Cumulative effect of welfare reform revealed – deprived areas hit much harder than the rich

Deprived parts of Glasgow were worst-affected by 'welfare reform' according to The Courier [Image: thecourier.co.uk].

Deprived parts of Glasgow were worst-affected by ‘welfare reform’ according to The Courier [Image: thecourier.co.uk].

The headline should not come as a surprise – of course changes that cut benefits for the poor are going to harm them more than rich people.

But do you remember David Cameron’s claim that his government would be the most transparent ever?

Isn’t it interesting, then, that the independent Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has found a way to compile information on the effects of tax, social security and other spending changes on disabled people, after the government repeatedly claimed it could not be done?

It seems Mr Cameron has something to hide, after all.

We already have a taste of what we can expect, courtesy of our friends in Scotland, who commissioned the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University to study the relationship between deprivation and financial loss caused by “welfare reform”.

The study shows that more than £1.6 billion a year will be removed from the Scottish economy, with the biggest losses based in changes to incapacity benefits. The Scottish average loss, per adult of working age, is £460 per year (compared with a British average of £470) but the hardest hit area was impoverished Glasgow Carlton, where adults lost an average of £880 per year.

In affluent St Andrews, the average hit was just £180 per year.

Of course, the cumulative effect will hit the poorest communities much harder – with an average of £460 being taken out of these communities it is not only households that will struggle to make ends meet; as families make cutbacks, local shops and businesses will lose revenue and viability. If they close, then residents will have to travel further for groceries and to find work, meaning extra travel costs will remove even more much-needed cash from their budget.

For a nationwide picture, the EHRC commissioned the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) and the consultancy Landman Economics to develop a way of assessing the cumulative impact of “welfare reform”.

The report will be published in the summer, but Landman Economics has already told Disability News Service that the work was “not actually that difficult”.

Why, then have Mark Hoban, Esther McVey and Mike Penning, the current minister for the disabled, all claimed that a cumulative assessment is impossible?

Some might say they have a vested interest in keeping the public ignorant of the true devastation being wreaked on Britain’s most vulnerable people by Coalition austerity policies that will ultimately harm everybody except the very rich.

Some might say this is why the BBC – under the influence of a Conservative chairman – failed to report a mass demonstration against austerity by at least 50,000 people that started on its very doorstep.

Misguided conspiracy theorists, all!

Or are they?

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22 thoughts on “Cumulative effect of welfare reform revealed – deprived areas hit much harder than the rich

  1. HomerJS

    To be fair, I think what the government were trying to say was that it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to ‘spin’ the figures . . .

  2. Eijnar

    The closure of REMPLOY involved the sacking of several thousand seriously disabled people yet the British public never did anything to stop it.This was the test case,if they could close this down then they could do anything.

    We now have those below 25 years of age being refused all Housing Benefit regardless of circumstances.This will inevitably lead to this group being made homeless and thus a problem.When enough tears have been shed the “solution” will be offered.The under 25’s will be offered “sheltered housing” in which they can be offered “training,education and employment”.This type of establishment will be privatized and run by large companies to churn out cheap labour intensive items to compete with those produced in China and India.Don’t be too surprised if these establishments prove to be very popular with the government and ruling elite, as they were last time they existed.Back then they called them Work Houses and that will probably be what we call them this time around as well!

    1. Joanna

      I would like to know what the public could have possibly done about the Remploy closures, you seem to be attaching blame where it doesn’t belong!

  3. jeffrey davies

    between the robust filing out atos reports has such they targeting of the sick disabled hasn’t gone their way has they now find that such have banded together crying out no more targeting we don’t want it but alas killing us quietly was the plan perhaps after most of us have gone pop our clogs then those that allowed it will ask why isn’t there that disabled persons gone were are they looking up the road to that smoke coming out of that big chimney yes it fun living today in our tory Britain jeff3

  4. zoek

    Heartbreaking, we are human beings not statistics or “stock” as the Con-Dems like to refer to us. I hope Cameron and IDS burn in hell for all eternity

  5. Maria

    As helpful as it is for evidence, we do not need a university to tell us that cutting services and benefits leads to financial problems for the poorest. This is very depressing, as this kind of thing is becoming more and more acceptable by the general public.

    1. Mike Sivier

      Perhaps it is for that very reason – that it is becoming increasingly acceptable to the general public – that we need University reports to point out the facts.

  6. Jim Round

    In other news, Bears s**t in the woods.
    Seriously Mike, I still cannot find any party offering real help to those who genuinely want to work but come across barriers when trying.
    Some sort of scheme, where you are paid a real wage for something you want to learn (e.g a trade) coupled with basic skills if needed.
    Think of the mostly solid properties in places like Stoke-On-Trent that just need a refurb, Canalsides that could be landcaped around Birmingham etc… plenty of opportunities around, maybe under the umbrella of newly formed community groups formed for those very purposes.
    You could give people six months to find a job themselves, then if they have no luck, then they can take part in something like this.
    This would NOT be Workfare, this would be a paid job, we have colleges etc..that would take part, I’m sure that lots of people would also be willing mentors/trainers.
    You also have the other side of the coin, most (if not all) towns and Cities have people that have little hope, you might see them sitting around bus stations, drinking at all hours of the day, people who have had emotional and mental breakdowns, as well as those with low self esteem. I see very little being done to help here. They say society is judged on how it treats the vulnerable, by what I see, we’ve had it.

    1. Mike Sivier

      I did say, in a comment, how sad it is that we need an academic report to tell us the perfectly obvious.
      You make several interesting suggestions. I wonder what other commenters think of them?

      1. Jim Round

        Going by my previous comments on your blog, not much.
        Too much of the “I’m alright Jack” attitude.

    2. amnesiaclinic

      Good comment. There have been schemes where young people have been paid to refurbish houses which they have a share in and at the end they own part of the house and have a skilled trade. (Houses sell for £5 in some cities!) The problem is that unemployment is kept high to keep inflation down so the figures look good in the govt balance sheet. It really is up to us to demand from our politicians at every meeting we can get to that they start and support this sort of local community scheme. The only other way is for community groups like parish councils etc to start doing this perhaps with community gardens and orchards so people have jobs and eat and learn new skills as well as building strong local groups who support each other through these tough times. Just a little tweaking and joining up of schemes often in existence can be all that is needed.
      Love
      x

  7. Phil Dutton

    capitalism = Greed. As soon as we realise this we can move on. In recent times when there was a balance between capitalism and socialism, before the Gas, elec, water, dental care, eye care, Waste disposal and Public transport where sold of by Maggie it was a fairer society. There was still plenty of areas for the capitalists to make there millions from… But they wanted more! just privatise it and allow the rich to just get a whole lot richer, with the middle classes allowed to buy a few shares and feel like they are part of the game. SO sad 🙁

    1. Phil Dutton

      …oh, and give the same old reason. In order to progress blar blar blar
      Public company needs to pay for itself and give a service. A private company makes profit. A private company floated becomes a machine that does not care for anyone bar the shareholders. True or false at a base level?

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