‘GROSS INJUSTICE’ – PCS slams benefits cap

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‘It is a gross injustice that hard-pressed households are being punished for economic problems caused by greedy bankers and politicians by having their benefits capped, while millionaires are getting a tax cut.’

A PCS spokesman was commenting on the Tory-LibDem Coalition’s ‘benefits cap’ which came in in four London boroughs yesterday, hitting families in Haringey, Enfield, Croydon and Bromley.

The cap, which is also set to be imposed across England, Scotland and Wales between July and September, means families will not receive more than £500 and single people £350.

Jobseeker’s allowance, income support, child and housing benefit all come under the cap.

It has been estimated that the cap will result in an average cut of £93 a week for the 40,000 households initially affected.

Sarah Burns, a single mother, said yesterday that she would lose about £90 a week.

She said: ‘Obviously we will have to cut down on shopping bills. And we’ll have to cut our use of gas and electricity. It’s really that serious.

‘Activities that the children do, like school trips and scout cubs, I probably won’t be able to afford any more.’

Dave Morris, from the Haringey Federation of Residents Associations, said ‘Everybody is entitled to secure affordable decent housing in the area where they live and that is something that will have to be fought for again.

‘That’s why council housing was created, and for the last 20 years council housing has been run down with “right to buy” and lack of affordable housing being built.

‘What is happening is that a national housing crisis is being engineered by the people who are making the decisions at the top, and it is not acceptable.

‘A lot of people are extremely worried. As residents associations we are very concerned to stand up for the interests of our communities and our members and something needs to be done.

‘It’s just not acceptable what’s happening. Up until 1988 there were statutory rent controls throughout the UK and therefore, when they were scrapped, rents have gone skyhigh nationally and I don’t think landlords should be pleading poverty.’

‘There is a housing action group in Haringey which we support and there is a growth of these kind of groups setting up in boroughs throughout London where people are getting together to support each other and start campaigning.

‘Only last Saturday at the weekend a thousand people marched down the Tottenham High Road calling for rent controls, affordable housing and full benefits to be restored.

‘And there was a protest that I was on this morning in Stratford at the DWP to call on the workers not to implement these sorts of horrific policies.

‘So I think that concern is growing and it is an indictment of our society if it can’t ensure the very basic thing that people need, which is a home to live in.’