Monday, 1 April 2013
So we enter April with a bang or a thud for many people living in Britain many new laws and benefit changes come in today and for many this will signal a continuation of harsh austerity policies from the con-dem government. These new policies coming into force from today onwards include cuts to housing benefit for some social housing tenants with a spare room and changes to council tax. The biggest shake-up of the welfare system for decades will also see low income households in many parts of England begin paying council tax for the first time. From today, 660,000 social housing tenants deemed to have a spare room will begin to lose an average of £14 a week in housing benefit. What is happening when? • 1 April: Spare room subsidy removed for working-age social housing tenants • 1 April: Council tax benefit changed to council tax support and run locally • 8 April: Working-age benefits and tax credits uprated by 1% - a below-inflation cap • 8 April: Disability living allowance replaced by personal independence payment • 15 April: Introduction of cap on total amount of benefit for working-age people • 29 April: Universal credit rolled out in test areas It has been estimated that two million low income households will pay more, as a result of changes to council tax benefit. The benefit is being replaced by council tax support and responsibility for it is being moved from central government to councils, but with 10% less funding. Also from this month, most working age benefits will increase by just one per cent - less than the likely rise in the cost of living. And later this month, an overall limit of £500 a week on claims is beginning in four London boroughs, and will come into force across England, Scotland and Wales over the coming months. But government plans to test a new universal credit - which combines several benefits into one payment - have been delayed. Three out of four pilot areas in the north west of England will not now start using the system until July. Even the pro big business BBC has voiced concerns at how quickly these cuts are being made they say quite clearly these policies will define this government too right they will. They will go down as the government who looked to savage ordinary peoples living standards. All of these policies and cuts must be fought in the most militant, determined and firm way in whatever way we can. There are so many reasons now for the TUC to get up off its knees and name a day for a 24 hour general strike it is overwhelming now the attacks on the poor. Its time we all stood up and made a stand.