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Saturday, 21 December 2013

Department of Work and Pensions is in denial about the strong link between ill health and the Government's benefit reforms

The Secretary of Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group thanks Revd Paul Nicolson of Taxpayers Against Poverty for his consistent work on social justice throughout 2013 so far and before, and looks forward to campaigning with him in 2014.

Paul Nicolson writes:

Dear all.

This is my last email before the New Year. It is a letter published by the Church Times yesterday 20th December.

It sets up a description of the gross injustices imposed on the poorest people in the UK by the coalition government against which all our efforts will be pitched in 2014. 

If you do not do Christmas have a restful and happy break and get ready!, 

If you do have a restful and happy break and take courage from Christian leadership in several denominations, who have seen that the current unjust laws and structures cause hunger in cold and too costly homes, or homelessness, and must be changed.

With very best wishes to all,

 Department of Work and Pensions is in denial about the strong link between ill health and the homelessness, debts, food and fuel poverty that are due to the Government's benefit reforms;

or deliberately making the poorest people ill. 

From the Revd Paul Nicolson

Sir, - Shortly after the British Medical Journal (News, 6 December) sounded the alarm about malnutrition in the UK, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation published its annual Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion.

One of its many important comments reads: 'The poverty rate for the whole population was 21 per cent measured after housing costs are deducted (AHC) and 16 per cent measured before housing costs (BHC) are deducted. This gap of five percentage points is the highest it has been for a decade, and has been growing, although slowly, since the middle of the last decade."

The steadily increasing price and rent of a home is partly to blame. The growth of the gap is being reinforced by the Government's caps and cuts, and council tax. The high retail price of meeting human needs, the rent of a decent home, and taxation in the UK are now crushing a healthy life out of the AHC incomes of her poorest citizens.

A typical example is a 60-year-old, who wrote to Taxpayers Against Poverty, telling us that he had become ill and unemployed after 40 years' unbroken taxpaying employment. The £71.70-a-week unemployment benefit was paid after housing and council-tax benefit, and untaxed, until April this year. He now has to pay the bedroom tax and the council tax, which leaves him in debt and with £53.20.

Robust research undertaken by nutritionists at York University for Rowntree, and checked with users both on and off benefits, shows that the minimum income needed by a single adult for a healthy diet is £50.11 a week. He will be both cold and hungry this winter while worrying about how to pay his inevitable debts.

The BMJ published concern in January about the relation between foetal malnutrition and chronic disease in later life. Low birth weight and the UK's poverty incomes of women are linked; but the Department of Work and Pensions is in denial about the strong link between ill health and the debts, food and fuel poverty that are due to the Government's benefit reforms.


Taxpayers Against Poverty
93 Campbell Road
London N17 OBF

Please sign our petition celebrating Martin Luther King
Parliament is asked to debate the speech made by Martin Luther King 50 Years ago in Washington USA on the 28 August 1963 and to note that it can be applied to circumstances in Britain in August 2013. He said “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

Rev Paul Nicolson
Taxpayers Against Poverty
93 Campbell Road,
London N17 0BF
0208 3765455
07961 177889
also at www.z2k.org
also at www.prohousingalliance.com

Friday, 20 December 2013

Memo to King Herod: the Bethlehem bedroom tax

A tax on spare rooms and benefit cuts – Peter Beresford takes a satirical look at social work and the nativity

See http://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/2013/dec/20/king-herod-bethlehem-bedroom-tax

Women Against Rape oppose the Benefit Cap — how about you?

Launch of petition to Scrap the Benefit Cap
which traps women and children in violent relationships.
In support of legal challenge to be heard in early 2014
WAR outside the High Court in Oct 2013
Women Against Rape (WAR) and others are launching a petition asking the public to support women and children impoverished by the Benefit Cap after escaping violent relationships.  A legal challenge on behalf of affected families will be heard in the Court of Appeal in early 2014.
Solicitor Rebekah Carrier describes the Cap as ‘catastrophic, cruel and arbitrary’.
Please sign online here
For more information about the petition contact WAR
Tel: 020 7482 2496 

