverty this week – during which he accused one of the most senior figures in the Catholic Church of lying about the extent of vicious cuts to social security – was exactly what might be expected from an aloof, out of touch Prime Minister who’s never had to do a real day’s work in his life.

Cameron claims that Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols’ statement that the safety net of the welfare state has disappeared for many people is ‘just not true’.  After all, David Cameron doesn’t know any poor people and life in Chipping Norton is simply spiffing.  He goes on to say how lucky those unable to find a job are to be…

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Cameron’s ‘mission’ is morally bankrupt

Vox Political

140117democracy

When David Cameron stands up in all his hypocrisy and tells you that tearing apart the basic safety net that guaranteed people would not be left in hunger or destitution is part of his “moral mission”, even die-hard Tories should agree that the country has taken a turn for the worse.

When he defends an administration that has become so punitive that applicants who don’t get it right have to wait without food for months at a time, by claiming he is doing “what is right”, even die-hard Tories should agree that the man who claims he is Prime Minister has diverged from reality.

That is precisely what he has done, and you can bet that the Tory diehards will quietly go along with it because they think it is far better for other people to lose their lives than it is for their government to lose face.

Cameron has…

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Conservative warns that benefit changes are making more use North foodbanks

> Yes, you did read that headline correctly…

A broken benefits system is causing people to turn to food banks, an aspiring Conservative politician has said.

In comments more normally seen from Labour politicans, Berwick Tory Anne-Marie Trevelyan has said the number of people needing handouts to eat may be as a result of changes to the benefits system.

Mrs Trevelyan is bidding to take the seat from Sir Alan Beith when the Liberal Democrat steps down in 2015.

Much of her campaign has focused on the jobs potential of dualling the A1 north of Newcastle.

But last night she said that after visiting a Northumberland food bank, the evidence put to her was that those dependant upon benefits were suffering the result of changes to the system.

The Conservative-led coalition Government has come in for criticism from a variety of sources over its cuts to benefits.

Reductions in benefits have been criticised as indiscriminate while changes to the way benefits are handed out has seen delays as a result.

Mrs Trevelyan said: “All users of food banks in Northumberland have been referred by social services, Citizens Advice Bureaux or other groups like Sure Start. The reasons given are often delays in benefits being paid or other financial pressures leaving families with no money to buy food.

“I am concerned by the recurring message from the volunteers who run our local food banks, that the majority of those who come to them do so because the benefits payment system is not working.

“It should be there to support those who need a safety net while they find work or arrange long term support.

“There seems to be a serious breakdown in the effective management of the payments system. I am going to be talking in more detail with our job centre teams to try to find out what they need to solve this issue effectively.”

> Oh bugger – don’t ask them ! They’re  a major part of the problem.

The Conservative candidate said that a rapid rise in the number of food banks began under Labour in 2006 when there were 3,000 nationally. This rose to more than 40,000 by 2010.

In addition to this leading food bank provider the Trussell Trust has been expanding, inevitably leading to more hard-pressed families making use of their services.

Mrs Trevelyan’s comments are similar to many of those expressed by Northern Labour MPs, though of a far less critical nature.

Also adding their concerns to the growing number of food banks was former Bishop of Durham Justin Welby. Now Archbishop of Canterbury, he has called for a greater level of awareness from the Government on the causes behind the growing number of food banks in the UK.

Senior Tories have tried to play down the rise of food banks.

Education Secretary Michael Gove came under fire for saying that financial mismanagement was the reason many people were going to food banks.

And Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, the man ultimately responsible for changes to the benefit system, refused to meet the Trussell Trust and accused it of being politically motivated.

Source – Newcastle Journal  15 Feb 2014

New Cardinal Vincent Nichols: welfare cuts ‘frankly a disgrace’

Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric has accused the Coalition of leaving increasing numbers of people facing “hunger and destitution”.

Cardinal-designate Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, said that while the need to reduce spending on benefits is widely accepted, the Government’s reforms have now destroyed even the “basic safety net”.

Archbishop Nichols, the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, said the welfare system had also become increasingly “punitive”, often leaving people with nothing for days on end if they fail even to fill a form in correctly.

He said it was “a disgrace” that this was possible in a country as rich as Britain.

His intervention  comes as he prepares for a Consistory in Rome where he will receive a red Cardinal’s hat from Pope Francis.

The Archbishop’s criticism will be felt acutely by the work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith, who is a practising Roman Catholic.

Last year Mr Duncan Smith accused Church of England bishops who criticised aspects of the reforms of ignoring the concerns of ordinary people.

“People do understand that we do need to tighten our belts and be much more responsible and careful in public expenditure,” said the Archbishop.

“But I think what is happening is two things: one is that the basic safety net that was there to guarantee that people would not be left in hunger or in destitution has actually been torn apart.

“It no longer exists and that is a real, real dramatic crisis.

“And the second is that, in this context, the administration of social assistance, I am told, has become more and more punitive.

“So if applicants don’t get it right then they have to wait for 10 days, for two weeks with nothing – with nothing.

“For a country of our affluence, that quite frankly is a disgrace.”

The Archbishop is one of 19 senior clerics from around the world chosen by Pope Francis to be elevated to the highest rank of Roman Catholic clergy. It grants him a place in the secret Conclave which will elect the next Pope.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “The benefits system this Government inherited was broken, trapping the very people it was designed to help, with around five million on out of work benefits and millions of children growing up in workless households.

“Our welfare reforms will transform the lives of some of the poorest families in our communities with Universal Credit making three million households better off and lifting hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty.

“It’s wrong to talk of removing a safety net when we’re spending 94bn a year on working age benefits and the welfare system supports millions of people who are on low incomes or unemployed so they can meet their basic needs.”

> The Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson’s nose  suddenly grew to an unfeasible length – an occupational hazard for those tasked with defending the DWP.

Source – Telegraph  14 Feb 2014