Trickle-Down Does Not Work

The concept of trickle-down economics always struck me as ludicrous nonsense. I have never been able to take anyone seriously who believed in it or supported it. To me, it has always been a preposterous notion that could only be backed and sustained by the avaricious and narcissistic.

The test of time has shown us clearly, now, beyond doubt, that trickle-down is absolute bunkum and flim-flam.

We now know, beyond doubt, that wealth has travelled upstream. We have seen the 1% get richer, as the 99% (that’s “us” by the way) stagnate and get poorer.

We have seen imposed ‘austerity’ – which is itself a grotesque nonsense – impose poverty and cuts on public services, as well as our most vulnerable citizens – and all whilst the richest have got far richer.

There is no possibility in the sense of ‘austerity’ been genuine that the number of billionaires could more than double in number as they have, in the same 3 years as so many public services and vulnerable people have faced such barbaric cuts.

We have a 1% in which a great many do NOT want to pay a fair share in taxes. In the bigger picture, I would like a different system, for want of a better word. But under what we have now, I think that, if one is part of a super-rich elite, that it is fair you should pay more. That does not punish success, and frankly that argument is one of greed and avarice. If the rich paid more, and that was directly spent to benefit the 99%, then you would start to see wealth trickle-down. But in turn, this would also benefit the wealthier, as more people would have money to save and spend.

The bottom-line seems to me, though, that continuing down the current road has no future worth having unless you are in that 1%.

But we have to change that. It’s up to “us” to do that, because the 1% “them” love ‘austerity’ and keeping the river of wealth flowing upstream.

This recent programme shows just how ‘trickle-down’ economics has failed, and why it will never work. If you’ve not seen it, it is a must-see in my humble opinion:-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04xw2x8/the-superrich-and-us-episode-1#group=p02fv3nt

 

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Mainstream Media Mendacity

One knew that it was all rubbish, so why let oneself be worried by it? She knew when to cheer and when to boo, and that was all one needed. If he persisted in talking of such subjects, she had a disconcerting habit of falling asleep. She was one of those people who can go to sleep at any hour and in any position. Talking to her, he realised how easy it was to present an appearance of orthodoxy while having no grasp whatever of what orthodoxy meant. In a way, the world-view of the Party imposed itself most successfully on people incapable of understanding it. They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening. By lack of understanding they remained sane. They simply swallowed everything, and what they swallowed did them no harm, because it left no residue behind, just as a grain of corn will pass undigested through the body of a bird.

Excerpt from ‘1984’ by George Orwell.

This is true of today’s world, not just in the UK.  But we have it worse in some ways with our infamous press – as we well know. Despite this, people still pay money to read this, oh, what’s the word……? Oh, yeah, crap!

The ‘not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening‘ is so relevant today. People claim to take an interest by listening to TV and radio news, or reading about it in the papers – the very sources from where they are being misinformed and dis-informed.

Sufficiently interested‘ seems key to me; for to take a greater and deeper interest into matter is the path that reveals the full story or facts behind a headline or news report. To find out more for oneself, by digging deeper, is wherein the truth lies.

Our fast-paced, instant-gratification lifestyles are partly at fault, as to dig deeper requires time and, of course, effort. Sadly, on the latter, it seems that ‘effort’ and ‘hassle’ are becoming the same thing for some people.

All too often, the General Public at large don’t get to grips with the real truth until years later, if indeed ever. This can be seen in recent years with both welfare and immigration, especially with the thoughtless somehow thinking that people on benefits (most of whom are in-work) are somehow in charge of setting their pay levels.

The truth is the government and media have hoodwinked a huge proportion of the public on these issues, and many others, including the NHS. Until the public break this cycle, the public will continue to let themselves be fooled and played.

If you’re affected by the issues of, for example, welfare, then you know the truth and reality is very different from what you see in the papers or on TV. And you’ll know, too, that rather than welfare benefits being too high, the truth is that they were inadequate before the cuts.

The fact that pay is too low and stagnant has little – if anything – to do with this.

