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Friday, 9 November 2018
FOODBANKS, CRIME, HOMELESSNESS and BARNET COUNCIL's FINANCIAL PROBLEMS
BARNET PROPOSAL TO CUT SUPPORT FOR LOW PAID AND DISABLED FOR COUNCIL TAX
We have been onto the Barnet Council ENGAGE website today to see how they are going to realign their Council Tax support to make it match Universal Credit and take many of the policies of this. That is a major problem for our area. Universal Credit is the reason why thousands now sleep on the streets of most of our major cities - and the reason for the massive growth of Food Banks. This is fact and has been agreed by all political parties. We will therefore see the situation which has got worse this year get like many of those areas in our area. Up until recently very poor and low income families including those who are self employed - on zero hours - or disabled have been protected in Barnet by what are called legacy benefits. This is now all changing with the first step in Council Tax support.
We have read the documents on the website and think that they are actually not very good at pointing out the real disaster that is facing people. For instance a Self Employed or Zero hours worker who earns less than £750 a month ( and there are many ) will now be attributed with a salary of at least £1250 a month and their support will be adjusted downwards. This almost certainly will lead to non payment and homelessness for many of the poorest in our area. With many struggling from the previous cuts from 2014 onwards this will double the problems that those on low incomes will face. Barnet claim that they have run out of money. This is the only way they can save money and still meet their legal commitments. This may be true - but the effect of this massive cut to the poor in our community is morally wrong - it goes against everything promised in the Local Elections ( This was never mentioned ) and will lead to more problems on our streets which we have already seen in recent months.
From our offices we have seen the effects - witnessed a murder scene - seen an armed robbery - and much more in the last 11 months. We link these things to poverty and the reduction of help to the poor in our community. We dont want to see things get worse. So we are asking Barnet Council to reconsider. They can hold a referendum for an increase in Council Tax which will bring in more money from the richest in our area - yet leaves the poor support in place. Surely this is the decent thing to do in 2018 and the best thing for our community. We all want to have a lovely place to live - Barnet Council have asked for consultation about this cut to the poor working age people of our Borough. We say it is a cut too far. It is surely time for the rich in the area to realise that crime could indeed rocket if people are reduced to destitution by these cuts. We dont want to see in Barnet what has been happening in other places due to these policies.
Surely there are alternatives to this policy which could see support slashed by up to 50% or more to the most vulnerable in our society. The consultation ends on November 29th. We suggest you lobby your councillors and our MP about your worries about this unjust proposal.