Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Coalition's 100 days: Poor and vulnerable hit by cuts, says TUC

Given the high number of unemployed people and the record number on the housing list Brent is going to be badly hit by the coalition cuts and benefit changes. The TUC has today set out the implications of decisions made in the Coalition's first 100 days:

Some of the UK's poorest families have been hit by more than 100 unfair spending cuts during the first 100 days of the new Government, a TUC analysis of departmental spending reveals today
The TUC research, published in advance of the 100 day anniversary of the coalition Government tomorrow (Thursday), shows that cuts which impact more on the poorest families in the UK have been made across the board in services including education, health, housing, welfare and social care.
Examples of cuts the TUC believes are unfair include:
  • Free school meals - The cancelled measure would have extended entitlement to free school meals to about 500,000 families in work on low pay from September this year. Cost £125m.
  • Every child a reader - This programme to provide early support to children with literacy difficulties (focussed on inner-city schools) will be cut by at least £5m and its future is not guaranteed.
  • City Challenge Fund - This programme aimed to provide extra support to under-performing children in the most deprived areas, but has been cut by £8m this year.
  • Building Schools for the Future - This scrapped programme was the biggest-ever school buildings investment plan. The aim was to rebuild or renew nearly every secondary school in England. Cost £7.5bn.
  • Housing benefit - Nearly a million (936,960) households will lose around £624 a year as a result of changes to housing benefit. Londoners will be worst hit.
  • Homes and Communities Agency - Cuts to programmes including Kickstart (for restarting stalled house building programmes), affordable housing, gypsy and traveller support and Housing Market Renewal (improvements to housing in deprived areas). Cost £450m.
  • Young Person's Guarantee - £450m has been cut from the Guarantee, which will be abolished in April 2011. This Guarantee promised unemployed young people access to a job, training or work after six months of unemployment.
  • Working Neighbourhood Fund - This fund, which aimed to help unemployed people in deprived areas to move into work, has been cut by £49.9m.
  • Domestic Violence Protection Orders - Scheme to create two-week banning orders so that victims of domestic abuse can look for protection in the safety of their own house.
The TUC is calling on the Government to reconsider its plan of swingeing spending cuts to public services, and focus instead on other ways to reduce the deficit, such as a Robin Hood Tax on financial transactions that could raise up to £20bn a year.

The TUC is also a member of a coalition, which includes Barnardo's, Oxfam and Save the Children, who want the Government to guarantee that any future budget cuts will be put through rigorous fairness testing - or a Fairness Test - by the Treasury, to ensure that vulnerable people, low-paid workers, women and children are not left to bear the brunt of spending cuts.

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