Welfare Reform Bill 2015

Here’s an extract from our latest flyer outlining the proposals within the Welfare Reform Bill currently before parliament. Added to other proposals – such as refusal of housing benefit for most under-21s, further attempts to push sick and disabled people off ESA and onto JSA, and sell-offs of housing association and council housing stock – the provisions of the Welfare Reform Act add up to a really dangerous attack on our already precarious means of survival. More than ever before we urge people to get involved in anti-austerity groups like Welfare Fightback, Leeds People’s Assembly (see here) or the Community Branch of Unite the Union (email unitecommunityleeds@gmail.com).

Welfare Reform Bill 2015 How will it affect you?

The overall household benefit cap will be reduced to £23,000 in Greater London (£15,410 for single people) and £20,000 (£13,400 for single people) in the rest of the country, to be phased in from April 2016. Some families will lose up to £6,000 a year, and rents will become unaffordable.

Most working-age benefits and tax credits to be frozen at 2015-16 rates for four years. 13 million families will lose £260 a year on average. 7.4 million of these are in work, losing £280 a year on average.

Child element in tax credits and UC to be limited to 2 children for new claims and births after April 2017. Family element in tax credits and UC to be abolished for new claims from 2017. A family with 3 children will lose £3325 (£64 per week) from their maximum child tax credit entitlement as a result of these combined measures.

ESA for claimants in the Work Related Activities Group to be reduced to JSA rates for new claims from April 2017. Affected claimants including many long-term sick and disabled will receive up to £1,500 a year less than under current rules.

For single parents, the bill reduces the age thresholds preparation to 2, and for full work-related requirements to 3, leaving thousands more parents of young children vulnerable to job-centre harassment and benefit sanctions.

Social housing rents will be reduced by 1% each year up to 2020. This will not help benefit claimants (including most who are in work), but by reducing social landlords’ rental income is likely to mean that 14,000 fewer affordable homes will be built over the period. This is in addition to the loss of social housing through enforced sell-offs. Add to this the above cuts to household income, removal of Housing Benefit entitlement from most under-21s and the continuing scourge of the bedroom tax, and the result will be a huge rise in evictions and in homelessness amongst both single people (especially the young) and families with children.

The full flyer can be viewed and downloaded here

The latest Hands Off Our Homes flyer can be viewed here

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