Friday, September 16

Proposed cap of £500 per week is critiqued

First the story.

The government's benefits cap could make more than 80,000 children homeless and push many thousands more into poverty, says the Children's Society. In a devastating critique of the plan to limit the amount even the largest families can claim in benefits, Bob Reitemeier, its chief executive, said there would be a huge "human and social cost" if the reforms went ahead.

The welfare reform bill, which proposes a £500 a week cap on the amount families can claim for housing, childcare and sustenance, is set to return to parliament in the House of Lords on Tuesday after making unsteady progress through the Commons earlier this year.

The society says 200,000 children will have their lives affected by the changes to the amount their parents can claim and 27,600 adults and 82,400 children could be made homeless.

While supporters of the benefits cap claim it would simply mean families would be forced to move into cheaper accommodation, government figures suggest 70% of those who will be hit are already living in social housing.

Reitemeier said changes to the proposed legislation were urgently needed. "The reason we are so concerned about children is that three in four of the people that are going to be affected by the benefits cap are children and I don't think that's publicly understood", he said. "There are some main concerns: one is that the children will be made homeless, possibly 80,000 children, which would be a significant change to their lives.

"Secondly, what we think could happen is that those children already in poverty, below 60% of the median income line, will fall into severe poverty, less than 40% of the median income. This has a very human and social impact on their lives."

The Children's Society also believes that children, who are nine times as likely as adults to be hit by the cap because of the prevalence of large families among those claiming benefits, will experience lower levels of wellbeing. It says it understands the element of unfairness in people who are on benefits having large families catered for, but that the government should ensure children do not suffer for their parents' decisions.

The £500 cap is based on the average annual household wage of £26,000. The charity proposes that instead the government should work out the level of the cap – the universal credit – by basing it on the average household income of working families with children, which would include in-work benefits.

So here’s the thing, the government thinks that that the average wage is a good level to compensate people who have fallen on bad times. But people want to raise it? In other words, when you have problems, the state will take money from people (at least 50% yes?) who earn (that’s right, they earn and work) less than what you will get as a household. Hmmm. That is fair? And why would they be made homeless? And why shouldn't they move into cheaper accommodation? I didn't realise that I was paying taxes to give to people who can live in more swanky accommodation? These people are frikking nuts.

Let me throw another statistic at you. Did you know that the number of households in which NO ADULT HAS EVER WORKED IS 370,000? that’s right, you read right, nobody has worked in these households, EVER. And they rely on benefits. Which are currently much more than the average tax payer and citizen. And these frikking muppets want them to have more? WTF?


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