Deep cuts to welfare worrying for society’s most in need

From: Alison Taylor, Director of Turn2Us, Shepherds Bush Road, London.

WHILE elements of the Spending Review are encouraging, such as the decision to freeze council tax for two years which could save households almost £100, we are concerned about some of the deep cuts planned.

The additional £4bn reduction in welfare spending will come 
at a time when millions have already experienced cuts to 
their benefits, and with 
housing benefit, tax credits, disability benefits and pensioner benefits included in the welfare spending cap that’s due to be introduced, the effects could be far-reaching.

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Furthermore, many individuals and families may struggle to cope with the seven day delay in claiming benefits. With recent research revealing that eight million Britons have no savings at all, there is concern that people will be forced to turn to food banks and payday loans to make up the shortfall.

We know from speaking to the people we help that pressure on finances is greater than ever. With further public sector job losses and cuts to local services expected, the forecast looks worrying.

It is more important than ever that people can access financial support and advice now.

Anyone who is worried about their situation can visit our website – www.turn2us.org.uk to check their entitlements to welfare benefits and grants, find information about further financial help, and find an adviser in their local area.

From: John Eoin Douglas, Spey Terrace, Edinburgh.

THE Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced that Social Security claimants will in future be required to attend compulsory English classes if they are not fluent in the language.

It will be interesting to see just how seriously the heads of our devolved governments take the existing statutory protection of the UK’s other native languages (Gaelic in Scotland, Welsh in Wales and Irish and Ulster Scots in Northern Ireland) by demanding that classes in these languages be offered as an alternative. If not, will monoglot speakers of these tongues also be forced to learn English or is this new legislation aimed solely at Johnny Foreigner and native-born Geordies?

From: T M Driffield, Bagby, Thirsk.

I ASSUME the Spending Review only goes to 2015-16 because of the looming EU referendum.

This will do several things. It will save the extortionate payments to the EU. It will relieve businesses of the overwhelming and overweaning EU red tape. It will also rid us of the loathed CAP, which will help to rejuvenate the rural economy. The large agribusinesses that are currently suffocating agricultural diversity would lose their main income stream.

This would mean smaller, more diverse businesses would be able to get funding, that would allow them to increase rural employment. Banks would not have the guaranteed payment from the EU that enabled the ‘big boys’ to out bid anybody else on parcels of land.

From: Tim Mickleburgh, Boulevard Avenue, Grimsby.

WHEN I worked in a Manchester office, many members of staff were married women whose husbands also worked. Yet their spouses continued to receive an extra tax allowance, something which I, a single person, felt was unfair.

Now it seems that some Tories want to go back to having this outdated system of taxation, which does discriminate against those not in an official relationship. Rather than do this, the emphasis when it comes to tax should be raising the thresholds as much as possible, to make it more of an incentive to take up low-paid work.