Saturday, 30 June 2012

Welfare Reform and Universal Credit

George Osborne and David Cameron seen having a good laugh at our expense. Are we really “all in this together”?

  • Universal Credit will replace a range of existing means-tested benefits and tax credits for people of working age
  • It will replace the Disability Living Allowance with a Personal Independence Payment
  • It will restrict Housing Benefit entitlement and introduce a ‘bedroom tax’
  • It will change the child maintenance scheme
  • It will limit payments of Contributory Employment and Support Allowance to a 12-month period
  • It will cap the total amount of benefit that can be claimed
  • Local councils will be asked to reduce people’s Housing Benefit to make sure the total benefit income remains less than the ‘cap’ level set.
  • It will replace Council Tax Benefit with a ‘localised’ Council Tax support scheme.
  • The ‘granny tax’ will freeze the age related tax allowance. It will not be increased in line with inflation. Half a million pensioners will be affected.


So far the government is not planning to set up a local office.

There are no answers to the questions:

  • how and where will someone apply locally?
  • what documents will they need and where will they take them locally?
  • where will there be a ‘Universal Credit’ office?
  • how does someone get face to face advice and help if they have a problem?

People will be expected to apply on-line or through a call centre.


If anything goes wrong with the claim, a whole family could be without any income for a whole month!


By the time the new system is fully in place, 2017, it will affect 19 million people

It will affect particularly:

  • pensioners
  • disabled people
  • people on long-term sickness
  • families on low income and their children
  • people living in rented accommodation
  • unemployed people
  • single parents

Do any of these people choose to be in that situation? Of course not! But they should all be treated with fairness and respect.


Local councils are being placed in the difficult situation by this Tory-led government of having to produce a localised Council Tax Benefit scheme but with less money to pay for it. The minority LABOUR administration at Thanet District Council will try to minimise the impact of the overall 10% cut in funding imposed by the coalition on Thanet residents who currently receive Council Tax Benefit.

  • become active in the campaign
  • join the Labour Party
  • make sure you and your family and friends are all REGISTERED TO VOTE so that you can BOOT OUT THE TORIES at the next election.

YOUR LABOUR COUNCILLORS will do everything they can to defend the Welfare State as a symbol of a just and civilised society that looks after people who find themselves in a difficult situation through no choice of their own.

We will be available to help and discuss any benefit problems residents in our wards may have.

Published by Thanet Labour Group Councillors
North Thanet Constituency Labour Party at
South Thanet Constituency Labour Party at 28 Newington Road, Ramsgate.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Thanet falling behind thanks to local Tories

At the East Kent Joint Arrangements Committee meeting (EKJAC) held at the Guildhall in Canterbury on Wednesday (20th June), the Leaders and Deputy Leaders of four East Kent District Council's and the KCC Deputy Leader Alex King agreed that EKJAC, the forum which brought together County and District council leaders in East Kent, should now be dissolved. Furthermore, the district representatives were assured that KCC would maintain close working relations with East Kent Districts primarily through the new Locality Boards, as it does in the rest of Kent.

Thanet Labour Deputy Leader Alan Poole then immediately asked Cllr King to get KCC Leader Paul Carter and his Cabinet Member Mike Hill to create a Locality Board for Thanet as a matter of urgency!

Thanet Labour Leader Clive Hart was chairing what was probably the last meeting of EKJAC and afterwards said "Across the vast majority of Kent, these new Locality Boards are blazing the trail for closer co-operation between district and county council's and we most desperately need one here in Thanet.

As a gesture of good will, and in an effort to help foster a proper Locality Board for Thanet, our Labour Cabinet recently met with Thanet's Conservative dominated group of County Councillor's to discuss the issue of Youth Service provision in Thanet. The meeting was a great success and proved that cross-party working really can work for the benefit of local residents. Two different groups of councillors from two different local authorities and two different political parties came together for the benefit of local residents and despite our differences a large amount of common ground was found. Despite this resounding success, Thanet Conservative County Councillor's are still intransigent and simply will not move towards a regular and formal Locality Board for the residents of Thanet.
Time is slipping by and Thanet is losing out. At the last Kent Forum of Leaders and Chief Executives public meeting held at County Hall in May, I had to request firm intervention from KCC Leader Paul Carter and his Cabinet Member Mike Hill and now my deputy has had to do the same at a public meeting here in East Kent. Our Labour administration is 100% committed to a Locality Board for the people of Thanet but I am extremely concerned that Thanet residents are being denied a fresh, vibrant and progressive level of representation and co-operation enjoyed by the vast majority of Kent residents".

Published by Thanet Labour Group Press Office, 44 Northdown Road, Margate, Kent, CT9 2RW.