Friday, 17 February 2012

Impacts of the welfare reforms

In response to Paul Lewis (Money box) recently blog relating to a couple experiencing real hardship as a result of the welfare reforms is not uncommon.

"I was on Radio 5 Live today and was shocked when – I’ll call her Jayne – rang from Dorset to say she was a single mum with a 17-year-old son and they were both living on her income support of £67.50 a week. Her child benefit had been taken away, she said, and so had her child tax credit. Her income had fallen from £138 to less than half that".

This is a terribly desperate situation, sadly it is one which is set to be replicated tens of thousands of times as a result of these harsh welfare changes. We have heard of many tenants in a similar position who will have to additionally find 14% of their rent out of the money that’s left because they under-occupy by 1 bedroom form April next year.

What the government doest’t realise, is that many people will be hit by ‘the multiplier impact’, where they will be pounded by a series of welfare changes over time. For them, delaying the cuts will not seek to lessen the final impact. Little wonder the Samaritans and other voluntary sector support agencies are preparing for massive demand in their support. Those in Wales and other areas who have experience of radical income change by the Tories know what to expect from the long term effects of these pernicious changes in our welfare system (I refuse to call them reforms).

Ironically, a very small percentage of the overall population claim welfare. In a decent society, of course it is right that we weed out the ‘absolute minority’ of those that do abuse the system, in order that the money can go further for those who rely on their entitlements through difficult times. But these measures claim no sense of moral or social justice. Compare this to the corporate tax dodgers, the bonus culture, the narrowing of the distribution of wealth and the government’s policy of subsidising business low ages through the minimum wage, little wonder we feel aggrieved. Wake up! the working classes and the squeezed middle, they will be looking to you next, to secure the riches of the few!

Steve Clarke,
MD Welsh Tenants

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