This is a summery, as accurate as i can get it, of all the benefit changes and cuts on the horizon, based on the Spending Review, government announcements and existing legislation. Please, please write in with anything else you know as knowledge really is power in these dark times!
Some initial thoughts:
1. Theres lots we don't know: Benefit changes can only happen after acts of parliament are passed and regulations drawn up. Until this happens, we really don't know exactly how the changes will work out in practice. However, we can see that they're not good!
2. Everything can change: In the process of getting these cuts from policy idea and plans to actual real life changes in the benefit system, everything can change, especially the more complex things.
3. Benefit changes, in themselves, cause difficulties: Look at the mess that is Employment and Support Allowance or better still, tax credits to see the human misery caused by so called "teething problems." Now add into the mix, massive job cuts across the welfare system and you can imagine the chaos that will ensue!
4. Theres everything to fight For: None of this is set in stone, everything can change. We need to get together and fight for the benefits system we deserve!
Now, the bad news......
Sickness and Disability
1.Sickness benefits cut and sick people forced to look for work. New claimants already have to claim Employment and Support Allowance instead of Incapacity Benefit or Income Support, more people will be moved onto Employment and Support Allowance in the future.
2.Employment and Support Allowance stops completely after one year from April 2011
Disability Living Allowance taken away from disabled people in residential care from April 2012
3. Disability Living Allowance claimants subjected to medical testing from April 2012
4. Pension Credit for pensioners with savings, frozen for four years between April 2011 to April 2015
5.Cold weather Payment to be frozen at £25 for ever from November 2010
6. Single people under 35 can only rent a single room from April 2012
7.Housing Benefit for people renting privately will be cut first to 70% of the average rent, then again to only 30% of the average rent from April 2011
8.Housing Benefit cut by 10% to anyone out of work for more than one year from 2011
9. Child Benefit taken away from better off families from January 2013
10.Single mothers expected to look for work. This is happening right now!
11. Working Tax Credit rates frozen April 2011 to 2014
12. Money for childcare for people claiming Working Tax Credit cut to 70% of the actual cost of the childcare from April 2011
13. Working Tax Credit taken away completely from two parent families working less than 24 hours per week from April 2011
14. Total benefits anyone can receive capped at £500 per week from 2011
15. All the different benefits to be merged into one single benefit. This is planned at some point in the future.
16. Longer waiting times, more mix ups, worse decisions and less help to sort things out. This is happening right now but will get much worse! Massive job cuts amongst workers who process claims and appeals will mean that the remaining staff will struggle to keep the system running and on top of that, learn to administrate the changes.
17. More useless schemes run by A4E, Reed in partnership etc..... In the long term the Tory’s want more and more of the benefits system privatised, so expect to have a lot more to do with these companies!