Lyn Brown

Member of Parliament for West Ham

Failing the Fairness Test - April 2011

Parliament is currently in recess.  Despite rumours to the contrary, work does not stop.  Thank you for telling me about things that matter to you.  Without doubt, the biggest issue of the moment is the Welfare Reform Bill.

The Bill brings in changes to many benefits including Housing Benefit, Disability and Child Benefit.  The Government state they want to simplify the benefit system and. let’s face it, the system needs simplifying.  As ever, this Government’s stated aims mask a sinister truth. 

Housing benefit proposals are particularly worrying.  I already have many people coming to my surgery who are struggling to pay their rent.  Private rented housing is expensive in Newham and the average weekly wage in the borough is just £455.

That does not go far, when day-to-day essentials, including childcare and housing, cost so much.

I worry that, if the housing benefit changes go through, many people in rented accommodation will have their housing benefit reduced.  That further attack on low incomes, will result in rent arrears and people being forced to leave their homes.

The London Borough of Newham suggests that more than 6,300 Newham families will be harmed by the Government’s proposals.

But the problems do not stop there. 

The Government will cut childcare support through working tax credit, amounting to a loss of £1,560 a year for a family with two - three children.

Disabled families lose £9bn in benefits.

This is a no compromise Coalition.  We have a reckless, callous Government cutting too hard and too fast.

They are slashing support for those who really need it.

This Government continuously fails the fairness test.

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