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Taxpayers Against Poverty Until government policy implements evidence & principle based adequate minimum incomes coupled with truly affordable housing we can all go on measuring poverty to no effect till the cows come home
Four ethical principles FirstJustice "Land is the gift of a generous and loving God intended for the provision of shelter, food, water, fuel and clothes for all; or, if you are a humanist, land is a gift of nature for the same purposes". Anon
PRINCIPLES INTO PRACTICE • It is not good enough to have principles without proposing policies that will implement them. • The rest of this seminar is about policies linking human needs to a fair share of land, food, water, fuel, clothes and other necessities for all. • “By necessaries I understand, not only the commodities which are indispensably necessary for the support of life, but whatever the custom of the country renders it indecent for creditable people, even of the lowest order, to be without”. Adam Smith. Adam Smith – Wealth of Nations – Chapter 2
Minimum Income Standards 1998Family Budget UnitZacchaeus 2000 TrustZacchaeus 2000 TrustZZa
Mininum Income Standards 2017Centre for Research in Social PolicyJoseph Rowntree Foundation – Centre for Research in Social Policy
Food budget created with care • Nutritionists put together the minimum diets various household need for good health • Create menus • Check the menus with low income families. Would they buy it? • Costed for a weekly shop in supermarkets • Check with general public for reasonableness • All minimum incomes standards done with great care
Minimum Income Standards • Minimum Income Standard for the UK is based on what the public think people need for an acceptable minimum standard of living. • The 1998 publication was used by UNISON and London Citizens to campaign for the London Living Wage, • Since 2008 they have been used by the Living Wage Foundation to set the level of the real living wage. • Unsung hero the late Mimi Parker who pioneered the methodology • No British government has ever set the level of all minimum incomes in work or unemployment by reference to minimum income standards. Our recommendation is; they ought to.
But For the health and wellbeing of low income men, women and children the minimum household income must be enough to buy a healthy diet, water, fuel, clothes, transport and other necessities,after the rent, council and income taxes are paid
Poverty Threshold Published in 2009 in “Dynamic Benefits” by the Dependency Working Group chaired by Dr Stephen Brien and edited by Iain Duncan Smith MP, Centre for Social Justice, the founders of Universal Credit. “The poverty threshold, below which income a household is considered to be living in poverty, is defined as 60% of the median household income, adjusted for household size: £158 per week for a single person and £361 for a couple with two children.”That is before rent and council tax have been paid. No consideration was given to the impact on hunger, nutrition, the death rate, infant deaths or the impact of the housing market on homelessness.
Two policies disrupt MIS1. Rent increases faster than other costs • Housing benefit cuts make other shredded benefits pay rents. • Benefit cap, bedroom tax and local housing allowance cut housing benefit. • Between 2006 and 2016, the number of new private rented lettings increased by 24% to 1.3 million. • Since 2008, there have been more new private rented lettings a year than new sales. • According to data from residential property analysts Hometrack, the average cost of rent per calendar month increased by 19% from 2007 to 2017 for private rents in England and Wales. • Over the same period, real average weekly earnings in the UK fell from £463 in January 2007 to £458 in 2017, according to the Office for National Statistics. • London saw the largest rise in the past decade, with a 29% increase in how much the capital's renters are paying each month. • In 2017, the average private rent in London stood at £1,590 per calendar month.
Two policies disrupt MIS2. Council Tax and its enforcement • About 3.5 million late and non-payers a year are taken to the magistrates court by local authorities (Bailiffs estimate) • In Haringey it is about 20,000 a year and the bailiffs are sent out 11,000 times. (FOI answers) • Costs of up to £500 are added to arrears and are paid by defaulters • Court £50-£140. • Bailiffs £75 admin fee, £235 for visits & £110 to collect goods for sale. • Home owners pay the council tax based on a 1991 valuation of land and benefit from the increased value of that land. Tenant pay council tax even out of Universal Credit income but no benefit from the increased value of land. • Abolish council tax and the landlords pay the landvalue tax.
