Housing

  • First thoughts on the ‘National Living Wage’


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    A substantial increase in the National Minimum Wage for over-25s (or National Living Wage, as Osborne’s re-badging has it) can only be a good thing for low-paid workers. It should be celebrated. That much, at least, is clear.

  • Happy, Healthy Starts

    Latest figures show that child poverty is rising. There are currently 4 million children living in poverty in the UK, and there are projected to be 5.1 million by 2021. While the government doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge this reality, most starkly illustrated by its refusal to discuss the impact of universal credit on child poverty, others are keen to find practical ways to address the problem.

  • London costs: raising children in the capital


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    "It will come as little surprise that raising a child is expensive, and that in London it has the potential to be more expensive than other parts of the country. However, new research from Child Poverty Action Group on the extra costs of children in the capital has brought up some intriguing findings that are relevant for the whole country."

  • London: our child poverty capital


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    The child poverty figures released yesterday once again showed London still tops the league table of high child poverty rates but, more strikingly, highlighted the growing impact housing costs are having on poverty in the capital.

  • One year in: Mayor of London’s record so far

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    In his Manifesto, Sadiq Khan boldly declared that ‘in a city as prosperous as London, there is no excuse for child poverty’. He repeated this statement almost word-for-word in A City for All Londoners, his new vision for London, published in October last year. Obviously we agree, but what action has he taken since to tackle the drivers of child poverty? And by this we mean the high housing costs, lack of affordable childcare, underemployment and low pay in the capital.

  • Promoting fairness? Lowering the benefit cap will push more families into poverty

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    This autumn the benefit cap will be cut, squeezing low-income families even further and pushing more people into poverty. The Welfare Reform & Work Act 2016 lowers the cap to £23,000 per annum for families (or £15,410 for single claimants) in London and £20,000 for families (or £13,400 for single claimants) outside of London. There are currently 3.9 million children living in poverty. Projections from the Institute for Fiscal Studies suggests that child poverty could rise by 50 per cent by 2020. Tightening the cap and taking away more support from low-income households will have a devastating effect on families and children.

  • Supreme Court splits the baby over the benefit cap

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    This blog was first posted on the UK Human Rights Blog.

    The Supreme Court was sharply divided yesterday over whether the benefit cap breaches the Human Rights Act. The controversial cap limits the total amount of benefits an out-of-work family can receive, including housing benefit and benefits for children, to £500 per week. It is applied regardless of family size or circumstances such as rental costs. As a result, lone parents with children in large families are disproportionately affected, both because they are more likely to be hit by the cap and because they are less likely to be able to avoid its effects.

  • Supreme Court to decide on ‘unlawful’ bedroom tax


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    Following last month’s victory in the Court of Appeal, the battle continues for Paul and Sue Rutherford and their severely disabled grandson, Warren. The Court held that the ‘bedroom tax’ (or under-occupancy penalty) is in breach of the Human Rights Act 1998, unlawfully discriminating against disabled children requiring overnight care and victims of domestic violence living in Sanctuary Scheme Homes (in the case of ‘A’). The Government was quick to appeal this decision. We have been representing the Rutherford family since 2013 and will be in the Supreme Court defending the Court of Appeal’s decision from 29 February. SSWP v Rutherfords has been joined with other bedroom tax cases, MA & Others and A.

  • What is happening to discretionary housing payments?


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    If you had heard the Minister for Disabled People, Mark Harper, reassuring MP on Monday this week about future funding levels of Discretionary Housing Payments (which help vulnerable families hit by housing benefit cuts to meet their rent payments and prevent homelessness), you would be forgiven for believing that, on this issue, the Government was making adequate resources available to meet needs. And no-one would blame you for not realising that funding for this lifeline has been cut by 24% for next year.