On 11 January, the Lords’ debate on the Welfare Reform Bill continues. The Bill threatens basic entitlement to housing and other benefits – a roof over our heads.
- Benefit cap of £500 a week including rent: larger families including those with informally-fostered children, single mother families, households with disabled people, families of colour more likely to be on lower incomes – face eviction from central London and other cities if the cap goes through. For more see here.
- The housing benefit cap is already forcing people to go without food and heating to pay the rent, or into unbearable overcrowding. Like in the US, people will end up homeless, destitute, begging and on the street.
- The Social Fund relied on to furnish a new home or cope with emergencies – children coming back from care, women fleeing domestic violence, people coming out of hospital and prison – is being abolished. People won’t be able to start a new life or escape a violent relationship; they’ll at the mercy of loan sharks.
- Disabled children and adults face all-round cuts: to disability benefits, benefit additions and concessions – a return to hardship and charity.
- Child Benefit – which all mothers earn and all children need – will be taken from the poorest families by the benefit cap.
- Income Support, which recognises the contribution of mothers and other carers, is being abolished and replaced with back-to-work conditions as soon as the child turns one.
Protests forced the government to drop plans to cut mobility money for people living in residential homes. But other cuts to disabled children and adults are still in the Bill. On 14 December, after lobbying and testimony from people affected, the Lords defeated government moves to cut housing benefit by £12-22 a week for Council tenants who have a spare room.
Come and raise your concerns on 11 January. Bring placards with your organisation’s name and issues you are concerned about. Lobby the Lords – support amendments to keep Child Benefit out of the benefit cap, extend concessions for women fleeing domestic violence, ensure immediate benefit payments for people coming out of prison, and Zacchaeus 2000 amendments to protect claimants from unliveable benefit repayments, sanctions and bailiffs. Lobby your MP; contact them to make an appointment or write to them about your personal situation – find your MP here. If you are unable to come on the day, ring them or write, for Lords’ addresses see here; and sign the epetition here.
For more info about the day, contact SMSD and the Zacchaeus 2000 Trust