8 April 2013
Monday 15th April, 8am-10am, Stratford
The benefit cap is due to start on 15th April in Haringey, Enfield, Bromley and Croydon, before being rolled out nationwide in the summer. These four trial boroughs were apparently chosen because one office processes all their benefit claims.
On the day of its introduction, we are asking opponents of the benefit cap from all over London to join us in an early morning protest at this faceless DWP hideaway in Stratford.
Stratford Benefit Delivery Centre, Department for Work & Pensions, Jubilee House, Farthingale Walk, Stratford, E15 1AW. Just next to the HMRC enquiry centre, a minute’s walk from Stratford station. Overground/tube: Stratford
The overall benefit cap is part of the government’s welfare reforms, along with the bedroom tax, changes to council tax benefit and Universal Credit. In Haringey alone, over 1,000 families are affected by the cap, facing cuts to their housing benefit and eventually eviction.
So we’ll be talking to the workers implementing the cap, the ones compiling names to send to local authorities, telling them whose housing benefit to cut. But we’ll also be speaking to some of the thousands of people who filter past this office in the morning rush hour and have no idea what happens inside.
At £500 a week for couples or people with children, the cap is meant to reflect the earnings of the average family. But it fails to include extra income from child benefit or housing benefit that a family renting in London would also get.
And it’s a lie that this cap is about saving money. In its calculations, the DWP has not taken account of the extra costs to local authorities in dealing with the homelessness created. Landlords all over London have already been evicting tenants on housing benefit in anticipation of the cap.
We mustn’t fall for the rhetoric used by the government to describe claimants, which only distracts us from identifying the real scroungers: the fat cat bosses who pay themselves vastly inflated wages out of the profit they squeeze from our hard work; the rip-off landlords who raise rents every year, despite rock bottom mortgage costs; or the tax exiles who buy up mansions in our city and leave them empty most of the year, while families down the road are forced to “downsize” or leave London.
If the cap isn’t scrapped or landlords don’t lower their rents significantly, it could mean thousands of families being forced to move out of London, breaking up communities and support networks.
If you can’t make the protest, but think you will be affected by the cap, get in touch for advice and support, and to meet other people in a similar situation. Whatever your situation, if you want to stop the cap, get in touch and get organised!