It confirms the effect of the changes Debbie Abrahams identified in her letter to new Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey:
“More and more people, in work and out of work, are living in poverty… but instead of getting the support that they need, they are being driven to destitution as a result of the decimation of the social security safety net by your Government… Your policies are hurting the people they should help most.”
She identified the ways Tories have been pushing people on low incomes into debt:
“The manner in which you quietly pushed back the retirement age for women born in the 1950s has detrimentally impacted on a generation who have worked hard, paid into the system, often for decades, only to be badly let down when they most needed it.
“The Equality and Human Rights Commission has estimated the average cumulative cuts for a disabled adult at £2,500 a year, and the UN Committee on the Convention of the Rights of Disabled People has said this Government’s treatment of disabled people amounts to a “human catastrophe”.
“The incompetent roll-out of Universal Credit (UC) is having a devastating effect on these claimants, causing rent arrears, debt and even homelessness. The poverty that they and their children are facing in 2018, in the sixth richest country in the world, shames us all… Your Government has refused to publish figures on the impact of UC on poverty, although the Child Poverty Action Group has estimated that by 2022 the number of children living in poverty will increase by one million, directly as a result of cuts to UC.
“You saw through a cut in support to more than 300,000 disabled people when Disability Living Allowance was replaced by Personal Independence Payments.
“Foodbanks across the UK have consistently maintained that the demand for emergency food is as a direct result of social security cuts, sanctions or delays; in UC areas demand is up by an average of 30 per cent.”
And the Tories are pumping public money into private outsourcing companies that either waste it or give it to executives and shareholders as “bonuses” and “dividends”, and cutting tax for the mega-rich, so they can say the cash isn’t available to help people.
That is a lie.
They simply don’t want to.
One in four of Britain’s poorest households are falling behind with debt payments or spending more than a quarter of their monthly income on repayments, according to a study.
The latest evidence of mounting debt problems for some of the most vulnerable in society is shown in a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, on behalf of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, at a time when borrowing on credit cards, loans and car finance deals returns to levels unseen since before the 2008 financial crisis.
The poorest tenth of households are also more likely to be in net debt, owing more on plastic or on overdrafts and loans than they hold in savings. About a third of the poorest homes are in net debt, compared with only 10% of the highest-income tenth.
For a household of two adults and two children aged between 30 and 44 to be in the poorest tenth, they would have a net annual income of up to £23,200. Young adults are much more likely to be in households in arrears or paying large chunks of their income to banks or credit card providers, the study found.
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