On this Easter Day I am glad to see a number of church leaders taking the opportunity to protest against the government brutal benefit cuts which will come into force tomorrow. Whilst Easter is a time of hope and joy for Christians, today is also a day to stand with all those who won’t be able to pay the rent next month because of the government’s attacks on our community.
Around 1,600 households will be affected by the Tory benefits cap which comes into force tomorrow, and 2,861 families will be affected by the bedroom tax.
We need a change of council leadership and a change of government so we can hold business to account, change the council’s skills and jobs brokerage provision and get people into work. As Mayor I would introduce landlord licensing and push hard for agreement on Living Rents.
As Labour’s mayoral candidate, I would lead a campaign exposing the reality of these cuts. Tower Hamlets is about to see an increase in poverty, higher rent and council tax arrears, an increase in personal debt, increases in overcrowding as people move in together to avoid the bedroom tax, and forced relocation, as families can no longer afford the pay the high rents in Tower Hamlets.
We can take action now. We can build a Living Rent campaign. We must organise as a party to give all the support we can to those of our neighbours affected – I am looking to build links with local organisations who could work with us to train Labour activists in welfare and debt advice. The council has already contacted all those families most seriously affected, sign posting them to available support. Unite the Union has some advice for those who can be affected here.
These welfare cuts are brutal, and with his cuts to advice services the Independent Mayor isn’t helping. We need change at the top to move Tower Hamlets forward.