Brent and Harrow
5 May 2016 Vote for
Sadiq Khan Mayor of London
Navin Shah GLA Brent & Harrow
Labour Party Londonwide

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Navin's News: Welfare Reforms

Welfare Reforms

The Government’s cuts will hit sections of deprived community unfairly and the hardest.  

April 2013 will go down in the history as the month that changed Britain for ever and for the worse. The first of April has seen introduction of a series of cuts including changes to Council Tax benefit; Bedroom Tax; Legal Aid changes; National Health Commissioning Changes and Scrapping of 50p Tax Rate for the Rich.

Cut in housing benefits described as ‘Bedroom Tax’, meant to reduce overcrowding in social housing, will adversely affect an estimated 700,000 people living in socially rented housing who would lose an average of £728 a year. People with one spare bedroom will loose 14% of their housing benefit and people with two or more spare rooms will lose 25%. This particular benefit cut will hit London and urban areas disproportionately where there is acute shortage of social housing. It is also shocking that two thirds of the people affected by the bedroom tax are disabled. Similarly other cuts like the scrapping of access to legal aid and 10% reduction of Council Tax by this government will hit the poorest. Contrast this with the generosity shown to the rich and high earners by George Osborn introducing a handout of 50p tax rate.     

NHS Commissioning changes being implemented as of 1st of April will take full control of budgets to buy services from any agencies including private businesses / companies. The changes will mean unprecedented job losses in the health service and privatisation through the backdoor. At the same time I’d also like to remind you of the government’s closure plans of Accident and Emergency departments in local hospitals like the Central Middlesex and Ealing Hospitals.

Further cuts will take place,which would include scrapping of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and introduction of Universal Credit. The reduction in DLA will affect some 500,000 disable people and their carers. This will see the benefits reduce or removed altogether. No wonder disable peoples’ organisations and charities have forged an alliance “The Hardest Hit” to fight the cuts. Controversial new ‘Universal Credit’ system will replace six of the main benefits with a single payment. The project seems to have come to a grinding halt with the pilot of this welfare system now introduced only in one jobcentre in Ashton-Under Lyne this month. There is a crisis situation with the new system which will put at risk tax credits of millions of families. With the raft of cuts in the pipeline from this April – this has been described as the ‘cruellest month of austerity period’.