But, for the most part, people in general are too far removed from the day-to-day realities of the people who are affected by such issues, and so, therefore, are not ‘sufficiently interested’ to find out more; to find out the truth. They hear the stories, the news, and perhaps pass a reactionary remark (which today they class as their ‘opinion’). Then, with little or no more thought, carry on with their lives as if nothing had happened; as if nothing is wrong. They are not affected by it – and so don’t experience the impact in their own lives.

Or, as Orwell put it:-

They simply swallowed everything, and what they swallowed did them no harm, because it left no residue behind, just as a grain of corn will pass undigested through the body of a bird.

 

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My wife and child are disabled, I care for them. Govt have made our lives a living hell. No government should do this to citizens.

I have no idea why my wife and I ever bothered paying into the system. Which, in turn, means we wonder why we ever bothered working.

People buy into all the TV productions, media headlines and political nonsense about benefits. But the likes of newspaper stories, “Benefits Street” or Benefits Britain are not factually typical or realistic. They are far from representative, and always one-sided.

There is a great myth that has been spun by the government and media; the myth is that welfare benefits were too generous, too high and needed to be cut.

However, the reality is very different from this image that has skewed people’s perceptions of welfare. The truth is that welfare benefits were never too high. Far from it, they were in fact inadequate.

The truth is that pay levels have been and still are grossly insufficient. Combined with high prices and a high cost of living, it is no wonder most people feel ‘cheated’.

But welfare benefits were only set at a level to meet these costs and prices. Even then, they were only set at levels to barely meet those costs. The fact that low pay could not meet these costs was never the fault of people on welfare benefits; they have no impact on your pay level.

Blaming people on welfare was a tactic government used to cause divisions across the country; so while people are busy blaming those not working, they don’t focus on their own poor pay levels, rising prices or what the government are actually doing.

Rents have been a particular issue. David Cameron promised that cutting Housing Benefit would bring rents down. This was always, obviously, complete nonsense with no basis in fact. Rents have risen year on year.

Of course, expensive areas have special characteristics when it comes to, for example, property prices, rents and other associated costs living in such an area – with London being a more special case.

But the government has taken London as a model and, as a political mechanism, applied the ‘one fits all’ idea across the country.

Of course, I do not need to tell you that house prices and rents in London are not the same as those in, for example, York, Great Yarmouth, Chelmsford, Huddersfield, Nottingham, Southampton (etc etc).

In fact, rents differ greatly, and this is why setting the Local Housing Allowance (Housing Benefit) on the median had some logical sense. On the 50th percentile, people were still likely to need to top-up their rents, but at least it gave people options (if they could find a landlord who would accept Housing Benefit).

On the 30th percentile, in many areas across the UK, people will never be able to find a home. For example, in many parts of the UK, family homes begin well above the 50th percentile. It’s no surprise there is a housing crisis – and a growing rent debt crisis.

This distortion of the truth by this government is absolutely appalling. They portray a nation of lazy scroungers – when in fact unemployed people account for only 3% of welfare spending. And, of course, unemployed does not automatically equal ‘lazy’.

The reality is that, after pensions, people in work are a much bigger draw on welfare benefits.

That is largely down to pay being grossly insufficient. The State knows pay is too low – that’s why all the in-work benefits exist.

The truth is that the government has betrayed people – both in and out of work. By keeping your pay low (via in-work benefits  – yes, people get paid AND get welfare benefits!), you are being held back in progressing your life and your career – whilst your employer, directors and shareholders benefit from all your efforts.

We worked hard for years, and both of us had excellent incomes. I worked in Computer Science and then later in Software Development and management. My wife worked in finance. We had cars, a house (or should I say mortgage), holidays every year, and we didn’t want for anything.

One can argue that we worked for it and earned it, but the truth is that we had good fortune too. As much as people try to ‘make their own luck’, we all need the cards to be kind.

But now, I am full-time carer to my disabled wife. I also bring up our children (one of our children is also disabled). We have costs due to disability that are both high and unavoidable. But we have no way of raising or earning money in our situation.

Most people who have never experienced disability would be astounded and scared by the sheer extra costs. They can easily run to several hundred pounds extra each month. We don’t set these costs/prices no more than we asked to be afflicted with disabilities.

