28 days later… We still want to Scrap the Benefit Cap – protest Tues 14 May, Apex Hse, Tottenham

May 9, 2013

When the government launched its benefit cap trial in four London boroughs last month, Haringey Housing Action Group, Haringey Solidarity Group and others were at the DWP office in Stratford on 15th April to protest against the cap and to call for it to be scrapped.

28 days later, with the effects of the cap beginning to kick in, we will be outside Apex House on Seven Sisters Road to maintain our opposition to a policy that will only serve to increase poverty and break up communities. Join us!

Cap Rents not Benefits – Scrap the Benefit Cap
Tuesday 14th May, 9am, Haringey Council, Apex House, 820 Seven Sisters Road, N15 5PQ

In early May it was reported in the media that a major provider of temporary accommodation in Haringey, Genesis Housing Association, had sent letters to 57 tenants in the borough saying that they would be seeking a Possession Order in order to carry out evictions. The letters said that Genesis had been made aware that tenants “may not be able to afford the rent” and may have to move out within 14 days, yet some of them were dated before 15th April – the date the cap came into effect – making them wildly pre-emptive.

Around the same time, Phil Harris of Haringey Council – one of the four trial boroughs, along with Bromley, Croydon and Enfield – dismissed government claims that the benefit cap has led to 8,000 people finding work. Harris said that it was more likely that DWP data was not accurate or up to date, and has also “predicated a large increase in homeless applications, rent arrears and resources spent on temporary accommodation, as well as more controversial out-of-boroughs placements of homeless families.”

Yet despite, Harris’ words of warning, and statements from Haringey Council leader Claire Kober that Genesis’ behaviour was “completely unacceptable”, the housing association claimed that they were acting on information obtained from the local authority – that is, Haringey Council.

The behaviour of Genesis Housing Association is completely unacceptable whether or not it has the Council’s blessing. Fifty-seven people receiving eviction notices is too many, but is just a taste of things to come if we allow the implementation of the cap to continue. The benefit cap is unfair, illogical and divisive – the only reasonable solution is to scrap it altogether.
We mustn’t fall for the rhetoric used by the government to vilify 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.

We are calling for:
·         Haringey Council to refuse to evict or move out of London people in temporary accommodation subjected to the cap
·         The council to do more to support everyone affected by the cap to remain in their homes – this includes putting more pressure on landlords to reduce rents
·         All landlords and letting agents in the borough to reduce rents for tenants on benefits.
·         People in Haringey and beyond to unite and oppose the benefit cap and all other government attacks on our rights and living standards

If you or anyone you know if affected by the benefit cap, please get in touch with Haringey Housing Action Group.

Called by Haringey Solidarity Group


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