Islington's Executive Member for Finance and Performance, Cllr Andy Hull, writes about the Tory Government's summer budget.
Welfare reforms brought in by the government since 2010 have already hit our community in Islington hard. The council has sought to respond through the ground-breaking work of its IMAX social security advisers, its iWork employment coaches, its award-winning Shine energy initiative and its innovative Families First programme. The £12bn of further welfare cuts announced by the government in this week’s budget though will leave many more residents struggling to cope and cash-strapped local services less able to help them.
Recent modelling carried out by the council shows that the Chancellor’s plans to cut the benefit cap by £3,000 from £26,000 to £23,000 will hit an additional 575 households in the borough, on top of the 250 already affected by the current cap, and could impoverish 1,000 more local children.
The budget also commits the government to:
- Cutting working tax credits, expected to hit 45% of working families nationwide
- Freezing local housing allowance, meaning housing benefit will not keep up with rising private sector rents
- Turning maintenance grants for students into loans, threatening to deter poorer students from going to university
This budget represents an attack on families and those in low-paid work, as the government looks to balance the nation’s books on the backs of the poor. When people fall through the increasingly threadbare safety net, it is councils that are left to pick up the pieces at the taxpayer’s expense. But how are we meant to do that when our own budgets are being cut to the bone?
Cllr Hull tweets at @AndyHull79