It is atrocious and shameful what this government are doing to disabled people. David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Iain Duncan Smith and others, such as Lord Freud, are not fit to be in power. Supporters of this government should be ashamed of themselves.

Both my grandfathers fought in World War 2. I’m sure they would be disgusted with the way this Govt., the media and many people in the UK view and treat vulnerable and disabled people. I’m sure they’d have searching questions about what they were fighting for.

My friend’s father worked all his life whilst also looking after his disabled wife, and bringing up his son. He paid into the system all his life. He worked hard all his life. And his reward? He died suddenly, shortly after taking early retirement. He never got to enjoy retirement.

His son, who is now himself unwell, is another who is being hit hard by the government’s welfare reforms. His son also worked for quite some years. People have worked hard and paid in, and the government are now not providing enough money, help and support.

What was the point of his working and paying in? Why bother?

It is very hard to get insured against such things. It may be easier or harder now, I’m not sure. But when we did it, it was near impossible to get cover with multiple medical problems and unpredictable progressive conditions. The policy we had would not pay out, arguing on legal technicalities. We progressed with it for a while but we eventually hit an impasse, where they basically told us we would have to take them to court. Of course, we were no longer in a position to do this. Subsequent cuts to legal by the coalition government were the final nail in the coffin. I do not see how David Cameron can say this is helping people, do you?

Moreover, though, it’s irrelevant in many ways. Had insurance paid out, we would not have been able to claim many welfare benefits. We would have had to live off that money until it was exhausted. And with no options for earning more money, that would not have lasted very long. As costs are far more than what we get, savings would have been exhausted too. Ultimately, we would still be in this position, even if insurance paid out. But it didn’t. And we are not alone.

Now, our fixed income does not even meet 70% of basic bills. These welfare reforms are hitting the most vulnerable the hardest. They are causing anxiety, depression, illness, homelessness and increased child poverty. This cannot be acceptable. We saw the terrible effects of homelessness and child poverty in the late 80s/early 90s. It was terrible. It put tremendous strain on the NHS, which of course costs a lot more than welfare or the likes of housing benefit. It’s government irresponsibility that costs money and punishes rather than empowers people.

We are adversely affected by a number of the welfare reforms, and the number of changes has a cumulative impact. Our situation is directly attributable to the welfare reform policies. We did not have these problems before the welfare reforms. These reforms have adversely affected the vulnerable, and to challenge this legally is very difficult with parallel severe cuts in legal aid.

When my wife’s condition worsened, we both had to stop working. I too have a slight disability but nothing like my wife’s. We lived off our savings for a time, but ended up having to down-size our house, sell the cars, belongings etc. Eventually, after having to give up our smaller home, we had to rent. We exhausted our savings to live on, sold everything. We lost everything we had ever worked for. What was the point in our working?

And now – now we need something back from the system we paid into and trusted, the government deny us this. They have broken that trust. They have put us into personal debt that is spiralling and – if our fixed remains so insufficiently low – inescapable.

Had we not worked, we’d be no worse or better off today. So what was the point? There wasn’t one.

This isn’t about party politics. No decent human being with an iota of intelligence could support this government’s welfare reforms.

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What happened to my wife and I

What happened to my wife and I

I’d just like to share again what happened to my wife and I.

If you believe or support the Tories these are the consequences. 

This is what happens when people buy into the ludicrous political spin and lies about welfare, benefits and disabled people.

Each and every one of us has a choice whether we believe what the Govt and media claim, or whether we find out facts for ourselves and speak to real people.

Each and every one of us has a choice whether we help promote such unacceptable behaviour and conduct, or whether we feel such things have no place in a civilized nation and should be stopped.

 

 

 

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Homes, Not Housing.

During the 1980s and 1990s, the then Conservative Government placed unemployed people and families in Guest Houses and Bed & Breakfasts. This fast became the norm with them, despite it costing much more than paying rent.

The shortage of housing, at the time, was in part because falling housing levels (due to Council House sell-offs) were not compensated for with new builds.

