Cute foxes, Sir Lenny Henry and the benefit cap?

We have had more policy scrutiny over badger culls and fox hunting than we have had over the benefit cap. What does that say?!


So cute and adorable …

Where was I? Oh yes the we couldn’t give a shit attitude over the benefit cap and its horrendous implications.

It is seemingly acceptable that three quarters of a million children can be made homeless and have their life chances ruined – for that is what the reduced benefit cap will do directly from next April

It is seemingly acceptable that 360,000 adults in the 230,000 households with these 750,000 children will be made homeless.

It is seemingly acceptable that the reduced benefit cap policy will save the Treasury coffers of Osborne £100 million per year yet cost local government and the local taxpayer £3,000 million more – That’s £3 billion per year more or 30 times the saving to housing benefit.

It is seemingly acceptable that the general public believe (and want to believe?) that a cap on benefits means the benefit bill must fall when the benefit bill has increased by £1 billion per year at the £500 per week cap and will increase further when this is reduced to £384 per week next April.

It is seemingly acceptable that social landlords – I will repeat that SOCIAL landlords – will no longer accommodate households on benefit as they are too high a financial risk – That too is a direct consequence of the reduced overall benefit cap.  Where will and can such families live? …becomes the obvious question and it applies to those currently working who lose a job for whatever reason not just the pejorative term in the workless.

All of the above are horrendous consequences and direct consequences of the reduction in the overall HOUSING BENEFIT cap from £500 per week to £384 per week, itself a 23% cut alone.

It was only a little over 2 years ago that full housing benefit was paid to all social housing tenants and only April 2013 that the benefit cap and the bedroom tax stopped the payment of full housing benefit.

How devastatingly quickly we find that social housing has changed and how quickly all and sundry have become accustomed to this and seemingly accepting that a secure roof over the heads of those most vulnerable in society and their children is something that is no longer acceptable.

Do we in Britain now have the same sort of compassion fatigue it was said a few years ago about famine stricken sub-Saharan Africa?  You know we had Band Aid 30 years ago and they are still in famine and charity begins at home was often stated by the chattering and working classes.  The same for Comic Relief and for Children in Need yet they repeatedly get more and more each year despite this alleged compassion fatigue we are said to have.

The Queen even knights Sir Lenny Henry for this compassion yet woe betide anyone who speaks out against austerity in the UK.

Austerity is de rigueur and a necessity else we will be like Greece we are told day in day out and ALL the Opposition parties in Parliament will not dare say a word against austerity in case they are labelled as the party of welfare.

In short we have elected politicians who are shit scared to say making 750,000 children homeless is not acceptable.

Just dwell on that for a second.

The Benefit Cap – which even the Conservatives do not deny actually costs MORE – will see 750,000 CHILDREN and their 360,000 parents made homeless all for the sake of what exactly?

A city the size of every man, woman and child in Birmingham to be evicted and made homeless all for the sake of ………..??????????

The reduced benefit cap will cost the taxpayer THIRTY TIMES MORE THAN IT SAVES

YET the general public is happy to believe as indeed are the spineless inept politicians ready to believe that a cap must reduce cost when it increases the taxpayer cost.  So either the Labour Party believe the public are too thick to understand that a cap means an increased cost or they are too lazy to do their job as Her Majesty’s Official Opposition and scrutinise what the benefit cap policy is and means and how it impacts.

Yet it is not just the Labour politicians who are spineless incompetents it is also the mainstream media.

In the run up to the budget of last week we have all and sundry speculating on what would be cut to make the £12 billion of savings the Conservatives had promised pre-election, which to their own admitted surprise they won with a majority and now HAD to find – That is why it was an emergency budget – the emergency being the Conservatives now had to put up or shut up and find policy to make the claimed £12 billion savings whereas pre-election this was just an electoral gambit.

