Benefit cuts

Labour's surrender to austerity

Issue section: 
Author: 

In June Ed Miliband and Ed Balls signalled that a future Labour government will accept the framework of the Tories' austerity plans and put a cap on welfare spending. Iain Ferguson looks at Labour's shift to the right and challenges the myths about the welfare state used to justify this turn.

"Even in these hard times, is it too much to expect an opposition to oppose now and again?" (Sunday Herald, 16 June).

For historians of the British Labour Party, June 2013 is likely to be remembered as a key milestone in Party's political and ideological evolution.

Can we beat the bedroom tax?

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

In 1990 when Thatcher brought in the "Community Charge" we were told it was only "fair" that the "duke and his gardener pay the same". The Community Charge was a flat rate council tax imposed on every individual in Britain, regardless of income.

We called it the "poll tax". Millions did not pay. Local anti poll tax groups were organised everywhere, forming the national anti Poll Tax Federation, and after two years of struggle, with organised mass non-payment, protests outside the courts, and a demonstration that led to rioting in central London, the poll tax was beaten.

When will Labour councillors fight the cuts?

Issue section: 

Over the next few weeks councils across the country will meet to vote on budgets that, if passed, will instigate the most savage cuts to services in living memory.

Budgets will be cut by an average of four percent (not the 1.7 percent that Eric Pickles, the Tory minister in charge of councils, suggested when he announced this year's local government budget in the minutes before his office closed down for Christmas on 21 December).

The announced settlement will also mean vicious cuts in 2014-15. An additional average cut of nine percent will kick in for the financial year 2014-15.

April will be the cruelest month

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

A raft of attacks on benefits are set to come into force this April. These will affect millions of the poorest people in Britain and will have a major impact on people's ability to put food on the table, pay domestic bills or meet their rent, argues Mark Dunk.

The "bedroom tax"
Changes to housing benefit rules will see thousands of households forced to pay an extra £60-80 a month just to stay in their homes. The scheme punishes people of working age in council or housing association properties for having "extra" bedrooms. This is despite the likelihood of a tenant having a spare room being due more to the limited housing stock available in any particular area than to any choice they make.

Which Paralympian legacy?

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

The Paralympics were, it is universally agreed, the most successful yet. All the venues sold out, and Channel 4's coverage reached just shy of 40 million people.

Almost eight million viewers in the UK watched the closing ceremony.

Organisers hailed "the seismic effect in shifting public attitudes" to disability sports, claiming the games had changed public perception of disabled people forever. A poll taken immediately afterwards found that eight out of ten British adults thought that Paralympics 2012 had had a positive impact on the way disabled people were viewed by the public.

Housing Benefit Briefing

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

The government claims that the Bill for housing benefit is out of control and is introducing major cuts. Eileen Short examines the myths that surround housing benefit and looks at the impact that the cuts will have.

What is housing benefit?
Housing benefit is a benefit for people who can't afford their rent and it is means-tested according to income. It is called housing benefit for council and housing association tenants and is paid directly to the landlord. For private tenants it is calculated according to the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) and may be paid to the landlord or to the tenant.

Feeling the squeeze: Workers' living standards in the economic crisis

Issue section: 

Working class living standards are being seriously hit as the economic crisis worsens. As inflation rises and wage repression continues, households' real disposable income is falling. Laura Cooke and Kevin Devine unpick the latest statistics that show the scale of the squeeze

For the first time in over 30 years the real disposable income of British households is falling, and the degree to which this is happening is increasing as inflation continues to climb. The Office for National Statistics reports that real incomes fell by 0.8 percent in 2010, which is the highest fall in real disposable incomes since 1977. In the first quarter of 2011 it reports incomes fell by 2.7 percent, over three times this amount, confirming that money pressures are growing.

The welfare stakes

Issue section: 
Issue: 

The Tories want to do a lot more than just slash public spending. They want to fundamentally recast the nature of the relationship between the state and society. Charlie Kimber looks at what's at stake in the government's plans for the welfare state

The slogan "Stop the cuts" is absolutely natural and correct for the demonstrators on 26 March and after, as it was for those who besieged town halls last month. The battle against the £81 billion of public spending cuts is the central issue for all of us.

An assault on us all

Issue section: 

Joseph Choonara opens our coverage of the spending review, arguing that George Osborne's plans expose the lie that "we're all in it together".


Photo: Guy Smallman

The Osborne Axe has fallen. The chancellor's spending review heralds the deepest assault on the public sector since the Second World War. George Osborne's key lines of attack give the lie to his claim that "we are all in it together".

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Benefit cuts