April Fools’ Day welfare changes are fooling nobody

Social security, or welfare, payments are about to be drastically reduced. Or “reformed”, in the language used by the government. TONY NEWMAN, leader of the opposition Labour group on the council, highlights how those changes are likely to impact Croydon residents

Tony Newman: April 1, 2013, is no laughing matter

Tony Newman: April 1, 2013, is no laughing matter

On April 1 (and sadly I am not joking), 15,820 Croydon residents will be hit hard by the cruel policies of this Tory-led government. A combination of the Bedroom Tax, cuts to Council Tax benefit and other welfare changes will see many of those on the lowest incomes hit hardest by the coalition; these changes come in on the same day millionaires get a tax cut worth £100,000, a truly shameful state of affairs.

Of those on housing benefit, 60 per cent are in employment and the vast majority of others are either seeking work, are elderly or disabled. Yet the Tories have taken a handful of extreme cases, where particularly high benefits have been paid, and used them to implement policies that demonise vast swathes of hard-working, decent and honest people.

The only good news is that, if the opinion polls are to be believed, these policies are fooling nobody.

Remember it was only a month ago that local Conservative MP Gavin Barwell was holding meetings in the Town Hall telling anyone who cared to listen that the government’s policy on the Bedroom Tax was correct. Yet now, as with the police station closures which he has also backed, you can’t get a word out of him.

The loss of £30 a week clearly won’t affect David Cameron. It probably won’t affect the Barwell family budget either. But if you are a lone parent, if you’re frail or elderly and on a pension or a low income, or if you have recently lost your job, then you are about to be punished by this government where it hurts most, in the pocket.

All of this occurs in the week that Inside Croydon first exposed our local Tory council as spending £3.4 million on furniture and fittings for their controversial new HQ offices.

You simply could not make it up.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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1 Response to April Fools’ Day welfare changes are fooling nobody

  1. Given that the national Labour leadership keeps saying it would have to be making cuts (at a slower rate than the present government) Councillor Newman should explain what Labour’s cuts would be and how many Croydon residents would be badly affected.

    The demonisation of those on benefits started under Blair and Brown. The callousness showed by the ConDem Government is not just an attack on the already low living standards of millions of people, but also akin to a personal attack regardless of the reasons why they are on benefit (low wages, ill-health, disability, lack of jobs, etc).

    It is bullying and harassment of those who are the least able to defend themselves. Interestingly there is one set of Tories who are not quite so callous; those ruling Wandsworth have decided to cushion the impact of the nationwide changes to benefit rules by picking up the cost of maintaining the current system, sparing low income households a £580,000 tax increase from April.

    Hard-hit Croydon residents cannot afford to wait for Labour to win the Croydon elections next year. They need action now. I suggest the Labour group proposes that Croydon does the same as Wandsworth, and that it be financed by a cut in the cost of fitting and furnishing the new HQ offices.

    Meanwhile Inside Croydon readers who want to know more about the facts of the severe damage being done can find details on the new website of the trade union Unite.

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