Tuesday, 1 October sees the six month anniversary of the introduction of the ‘Bedroom Tax’. In this time, Cardiff Council have seen arrears increase by around half a million pounds. It has also seen many people thrown into domestic turmoil, as they find that they are reclassified as being eligible for funding only for a two bedroom properties, although they currently live in three bedroom ones. It is therefore surely a good thing that Ed Miliband has committed his Labour government to get rid of the Bedroom Tax. However, this government policy is only one element of a considered campaign which targets the most vulnerable in our society.

In recent times, this Tory-led and Lib Dem-supported government has passed a swathe of legislation which targets those least able to defend themselves. Four examples are as follows:

  • The introduction of Universal Credit, allegedly to ‘simplify’ the tax system but in fact reducing the total available to recipients.
  • The creation of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which creates a system where those in financial hardship are more likely to fall into arrears as any unauthorised overdraft fees are likely to be deducted before their rent is paid. 
  • The much-documented, and now quite entrenched, ATOS ‘FIT’ assessments of all those on Incapacity Benefit to determine if they are capable of work are regularly overturned by Appeal Tribunals (in volumes that have meant Tribunals sitting on weekends). 
  • Those seeking to take action through an Employment Tribunal if they think they have been wrongfully or unfairly dismissed now have to pay in order to bring a claim. 

There is no doubt in my mind that these policies, although each of them is unpalatable in isolation, must be viewed together. They are a concerted attack on those who have little voice individually. Furthermore, many charities and ‘Third Party Organisations’ feel that the Lobbying Bill will severely restrict their ability to represent the views of these vulnerable people whenever it is 12 months or fewer from a national election. Given that we tend to have an election pretty much every year, this is a cause for significant concern. So congratulations to Miliband on his statement that the Bedroom Tax will be reversed. But this is merely one step that needs to be taken – and he must come out and explain how his Prime Ministership would empower and enable all Britons to achieve their potential.

9/29/2013 09:18:09 pm

You are quite correct to have drawn a link between these policies. However, they must be dismantled one-by-one. I have started a petition to call upon Iain Duncan Smith to reconsider the way that his Department of Work and Pensions interacts with benefits claimants - in particular those claiming disability benefits.

So far I have nearly 500 signatures and I would be grateful if you and your visitors would support this campaign.You can find the petition and more details on this link: http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/professional-humane-treatment-of-dwp-benefit-claimants

9/29/2013 09:59:19 pm

Hi Malcolm,

As it happens, I have already signed your petition. I would urge others to do the same, though! It is only through collective action that we can break through the 'apathy barrier' which allows this government to divide and rule.

Malcolm Mort
9/30/2013 08:53:52 am

On Sunday I watched the television coverage of the Conservative Annual Conference and saw Duncan Smith applauded and praised for his work and support. This party clearly takes great pride in kicking sick, disabled and unemployed people when they are down. However if it was not for the support of the treacherous Lib Dem Party this legislation would have not been passed! It is fair to say that most of their legislation is biased and unfit for purpose.

Malcolm Mort
9/30/2013 10:13:12 pm

I know of one person who has major health problems after a knee operation was done outside this area a few years ago. He was supposed to have an atos medical. However the letter from ATOS
for his appointment was delivered to the wrong house and not passed on to him. He was struck off from ESA. with his money stopped. When told that he had to wait months for an appeal. He
suffered a nervous breakdown with his landlord demanding rent etc.
This has left the NHS with the costs because the Job Centre+ refused to accept a sick note from his GP.

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