This is a problem we could soon see David Cameron’s puerile government repeat.

Many people attribute the Guest House and B&B families as the starting point for what became generational unemployment.

In those days, people (especially young people) were demonized and stigmatized by employers and people if they lived in a B&B or on a particular council estate.

I remember a friend from those times telling me how his job interview had gone really well, up until he was asked where he was from. The prospective employer frowned upon his reply, because the particular area was well-known for crime, drugs and other problems. The tone of the interview then changed completely.

My friend was tarred with the same brush as the criminals that happened to live in the same area. The reputation had become so well-known locally that it could engulf people, if others allowed it. Obviously, not everyone from that area was like that, but, like so many people, the employer was narrow-minded and just did not want to take his application further.

Bigoted ignorance in action – and, sadly, it’s just as prevalent today.

The sick irony about the B&B families is that David Cameron and his Government lecture to people today about a problem that a previous Conservative Administration were instrumental in creating.

During that period, the then Conservative Government created and deserted those B&B families. They did not care, and left those families and children to fester in a cycle of poverty. The children of these families inherited the cycle.

In living a life like that, daily life was about survival. The daily pressures were about the basic necessities of basic day-to-day living. Those pressures were daily and incessant. Building a ‘normal’ life was out of the question; people were trapped in a cycle, and getting employment was very difficult for most and impossible for some.

I am not partisan, but it has to be said that Labour did do a lot of good in lifting so many families out of poverty – families that otherwise would have been locked in a cycle of poverty and unemployment.

Now, this Conservative-lead Government is about to do the same again.

Forcing people and families to move out of and away from their homes and communities to cheaper and already-impoverished areas – where there is often much less work – will inevitably create benefit ghettos, areas of high unemployment, and pockets of extreme poverty.

Once again, innocent people and children will be unduly punished and become stigmatized or demonized.

Once again, the children will suffer the most and pay the price.

These environments are excellent breeding grounds for crime, theft, robbery, gangs, bullying, protection rackets, drug-dealing, drug use, drug-dependency, prostitution and even murder. They take innocent children away from education and the life to which they should be given a chance of having, and push them into a life of crime, unemployment and hopelessness.

They destroy people’s self-confidence, self-worth and self-respect.

We had developed; we had evolved; we had moved forward. We had moved on from those problems of 80s and 90s that let our children down so badly. Do we really want to go back?

One of the best achievements I saw in social mobility since the mid 1990s, was seeing children from poor backgrounds being able to grow up and develop alongside children from better off families.

In that environment, children can feel hope daily. They can see the benefits of working from both a financial and lifestyle perspective. The have real aspirations that are within their grasp, not just pipe dreams. They can form friendships that would otherwise be impossible.

It makes the world of difference. They can concentrate on their education and enjoy being a child or teenager. They can do this without having to worry about their house being broken into again, or the person two doors down trying to force them to buy or sell drugs, or forcing them to give them “protection” money. In my view, that is no way to live.

For people, children and families, a house should be what it was designed to be – a home; somewhere you want to go back to; somewhere you feel ‘safe’; somewhere you can feel happy; somewhere you can live, not just exist.

There has been so much nonsense in the media and from Government about housing, rent prices and Housing Benefit.

David Cameron has lectured people about housing, as if the poor somehow had a hand in setting the rent levels. The landlord decides this, and if they cannot get what they want from Housing Benefit (HB)/LHA, they simply turn to non-Housing Benefit tenants.

The idea that reducing HB will drive rents down is ridiculous; that somehow, landlords will just sit back and take less money, when they can just turn to working people not on HB, is just not realistic.

In fact, the opposite is happening, which is what many people in the property sector predicted. My own area, like many others across the UK, has seen a rise in rents in recent months. In my case, we’ve seen the largest rise in rents for years.

This is in part due to demand, as more people (especially younger) are unable to buy and are forced to rent.

Moreover, the demonization David Cameron and his Government have created means that fewer and fewer landlords are taking people on HB – and that includes working people.

