Letter The Guardian
The minister for welfare reform told the House of Lords that “it is bluntly impossible to do a total cumulative assessment … you don’t know what to put in or take out”. However, away from the blur of statistics in the Department for Work and Pensions, he should publish a limited assessment of the cumulative impact of the reforms down here in the London borough of Haringey.
The council has decided to charge people on benefits 20% council tax. Its analysis shows that 73 individuals will have to pay between £41.43 and £158.01 a week out of their £71 weekly jobseeker’s allowance (JSA), due to the cumulative impact of the council tax and the overall benefit cap from April. Also 49 couples with two children will have to pay between £72.40 and £255.24 out of their JSA plus children’s benefits of £258 a week.
Housing benefit cap adds to the damage done by the cumulative impact of the council tax and overall benefit cap (Editorial, 9 January). Moving uprating from RPI to CPI and the proposed 1% freeze on benefit uprating (News, 9 January) will further reduce the low value of the benefits in relation to the escalating prices of necessities.
Some brave claimants in Haringey, Camden and Hackney are starting the process of judicial review of those councils’ consultations. Information about the cumulative impact and options other than taxing benefits were not put to residents in Haringey. I would be prepared to pay the £45 a year, or 86p a week on band D, to leave the 100% council tax benefit for my poorest fellow citizens untouched. I was never given that option.
Rev Paul Nicolson
Taxpayers Against Poverty