November 23, 2010
Letter signed at the House of Commons:
We believe current Government proposals are not fair or just. Cuts to Housing Benefit, replacing future secure and assured tenancies with time limited short hold tenancies and up to 80% of market rents, are an unfair and ill-conceived threat to tenants and would be a disaster for communities.
These measures will create more evictions, homelessness and fear, but will not curb high rents. They do nothing to create secure, affordable homes for rent desperately needed for all those who are priced out by the housing market. They will create exclusion zones driving out the low-paid, the sick and the poor, and their families.
We call on Councillors, MPs, tenant and trade union organisations, housing, disability and poverty campaigners and all who want sustainable, mixed communities across the UK to join in a campaign around these Action points:
• Defend security of tenure for existing and future tenants
• Resist and campaign against the cuts in housing benefit: we call on Councillors and other landlords not to implement cuts in HB where this is under local control, and not to evict tenants who get behind with their rent as a result of the new cuts in housing benefit
• Oppose raising rents up to 80% of market levels
• Shortage of housing is a result of underinvestment and failure to build – it is not caused by existing tenants of whatever race or religion
• We need regulation to control private sector rents
• We are committed to campaign instead for a programme of investment in new and improved council and other house building at genuinely-affordable rents.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to join us.
Austin Mitchell MP, Chair Council Housing Group of MPs
Eileen Short, Chair Defend Council Housing
Dot Gibson, General Secretary National Pensioners Alliance
Ken Livingstone former Mayor of London
Councillor Phil Waker Barking & Dagenham Council lead member for Housing
Paul Brandon, Chair Right to Work Campaign
Linda Burnip, Disabled People Against Cuts
Richard Downes, Brent CHIEF
November 2, 2010
Reference to - Early Day Motion 706 ‘Spending Cuts and Disabled People’
Dear (you can find your MP by entering your postcode at http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/)
As you are no doubt aware many disabled people protested on October 3rd against yet further cuts to care and benefits which the Coalition government are planning to introduce as they have very real fears their lives are under threat from these combined attacks.
Disabled people feel they now have no option other than to continue to fight against these unfair cuts they are facing. The recent DEMOS report showed that by 2015 over £3.6 million disabled people and carers will lose large amounts of funding and that in total from cuts to benefits alone disabled people will lose £9.2 billion. These cuts include removing an arbitrary one in five claimants from receipt of DLA which is a benefit meant to help compensate for the additional costs of disability, and moving 1 million disabled people from Incapacity Benefit onto JSA in the midst of a recession and rising unemployment predicted in both public and private sectors while doing nothing to remove any of the barriers that exist and prevent disabled people gaining work. For most disabled people Incapacity Benefit is a contributory benefit which they are entitled to due to having paid National Insurance contributions whilst working.
Heavily criticised ESA assessments which ignore GP and consultant views are earning Atos healthcare £100 million a year, how can this amount of money be justified?
Housing Benefits for all tenants will be drastically reduced. From October 2011 for those 2 million disabled people living in private rented accommodation and from 2013 for anyone living in social housing which is deemed too large for their needs
There are already 1.8 million households on social housing waiting lists, and currently 1 million children live in overcrowded households. In Leicester in June 2010 there were 500 households needing an accessible property and only one available. Increasing numbers of homelessness disabled people surviving on the streets in dire poverty will reduce this country to little more than a third world nation, yet that is the likely outcome without some protection for disabled people in relation to housing costs.
Benefits linked to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) mean claimants will lose a further £300 a year Already 30% of disabled people live below the poverty line and 1 in 4 families with disabled children cannot afford heating. A tenth of disabled woman have incomes below £31 per week and a tenth of disabled men have incomes below £59 per week including earned income and benefits.
VAT increased to 20% will hit those on the lowest incomes the hardest – it is estimated this rise will increase each household’s costs by £500 per year
Added to that funding from the Independent Living Fund for care and support has now ceased to all new claimants and they are under threat of closure entirely.
Social Services budgets are under extreme pressure and nearly all Social Services departments have been told to reduce their budgets by 25% which has an obvious knock-on effect to their provision of care and the amount people need to pay towards this. eg In Warwickshire it is anticipated that one-third of people who currently receive free care will no longer be eligible, and Nottingham County Council have cut £72 million from their adult care budget resulting in a riot against council property.
We are asking you to help protect disabled people against both cuts to benefits and care funding and through that to help prevent more disabled people either killing themselves or being forced to live in increasing fear. These cuts contravene the convention rights guaranteed to disabled people under the UNCRPD which was ratified by the UK government last year which as I am sure you know is currently being monitored.
Please support EDM 706 ‘Spending Cuts and Disabled People’
Please also email one of us, email@example.com, to show your support. We would be happy to meet with you to discuss these issues further.
Disabled people are providing growing evidence that councils across the country are cutting the support they need to live independently. A disabled man in Dudley said the council had been cutting people’s support after moving them from direct payments to personal budgets. He said: “People who were on direct payments and are now on personal budgets are talking about a 33 to 50 per cent cut, but probably closer to 50 per cent. That is based on what a lot of disabled people are telling us.
In another urban borough, a disabled man, David has been given a package of four hours a week over four visits, plus one night visit a week. Another man in the same borough with a similar level of support need, who died earlier this year, had been receiving 24-hour support. David’s partner said she was told by a social worker: “If it had been so many months earlier he would have got it [24-hour care], but they have cut the packages and at the moment this is what we can offer…because of the cuts.”
A manager working for the borough’s centre for independent living said: “ It is looking like it is going backwards from community care. It could be that people will be going into nursing homes.”
Disabled people in the London borough of Brent say they have also been told by their council that they will have their hours halved from next November. She said “They are scared, they are really scared. They don’t know what is going to happen.”
Anthony from Camden faces a range of environmental barriers which mean that he needs someone available to support him 24 hours per day whereas his local authority alleges that he can manage with just 11 hours per day support. When he was at university he was able to get the kind of support he needs, whereas now his local authority are effectively telling him to “cope” in an unsafe and highly restrictive environment.
Meanwhile, the Coalition on Charging has pointed to evidence that disabled and older people and carers are being hit disproportionately by spending cuts in local authorities, with some councils planning to restrict access to support and raise service charges.
Meanwhile we are hearing of more and more disabled people who are thinking of killing themselves because they feel that their lives will no longer be worth living.
Read the comments from disabled people at http://disabledpeopleprotest.wordpress.com/uk-disabled-peoples%E2%80%99-protest-virtual-protest-page/