Recent Posts

Z2K at the Mayor’s Community Reception

boris-johnson-798004737What did we learn from Boris Johnson at last week’s Mayoral Community Reception – besides banter of beavers and babies?

That London is facing a housing crisis. Many of the guests at the reception, like Z2K, work directly with the poorest and most vulnerable who it affects most acutely. In recent decades, the lack of investment in social housing, combined with the introduction of right to buy schemes for council homes has generated a serious shortage of affordable housing in the capital. Add to this a welfare reform agenda which is committed to removing the safety net for the poorest households by capping housing benefit and penalising families who are under occupying their homes, despite a shortage of smaller properties to move them to. Continue reading

Investigating benefit ‘fraud': a case study

Housing-Benefit-formAs part of their contract with Westminster Council Capita have been paying companies to conduct investigations into allegedly fraudulent housing benefit claims. Often these investigations have been triggered by people falling out with their neighbours or similar petty reasons. Most investigations rarely, if ever, lead to a prosecution. The stress caused to our clients is phenomenal.

Throughout the investigation our clients are lead to believe they cannot have a housing benefit claim. This often leads to threats of eviction and proceedings. Fraud investigations like to pretend that they have additional powers and rely on intimidation to coerce people to agree to the claims. Often the reasons for these claims are not fully explained to our clients, even when they have a solicitor involved. Caseworkers from our organisation are not allowed to access vital information often until our client has signed a document ‘confessing’ their ‘crime’. Continue reading

Winter Fuel Appeal

fuel poverty images 2London is of course one of the richest cities in the world but it is also home to more than 2.1 million people living in poverty. At 28% London’s poverty rate is seven percentage points higher than the rest of England and the capital is home to 592, 000 children living in poverty. In London poverty is not predominantly cause by unemployment (over half of those in poverty in London are in work), but by the combination of low wages and the high the cost of living.

Although there has been much talk of an economic recovery across the pages of the national media there has been no such recovery for London’s poor. If anything the continued onslaught of welfare ‘reform’, rising rents and prices alongside stagnant wages has led to reduction in the standard of living for our city’s poorest.  Continue reading

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