If I need to take a day off work, I don’t usually lose one month’s salary as a result. However, if you’re claiming jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) and delays to your bus journey mean you arrive ten minutes late for an interview at the Jobcentre, you could well find yourself having your benefit stopped for four weeks or more through a sanction.
This blog first appeared on Liberal Democrat Voice.
Four children are left home alone for five days. Social services step in to move the kids out to live with their father. But there’s a problem: the council have found a flat for the newly formed family, but it is unfurnished. The dad lives on a low income and does not have the savings to buy five beds and mattresses, and all the other furniture that is needed.
I first met Tony in about 1966 or 1967 when he came to talk to a group of students at Goldsmiths’ College in London about Poverty in Britain and the CPAG shortly after the inception of CPAG. On completing my degree I went to teach in Oxford and came to know Tony when I joined the Oxford branch of the Child Poverty Action Group. Tony had moved from being Secretary (a post now called Chief Executive) of CPAG on a national level to being probably the first welfare rights officer employed by a local authority based in Oxfordshire Children’s Department. Tony was our guide, mentor and activist in the small Committee of the Oxford CPAG of which I was Secretary.
Tony Lynes, CPAG’s first member of staff, has died aged 85. He was hit by a car and died of his injuries in London’s Kings College Hospital on 12 October.
It started in 1965 with a meeting at Toynbee Hall to discuss the early results of what became Brian Abel-Smith and Peter Townsend’s The Poor and the Poorest – the book that ‘rediscovered poverty’. Tony then drafted the first memorandum, which was sent to Douglas Houghton, the social services overlord in the Labour cabinet. When there was no response, a second memorandum was sent to the Prime Minister in December 1965, coinciding with publication of the book. That meeting in March 1965 established CPAG, and Tony was appointed its first full-time Secretary in August 1966.
This guest blog is written by Rebecca Walker, author of the immigration and residence chapters of the Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook and lead author of the new Benefits for Migrants Handbook.
This week sees the publication of CPAG’s Benefits for Migrants Handbook which, many readers will agree, arrives not a moment too soon. 2014 has been a year of yet more restrictions on the benefit entitlements of people who have come to the UK.
This week, the government committed to making a fresh decision on how Local Welfare Assistance Schemes (LWAS) (also called Local Welfare Provision) will be funded in 2015/16. Their decision will be informed by a thorough examination of how schemes are functioning, and the needs of those that benefit from them - great news for the vulnerable people that rely on them in times of need.
With just a few days to go before the Scottish independence referendum John Dickie, Director of CPAG in Scotland, highlights how CPAG has informed the terms of debate and argues that the challenge now for anti-poverty campaigners is to ensure that heightened public engagement and concern with child poverty in campaign debates is harnessed for real change, wherever powers end up lying after September 18th.
In this, one of two guest blogs outlining why a Yes or No vote is in the best interest of ending child poverty in Scotland, Jim Gallagher, a contributing author to Poverty in Scotland 2014: the independence referendum and beyond, makes the case for the No campaign.