Our landlord will no longer take new HB tenants. He believes the system is unfair to both landlords and tenants, as it punishes tenants for high rents that they have no control over. The flip side, for him, is that the much lower Housing Benefit Local Housing Allowance levels are far less than what he can get if he rents to non-HB tenants.

This is going to develop into a major nationwide housing crisis.

We all need rents to come down, irrespective of where we live or whether we are in or out of work, in receipt of HB/LHA or not.

I feel as though this Government treats people as though we were cattle. They use the word “stock” to refer to many things, including houses and disabled people.

I think this gives us all some insight into just how fundamentally out-of-touch the Conservative-lead Coalition Government is.

When they talk of “housing somebody”, they make people feel awful. It’s degrading, condescending and disrespectful. It’s sounds almost like choosing a kennel for a pet dog.

The truth is, we are talking about somebody’s home, which is far more than just bricks and windows. We are also talking about their lives – their friends, relatives, community, schools, GPs, children, work and livelihood.

There is an ignorance in this country that has been encouraged by David Cameron and the Government about welfare, benefits and housing. There are many misconceptions and myths that they have helped to flourish. One of which, is that people on Housing Benefit are all unemployed.

This is simply not true. Figures from 2011 showed that only 1 in 8 claiming Housing Benefit were unemployed. There are now more new HB claimants in work than out of work. This shows that earnings are not enough to make ends meet, and that some regulation or control over rent levels is needed urgently.

Cutting and capping benefits is not (and will not) bring rents down for working people lucky enough not to need Housing Benefit.

There is also a myth that all people on Housing Benefit are somehow untrustworthy or high risk. This is also nonsense. In fact, data shows the opposite is the case.

Whilst there may be some that are bad tenants, the same can be said of people in full-time work who do not receive Housing Benefit. (Though many people still get in-work benefits, such as Tax Credits, as pay alone is often not enough to make ends meet.)

There are many people on Housing Benefit because they HAVE to be. For example, disabled people who are no longer able to work ever again.

They may be thoroughly decent, well-educated people, and their Housing Benefit arguably more assured and secure than, for example, someone’s job.

So, why would they be a high risk? Why on Earth would landlords refuse such people?

Should a disabled person who has worked for decades but is now unable to be denied a suitable home because he has to claim Housing Benefit?

Should a disabled person who has worked for decades but is now unable to be denied a suitable home because his or her disability dictates that they need bulky equipment that requires an extra bedroom?

Should a disabled person who has worked for decades but is now unable to be denied a suitable home because his or her disability dictates that they need a full-time carer?

Should a disabled person, with a disabled child, who has worked for decades but is now unable to be denied a suitable home because their disability or their child’s disability dictates that they need an extra bedroom for equipment, or as the child cannot share?

Should a disabled person who has never had the chance to work (because of disability) be denied a suitable home and independent living?

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more examples and scenarios affecting working and non-working people. This Government has failed to cater or consider any of these. In fact, they have ignored such data.

The Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) is meager compared to the cuts to-date. It does not come close to making up the shortfall. Many people are finding it impossible to get too. This is putting people into an inescapable debt cycle.

The Government are failing in so many areas at once, and it is about time people woke up and saw what is really happening – not what David Cameron would have people believe.

I am not partisan; the facts speak for themselves, though. The policy on forcing people and families to move away from the homes and lives into deprived areas is no different in ideology than that of “housing” families in B&Bs and Guest Houses in the 1980s and early 1990s. It rings truer than ever: same old Tories.

David Cameron and this Government are failing our children. They are failing the vulnerable. They are failing the elderly. They are failing disabled people. They are failing businesses. They are failing on the economy. They are failing the NHS. They are failing the unemployed, and they are failing hard-working people.

Let there be no mistake, it is THEY who are “all in it together”, not WE.

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Disabled Access & Parking

This week has been a nightmare. And not just because of all the rain.

At the start of the week, my wife had to go to a medical centre. In order to get to the entrance, you either have to go up 9 steps or via a long, yet quite steep ramp.

Neither of these options were of use to the disabled man we saw trying to get into the centre at the same time.

He only look in his 30s or 40s, yet he clearly had limited mobility and a limited ability to walk. He was being helped by (it later turned out in conversation) his wife.