JSA/UC effectively worthless • Outgoing single adult jobseeker’s allowance of £73.10 a week equates to the incoming universal credit of £317 a month. All other benefits added • It has been losing value since 1979 (Bradshaw & Lynne). Increases have been frozen since 2011. • Since April 2013 290 councils out of 326 have been enforcing a proportion of council tax, with Magistrates Courts and Bailiffs costs, & JSA/UC also pay rent because housing benefit was cut. • The tax and rent are enforced by local authorities, and rent by all landlords, regardless of the benefit sanctions or zero hours contracts. • See http://taxpayersagainstpoverty.org.uk/news/tap-tell-united-nations-special-rapporteur-on-extreme-poverty-and-human-rig
Dire hardship was inevitable. • In 2012 during the passage of Welfare Reform and the Local Government Finance Bills it was clear to anyone with a shred of emotional intelligence that dire hardship was inevitable. The former Bishop of Oxford described financial hardship to his fellow Peers. • Now "In order to mitigate financial hardship for Universal Credit claimants" the Public Accounts Committee "recommends that the Department for Work and Pensions must establish methods for measuring hardship" in their report published on the 19th October.
The weight of the failed UK housing market isborne by homeless families and individuals. • 79,880 households in temporary accommodation in England at the end of March 2018. A 65% increase since the first quarter of 2010. • Includes 123,230 children. • Of these households, 54,540 (68%) were placed in temporary accommodation in London. House of Commons Library
The weight of the failed UK housing market is borne by homeless families and individuals Over ten years one family, mother employed as a teacher and father self employed, has been forced to move house into; • A house repossessed by a mortage company two months later. • A shorthold tenancy for eight years and then evicted. • A flat with the upstairs toilet leaking into their downstairs kitchen. Lawyers made the council move them. • A Homeless Hostel to share with single adults, after an eight hour wait in the Housing Office. • Now in a council estate which is due to be demolished. Their children, aged two and ten in 2008, have been forced to move over a ten year Grand National of homelessness throughout their education suffering unnecessary and debilitating stress.
Homeless families in temporary accommodation paying council or social rents are scared of being forced to take private rented homes by councils with threat of intentional homelessness. Tottenham Council rent 2017 2 bed £105 a week. £455 a month Private rent 2017 2 bed £352 a week £1525 a month Benefit cap £384 a week outside London £442 a week in London
UK POVERTY DAMAGES HEALTH AND SHORTENS LIVES • Income impacts on health directly, for instance, because of insufficient money to heat your home or buy a healthy balanced diet. Cold homes increase rates of respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, excess winter deaths and mental illness. Inadequate diets increase the risk of malnutrition, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. • Low income, and particularly debt or insufficient income also impact on health indirectly through increased stress, depression and anxiety, and sub optimal coping behaviours – such as increased rates of smoking and drinking. • Dr Angela Donkin – The Institute of Health Equity. • Black 1980, Acheson 1998, Wanless 2004, Marmot 2010
Professor Michael Crawford Institute if Brian Chemistry and Human Nutrition • Good maternal nutrition prior to conception is of greater relevance than later in pregnancy. • Low birthweight associated with fetal growth restriction is the strongest predictor of poor learning ability, school performance, behavioural disorders and crime. TAP comment • £317 Universal Credit worthless. Food competes with water, rent, council tax, heating, transport, clothes and other necessities. Three days food from a food bank does not cover a nine month pregnancy. • According to WHO in 2015 OECD rates of low-weight births are lowest in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Norway, Sweden at around or less than 5% of live births. UK 6.5%. Columbia 9.5%. • In the 2011 census it was between 10-12% in the Northumberland Park ward of the London Borough of Haringey. It is among 5% of the most deprived UK wards. They die 7 years younger than in Highgate in the west of the borough.
UK POVERTY DAMAGES HEALTH AND SHORTENS LIVESGraph Published by the British Medical Journal 2017.
To end the State’s imposition of hardship • Aim for the good health and wellbeing of every citizen in or out of work • Set level of minimum wage and unemployment benefits by referring to minimum income standards • Control rents • Introduce Land Value Tax & abolish council tax & business rates.
Taxpayers Against Poverty Thanks for listening Rev Paul Nicolson