London Green Party Slams “Sadistic” Benefit Cap
The London Green Party has slammed the government’s benefit cap being rolled out across London today as “sadistic” and has called upon London’s Councillors to show compassion in implementing the policy.
The cap, which has already been trialled in Bromley, Croydon, Enfield, and Haringey, means that the amount of benefit couples and single parents can claim per week will be limited to £500. This applies to the most commonly claimed benefits – Child Benefit, Housing Benefit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, and Income Support. Today marks the final stage of the roll-out of the cap.
The London Green Party has staunchly opposed the cap since it was first introduced, stating that it will hit the poorest the hardest. The party quotes research from London Councils which shows that the introduction of the cap will lead to 133,000 households being unable to afford their rent due to the high cost of living in the capital. The party argues that the result will be an increase in homelessness in the capital as more and more families are forced into poverty.
Caroline Allen, a London Green Party candidate for the forthcoming 2014 European election said: “The government is pursuing a sadistic policy. It’s the old strategy of divide and rule. They’re creating a false idea that the country is made up of ‘benefit scroungers’ and ‘taxpayers’ whereas in reality this is an incredibly cynical oversimplification. Research has shown time and again that very few people choose benefits as a lifestyle and it's the landlords who have got rich from the rising housing benefit bill while people who want to find work simply can't, or end up on zero hours contracts and poverty pay.
The benefit cap is just one part of its continuing efforts to force poorer people out ofLondon. In Haringey, one of the London boroughs subject to the initial trial of the cap, there has already been a sharp increase in eviction notices for families who, as a result of the cap, now simply cannot afford to pay their rent. This, sadly, is going to the reality for more and more households across London as the cap is enforced across the capital.”
The Party has called upon councils to ensure they are doing all they can to support those affected by the changes in benefits. Ultimately though radical change of our housing system is required. The Green Party is calling for rent caps, new social housing, and an end to write to buy and a land value tax. All proposals that would readjust our broken housing system, the Party states.
Caroline added, “60 years ago my Grandparents suffered at the hands of a slum landlord and were forced out of London due to the high cost of housing, leaving their family and friends behind. At least they had decent new council housing to move to. I'm horrified this is happening again and where is there for vulnerable people to move to now? Left to the mercy of rogue buy-to let landlords, who seem to me to be the real scroungers here.”
Contact and Spokespeople
For more information please contact Matt Hawkins, co-Media Officer of the London Green Party on london.media@greenparty.
org.uk or 07515 895998.
1. For more information on the benefits cap, please see: https://www.gov.uk/
2. For more information on the London Green Party, please visit: http://london.
3. For further details on the research conducted by London Councils, please see: http://www.
londoncouncils.gov.uk/news/ current/pressdetail.htm?pk= 1406&showpage=-1
4. For further information on the debate over whether benefits can be considered a “lifestyle choice” please see: http://www.tuc.org.uk/
extras/Welfare_Benefits_A_ neccessity_not_a_lifestyle_ choice.pdf