In the frenzied speculation pre emergency budget it become a national pastime of where would you make the cuts being run by all national newspapers – flying kites for the Conservatives who were no doubt gauging any public reaction to them.  And in all of those games in the media, printed social and television media, the data and figures used were those from the IFS, the Institute of Fiscal Studies.

The IFS figures were sacrosanct and taken as read as being correct and reliable and unimpeachable and never questioned as to their veracity.  If the IFS says it then it must be true is short.  So what did the IFS say about the benefit cap and the other reforms to housing benefit such as bedroom tax that had gone before?

ifs hb real terms

The benefit cap at £500 per week had COST MORE THAN IT SAVED – dwell on that too.

Why hasn’t anyone QUESTIONED the validity of the benefit cap is the question politicians, the media and the public need to ask.  It costs mores and yet that is fine because we are willing to be ignorant and frankly can’t be arsed to check if the policy actually WORKS.

It is not as if it has insignificant consequences in three-quarters of a million CHILDREN alone being made homeless!

Frankly reader I am struggling not to say WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?

Then we have the sandal wearing bleeding heart woolly liberal Guardian which is hardly the organisation you would expect to swallow the myths of austerity and NO question the policies of austerity such as the benefit cap.  So when two Guardian journalists came into possession of a leak to say the reduced benefit cap would put 40,000 children into poverty they frankly wet themselves over the leak and did not bother to check the figures – figures they themselves had put out just the previous week.

obcguardian 40000

Leaving aside the strapline and caveat of “…if parents are unable to find extra work” which buys into the austerity narrative the headline is the reduced benefit cap would put 40,000 more children into poverty!

40,000? – The Guardian said the same week and also in the article above that 90,000 more families would be hit by the benefit cap and on average those 90,000 families would have at least 3 children – That is 270,000 children living in households in which the subsistence level / minimum amount you need to live on benefit income was being reduced.

I do not know what the Guardian uses as a definition of poverty yet having LESS than the minimum the law says you need to live on which adorns every welfare benefit decision notice must – by definition – be a state of poverty. Yet so wetting themselves over the scoop of a ‘leak’ the Guardian instead runs with the benefit cap will see an extra 40,000 children being put into poverty!

Since then the benefit cap estimate was massively increased and the CAB in a report a week or so ago said:-

  • An estimated 150,000 adults and 395,000 children will be affected by the £23,000 cap, including those who are already capped at £26,000.

That was based on the £23,000 per year cap applying across the country yet the budget only applied the £23,000 cap to 13% of the country – ie London – and a lower £20,000 per year cap to the other 87% of the UK so the figures are much much higher than the CAB estimate.

Yet even so with the current £500 per week cap hitting an average of 25,000 households and circa 80,000 children affected even the CAB working on the higher overall cap of £23,000 said the number of children affected would be 395,000 – an increase of over 300,000 children all of whom are put into poverty yet the Guardian said it was just going to be 40,000 more children when it was eight times that figure!Excuse me but what fucking planet are you on!

It is not only the press and the television media who simply do not have a clue and can’t be arsed finding out as social media is the same.  Only this morning I read on Labourlist – an organisation funded by the Unions amongst others, that sends out Labour Party news to its members – which said the benefit cap will put just 40,000 more children into poverty.

In an article here entitled and presumably without any irony:

labour list 40k cap

They said:

If the government goes ahead with further reducing the benefits cap, the civil service has estimated that 40,000 more children will be forced into poverty.

If you want to give credible advice then those facts that are sacred as the Guardian uses as a strap line are pretty important and in any case Labour MPs are so shit scared to say anything against austerity they even had the reduced benefit cap in the manifesto and potential leaders resembling Mark Thatcher in the Sahara desert

Thus far we can see the politicians do not know the impacts of the benefit cap and they can’t even be arsed to scrutinise the policy or it impacts or its costs.  We have mainstream journalists who cannot see the wood from the trees and perpetuate the myth of the supposed leak which can now be seem to be one of the most disingenuous veracity and not worthy of the trashiest spy novel which you can get tens of thousand for free on a kindle.