He was unable to get up the steps or the ramp due to his disability.

Another person went inside to ask for assistance. However, there was nobody to help other than the receptionist. The person on reception was very helpful, but they could not help this poor chap, as they had no wheelchairs available to use.

It came out in conversation with the receptionist that the ones they had were old and damaged and were not going to be replaced due to budget decisions.

In the end, this poor man, who was clearly in pain, was forced to return to his car and had to miss his appointment.

This is an absolute disgrace, and unacceptable. Is this the kind of NHS we want – where the most in need are turned away and left in pain?

The entire site for the medical centre is a joke. The car park only has two usable disabled parking bays, with no immediate path. There is a huge step onto the path that leads to the steps and ramp. In between, there is a big bicycle rack that is mounted onto the wall, which juts out, taking up most of the path.

The latter makes it impossible for any person to use the wall to help walk and means there’s not enough room for a wheelchair on the path.

What is worse, this centre provides care for disabled and elderly people, and people with walking disabilities. This includes chiropody/podiatry. The irony would be funny if it wasn’t so sick.

Who on this planet designs these sites and buildings?

They clearly do not have a clue about the needs of disabled people.

For example, why have a disabled parking bay outside for dropping off, next to a kerb the size of Mount Everest? What use is that to a disabled person who has difficulty with walking or balance?

All too often, people equate ‘disabled access’ with ‘wheelchair’.

This is just simple ignorance.

‘Wheelchair access’ is one thing – and most definitely needed.

But ‘disabled access’ is something else, and covers a whole host of problems that people have to contend with daily.

So when David Cameron, Maria Miller et al claim there’s disabled access everywhere – we know the truth is far different.

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What £26k?

I just wanted to state some facts before I write further.

  • My wife is disabled and needs 24/7 care
  • My wife has a progressive condition
  • I am her full-time carer
  • We have  a disabled child who also needs care during the day and night
  • I am disabled too, with a fluctuating condition that is also progressive
  • We have other children too
  • Both my wife and I used to be able to work and did work for many years
  • I used to earn way above an average salary (more than MPs if I am being open)
  • We had to sell our house, car and valuables to support ourselves
  • Over time, we had to exhaust ALL of our savings (and pension) to pay for equipment, adaptations and care help for which we could not get grants
  • We are now dependent upon welfare and disability benefits
  • There was no way to predict earlier in our lives that this would happen to us, or how bad it could get. As my consultant said, it could happen to anyone, anytime.

Before the cuts, I have to admit that we did struggle, and we could not always make ends meet.

However, since 2011, we have had to replace some equipment – which used up the last of our savings – and the recent cuts we have suffered to-date now mean that we simply do not have the money to pay all of our bills.

This isn’t a question of us ‘cutting back’ . We’ve nothing left to cut back on! But the problem is bigger than that – the difference between what we HAVE to pay out and what comes in is simply too big to bridge.

I know that there are many people with disabilities in this position now but the General Public does not seem to be aware of how severe the problem is.

What’s worse is that there are more cuts to come.

I realize that many people who are working THINK that they are earning or have less money than those on benefits. However, the fact is that this is not the case.

Many people who work claim Housing Benefit (HB) and receive other benefits in the form of tax credits, child benefits and others. One problem is that many who do working don’t know about or don’t claim that to which they are entitled.

In the figures I looked at, only 1 in 8 on HB are unemployed – the remainder being working people, carers and people with disabilities who are unable to work.

The real issue is one the Government tries to keep the focus off – and the General Public from realizing – viz., that the cost of living is unaffordable and rising and earnings are too low in comparison.

This is the real problem.

What people have seen in Housing Benefit payment merely reflects the high and rising cost of living. It is a by-product of the real problem.

Implementing cuts will not reduce the cost of living or improve earnings; in fact, severe, deep cuts are putting a stranglehold on the economy.

When the knock-on effects of the cuts and reforms become visible, this will cast doubt into financial and employment markets.

One has to consider that employers know that employees are often unable to make ends meet on the minimum wage or low salaries. They are aware that people also have to claim Housing Benefit – because earning are not enough.

