This is a letter published in the Swindon Advertiser

The new welfare act that comes into effect as of next April will, I fear, have a devastating effect on many low income households who depend on housing benefit. There is patently a chronic shortage of council owned housing stock and the situation needs addressing. Even so, many local councils are not supporting this new bill. On the face of it, it seems reasonable that each tenant should live in an appropriately sized dwelling. But the human aspect of this new welfare act has seemingly been overlooked. Many parents who only have access to their children at weekends will be hit severely. It will also affect many other low income strands of society.

The harsh truth is, many people will not leave there cherished home of many years, and they will “pay to stay”, even though it will mean making drastic cuts to their already meagre budgets. A 15-20% cut in their finances will make the difference between keeping their head above water, and drowning in a sea of debt. And the small number of those who choose to downsize will struggle to find smaller properties as there aren’t enough to go round.

This fact is backed up by Swindon borough council’s own figures. They will have a major headache on their hands trying to cope with all the variables in each individual case. I fear the government have not thought this dilemma out properly, or even worse, they are happy to treat human beings as sheep, to be moved around ensuring we are all in the correctly sized pens, leaving SBC to sort out the mess.

If the government want to tighten purse strings, why not use the same zeal they are using against the poor, to go after various multi-national companies such as Vodafone, Amazon, Starbucks and various others who flagrantly use legal loopholes to siphon off literally billions of Her Majesty’s revenue in unpaid tax. Didn’t David Cameron say “We’re all in this together”? It seems not. As Charles Dickens once famously wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”.

Tom Horwat.

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