All of this is seemingly acceptable!  It must be concern reader that the media and the MPs think this is too complicated a matter to bother the pretty little heads of the general public with as the combined opposition MPs and the throng of journalists who report on politics must surely have ONE who can be arsed to know what the policy means?

Then again a few weeks ago I had to explain to a social landlord Chief Executive how the benefit cap works so perhaps not as the zeitgeist really is shirker compassion fatigue!

I wonder if it will still be seemingly acceptable when Daily Mail readers are up in arms next year as even they will know someone who has been evicted and their children made homeless yet they will save their fire and brimstone for the local council – even the Conservative runs ones – which from April 2017 will (among other measures):

  • make bin collections twice a month rather than weekly and
  • close down the local libraries and
  • close down and day centres they still run, and
  • go from a free meals on wheels service to the elderly having to pay £10 per day and
  • the council tax going up as much as is permissible without being sanctioned

– just so the local council can pay its share of the added £3,000,000,000 cost the councils will have just in temporary homeless accommodation due directly to the benefit cap reduction.

We have had more policy scrutiny over badger culls and fox-hunting than we have had over the benefit cap – you might just get what I mean now eh reader?

7 thoughts on “Cute foxes, Sir Lenny Henry and the benefit cap?

  1. But this is God less Britain, where to poor and needy are all lame and lazy and defraud the welfare state, where the uneducated, become the unemployable, in a ever increasing circle, were the rich get richer and the poor get nothing. Problem is as more and more are affected by this ever increasing cycle we will be left as in the USA, super rich and poor, creating the same breakdown in law and order and society in general. This in fact will lead to the unrest and riots in the streets forcast in the fifties by a well know brigadier. The working classes must begin to see the writing on the wall soon.

  2. it looks like it has to reach its awful and inevitable conclusions before the apathetic, judgemental, im alrightjack or even if im not i cant do anything about it, people will have to do something about it.

    they can only keep on this route until the effects of their policies are all round and indisputable.
    they cannot hide the effects by spin and lies when it is obvious to everyone the reality of the effects of their policies.

    i am as shocked as others who have tried for years to warn of the consequences at how much they have been allowed to get away with in the last few years.

  3. Badgers and foxes are easily recognized, and those who would protect them assume they’re harmless little woodland creatures (they’re not, but I’m not in favour of hunting or culling them, either). It is easy in Britain to stir the nation’s conscience over animal welfare issues – provided of course they don’t conflict with our desire to eat meat and eggs: but that’s another issue.

    What the public doesn’t like to do is think and analyse, and it’s hard to blame them when the papers we read and the politicians we elect either don’t understand the consequences of benefit capping (as it seems, incredibly, Harriet Harman doesn’t) or have their fingers crossed that somehow or other someone else will take up the slack. Harman says – idiotically – that Labour can’t “campaign against the electorate”; but all the electorate reads is that benefits are being limited, from which they understand that single-mothers who have many children from different fathers will have to, er, stop it; or that the likes of Mick Philpott (who is taken as a common example rather than the vanishingly rare one he actually was) would have to get a job and support his own children.

    This softening-up of the electorate has been going on since Blair and his acolytes mithered on about those “languishing on benefits”; there was never a scintilla of thought behind it, it paved the way for Duncan Smith and Osborne, and it’s now an uphill struggle even to get people to listen: because if they listened they’d have to cast their prejudices aside and use their brains. I’m afraid I see no immediate sign that the great British public is prepared to do anything of the kind; and Labour lacks the guts (generally speaking) to tell us that we must. People do not understand what the cap means – this electorate doesn’t do maths, and is shielded in its ignorance by politicians and newspapers who don’t do it either. What we DO about it is the question – how do we get through to parties whose leaderships fester in deep-seated ignorance, or encourage it in the rest of us?

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