On November 20th the Doncaster Central Development Trust is hosting another of it’s important and timely debates, this time the theme is ‘Benefit Changes; Welfare Reform or Unfair Cuts?‘
The coalition government is to combine unemployment benefits, tax credits and housing benefit into a single payment called the “Universal Credit”. This will consist of a basic personal amount with additional elements for disability, caring responsibilities, children and housing costs.The idea is to streamline the benefits system in incentivise people to take on ‘mini-jobs’ as a gateway to get back to work. Or at least that’s the theory…
Unfortunately a recent report from the Joseph Rowntree Trust suggests that many poor people will be “left to deal with a more complex benefits system thanand those who do decide to take on ‘mini-jobs’ could lose existing benefits such as free school meals and free prescriptions as their earnings rise. As someone who already earns just over the threshold for free school meals and prescriptions I know all too well the pressures this can put on a family.
As for those on existing benefits only 54% of claimants feel that they can manage the transaction to direct payments and it has been suggested that around two and a quarter million people may fall into rent arrears due to the implementation of Universal Credit… which explains why the same government criminalised the squatting of residential buildings for the first time in English legal history earlier this year.
Like it or not these changes are likely to affect the vast majority of families in Doncaster and we really need to make ourselves aware of them so that we’re fully prepared for the changes… and so that we can organise to protect the vulnerable if necessary!
Hope you can join us for what promises to be an interesting – if heated – debate…
email wes[dot]wilkie[at]doncastercdt[dot]org to reserve your place.