About the legal challenge: Rebekah Carrier, Hopkin Murray Beskine.  
Tel: 020 7272 1234 
·     One third of women have suffered domestic violence.  Every week two women are killed by partners or ex-partners, in England and Wales.
·     The Benefit Cap limits a family’s total benefit to £500 per week, including rent and Child Benefit.  Extortionate rents, including for some refuges and hostels, leave mothers and children with little or no income to live on. 
·     A test case is being fought in court on behalf of families impoverished by the Benefit Cap after escaping violence.  So far, there is no exemption from the Cap for victims of violence. 
·     Many victims of violence are unable to get a job immediately or to move to a cheaper area – they need to stay close to friends and relatives for support, and time to recover and to reassure distressed children.
Women Against Rape was among the groups demonstrating at the High Court in October.  We heard in court what the mothers and children have gone through, including living for years in rundown housing. 
They are represented by Rebekah Carrier of Hopkin Murray Beskine, who describes the Cap as catastrophic, cruel and arbitrary:
"Two of the families have fled domestic violence in circumstances where they were financially reliant upon their abusive partners, and they now face a stark choice between descending further into poverty and risking losing their homes, or returning to their abusers in order to escape the imposition of the cap."
Lisa Longstaff of Women Against Rape says:
We call on the government to put the safety of women and children first by lifting the Benefit Cap so no one is trapped in a violent a relationship where they risk injury, trauma and even death.” 
The petition is endorsed by the Black Women’s Rape Action Project, Legal Action for Women, Single Mothers’ Self-Defence, WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities) and Women Against Rape.

Christmas Seasonal Money Saving Tips!

 Thanks to Carolyn for flagging this up.

Christmas on Benefits -

Christmas can make a hole in your pocket seem enormous. With one in five young people in the UK unemployed, BBC Radio 1 DJ Phil Taggart - once unemployed and living on benefits himself - presents an essential guide to Christmas for the young and broke. Phil travels to Bristol to meet a group of young jobseekers in the position he used to be in, and sets them the mission of organising a cracker of a Christmas party on a benefits budget.
  • Broadcast on BBC Three, 1:00AM Fri, 20 Dec 2013
  • Available until 1:59AM Fri, 27 Dec 2013
  • First broadcast BBC Three, 9:00PM Thu, 19 Dec 2013
  • Categories
  • Duration 60 minutes

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Dear all, 

I have posted the following event on the TAP Facebook page (TAP = Taxpayers Against Poverty)


On the 6th Janurary 2014 from 7 pm to 9 pm, 
North London Community House, 22 Moorefields Road,Tottenham N17 6PY
Come to this meeting at 7 pm on the 6th January if you are receiving nasty letters from the council, threats from the bailiffs and you are struggling to pay for food, gas, electricity, rent and the council tax. 

Rev Paul Nicolson is on the receiving end of council tax enforcement himself and will be giving free advice about how to cope. 

People who can pay their council tax who are willing to stand in solidarity with people who cannot pay will be very welcome too

North London Community House is next to Bruce Grove Station.


With very best wishes for a happy Christmas and a worrying 2014. 

Rev Paul Nicolson
Taxpayers Against Poverty
93 Campbell Road, 
London N17 0BF
0208 3765455
07961 177889
also at www.z2k.org 
Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group
next and last 2013 meeting 19/12/13

We are having Pilgrim Tucker Unite Community Organiser as guest speaker

ALL WELCOME if a claimant, or trades unionist, community activist or just interested in organizing to stop cuts to people who can ill afford it.


(1st 2014 KUWG meeting will be 9/1/14)

If you are having any problems with any of your benefits and require our support, then we want to hear from you! WE ARE in the same boat. Come along to our free weekly meetings. Free Tea, coffee and nibbles provided. FIGHT BACK!!

Thursdays 3pm – 5.30pm Small Hall, Kingsgate Community Centre, 107 Kingsgate Rd, NW6 2JH -Disabled access available-

Or call: 07709 932 267 All cheques and donations for ‘KUWG’ to:
85 Webheath, Netherwood Street, London NW6 2JS.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Hammer-Smith's Universal Cock-Up

Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group's contribution to Boycott Workfare Week

Time: 11am-12 noon Wednesday 4 December
Place: Hemmersmith Jobcentre, 1 Glen House, 22 Glenthorne Road W6 0PP

Hammer Smith's Universal Cock-Up
Kilburn Unemployed Workers group are calling a demonstration in support of the Boycott Workfare Week of Action outside the Hammersmith Jobcentre, in protest of the introduction of Universal Credit. Hammersmith is the sole London Jobcentre using Universal Credit, a project that has already wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayers' money. Yet Iain Duncan Smith and Co carry on – despite Universal Cock-up's aim to disenfranchise many claimants due to a monthly payment to a sole individual within a “household” and trapping workers receiving Working Tax Credits or Housing benefit top-ups in the DWP's harsh sanctions regime.
11am-12 noon Wednesday 4 December
1 Glen House, 22 Glenthorne Road W6 0PP