That should start alarm bells ringing.

In work, people have more easier access to overdrafts, credit cards and pay-day loans – but people are using these just to get by every month. The alarm bells should be ringing like crazy now!

All the evidence points to the real problem.

How can financial markets gain confidence over doubt in a country in which the workforce suffers from such basic personal financial problems?

One really has to step back and THINK about these things, rather than just REACTING.

Economic theory is one thing – but experience shows us that it takes more than that.

We must tackle the cost of living vs earnings problem.

I am fed up with this talk of the £26k cap.

I am assuming this relates to people in London or areas where private landlords are charging obscene or high rents.

I assume this because THAT amount of money (£26k) can only come from Housing Benefit – a benefit that goes to the landlord, NOT the tenant.

In my area, despite house prices falling and the cuts in Housing Benefits, rents have gone up by around 11%.

So much for the Government’s idea.

It was never a good idea.

Why?

Because Housing Benefit was only paid on the 50th percentile. People still had to top up their HB to pay their rent in full.

In addition, landlords stated that if they could not get the rents they wanted, they would just rent to non-HB tenants.

After all, as HB was only paid on the 50th percentile, there was plenty of scope above that level. This is especially as family homes (i.e., larger homes) tend to be above that level anyway.

That’s not to say that all landlords are greedy. But if a landlord wants or needs x amount in rent each month and they cannot get that now via HB tenants (because the tenant cannot afford to make up the difference), they are very unlikely to accept or even consider lowering the rent. We’ve already seen landlords deserting their HB tenants.

You see, it doesn’t do much for lowering rents – for people in and out of work.

I repeat: I  am fed up with this talk of the £26k cap.

Our Housing Benefit is less than £440pcm –  and we receive all the benefits that we are entitled to. We also have to top up to pay our rent.

We do not get anything like £26k. Not even half that – and that’s with two disabled adults (one severely), a disabled child and other children.

Yet, we face costs and expenses that most fit and healthy working people never have.

Because we have to use more gas and electricity, our utility bill is very high. It fluctuates, but during discussions with our supplier, they told me that my usage per quarter is between 2 and 4 times as much as a typical bill for a family in a similar property.

Why so much more?

Well, we have significant extra washing for a number of reasons (which uses a lot more than one might think) and equipment for a start. Then there’s extra heating. Then, we are at home when others are at work (and work gives people the luxury of using their employers power for free).

That’s at least 30-35 hours more per week, plus time otherwise spent commuting etc – it’s easily 40 hours per week more. That’s a lot more usage – but we do not get any extra income to pay towards this AND energy bills have been rising and rising.

That is the tip of the iceberg.

The point is, at a time when disabled people actually need more financial help and support, the Welfare Reform Bill fails to recognize this or protect people with disabilities.

As a start, disabled people (not just single) should be exempt from the Housing Benefit Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate cut and exempt from the ‘bedroom ‘tax’.

Many disabled people and disabled children need an extra bedroom when they are simply unable to share – either because there is not the space due to equipment or because it is unsafe.

Extra equipment, such as special beds, wheelchairs, hoists, commodes and other equipment also requires large areas space. These are not items one can just put in a cupboard.

We have already seen how these cuts are pushing people into care homes or the care of the NHS. This costs FAR MORE; specialist care can cost thousands EACH WEEK and a multidisciplinary NHS team much, much more – not to mention using vital beds and staff.

As each week passes, my family is getting into more debt. With have a fixed income with no means to save. We do not have access to overdrafts, loans or credit cards. We have no disposable cash and now MORE than one bill goes unpaid each month.

And the advice of the bank, local CAB and others is the same – write to your MP!

When the truth of what is really happening to the vulnerable and disabled people (some of who are our brave soldiers who have returned with severe injuries)  – when that truth finally hits the eyes of the General Public, the majority will not tolerate it. The tide will turn.

But how many have to unnecessarily suffer in the meantime? How many have to be forced into inescapable debt? How many have to be pushed into care homes? How many have to lose their independence? And how many will die unnecessarily in the meantime?

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