Over the last three years one word has been at the heart of Government policy: austerity.
Since the Coalition Government's 2010 budget the A-word has been a by-word for changes around the country.
But as well as being defined by financial prudence, austerity is also a word used to describe actions which are harsh or severe – and damaging our communities to boot.
This autumn The Socialist Way (that’s me) is going to investigate how Government cuts are affecting a group of people and lets be honest that have always existed in society they are the thousands who are homeless rootless and yes, excluded. I want to gather evidence on how the lives of rough sleepers or those in their temporary accommodation are changing – from the benefits system, right down to funding cuts.
From October the new benefits system – the Universal Credit – will start to be rolled out across the United Kingdom – and this process will be complete by 2017. Instead of receiving job-seekers, housing and any other financial support in separate payments, you will receive one single amount.
There are some exemptions for supported accommodation – but it’s not clear cut – and it’s how these exemptions really work.that I’m keen to find out about.
In general, with an explosion, every bit as earth shattering as if caused by a bomb, thousands of families have and are still being blown apart by first, the Great Financial Crisis and the Great Recession which began in the United States in 2007 and quickly spread across the globe, marking what appears to be a turning point in world history, and now the capitalist response to that crisis by and in particular our own government here in the United Kingdom and how that impacts on the homeless.
The Government’s aim is for us all to become more financially independent and take responsibility for paying your own bills. This sounds appealing, but managing money isn't straightforward when your life is complicated. However when you don’t have a home and have to move around a lot, then forgetting to pay a bill can easily happen.
Where you stay might be under threat too. In May this year, a court case on the Welsh island of Anglesey was interpreted by some councils to mean they could no longer accept housing benefits to run emergency night shelters. The ruling caused two shelters to threaten to shut their doors, though the authorities later claimed the law had been misunderstood.
Hundreds of vulnerable homeless people face being turned out on to the streets amid confusion over how local authorities should interpret a legal ruling which could trigger the closure of emergency night shelters. Not all night shelters are dependent on housing benefit payments but when they are the only form of emergency accommodation for homeless people in a given area their sudden closure threatens to increase rough sleeping.
Welfare cuts have increased demand by young people for shared housing in London, but supply is shrinking, and landlords aren’t interested. This will lead to more homelessness, says charities.
If you are young, on benefits, and living in London, finding somewhere affordable to live is now all but impossible and Housing benefit reforms mean that the chances of a young single person on benefits – and “young” means up to the age of 35 – finding a room to rent in a shared house or flat in the capital now range from dismal to non-existent, according to new research.
So with much to do I will end this post by saying this: They seem, the Government that is, to be hell bent on slashing the benefit system and eroding the Welfare State away completely. They’re dream would be to accommodate the homeless in work camps!. Your work pays your board, your salary pays for your food, your wages pay the taxes to the Government and the corporate gods are happy for the cheap labour, slave labour, the homeless are off the streets, hidden away from society and the Government gets their taxes.
We have such a corrupt capitalist system you should be proud if you are penniless as it means you are not a cold heartless creature to exploit others for a ‘buck!’ Nevertheless we have a problem of top down out of touch damaging policies fundamentally more harmful in reality for those unable to afford expensive rents, mortgages and part buy part rent schemes. All out of reach for so many of the poorest.