About Sam Ashton

Sam is the Campaigns Officer at Z2K. He is a politics graduate from the LSE and used to work at the Greater London Authority.

Case study: £4,429.58 of Council Tax arrears written off

Bidandi’ is a refugee who was granted asylum in the UK. He suffers from PTSD and other mental health problems as a result of his experiences in his home country. After leaving National Asylum Support Service accommodation Bidandi was made homeless. The local authority in which he was resident recognised his vulnerability and placed him in accommodation in a neighboring borough in 2013. He remains in the same property today and is currently in receipt of ESA, PIP and Housing Benefit.   Continue reading

A tale of two tribunal decisions

Judges are rarely outspoken people, particularly when it comes to political issues. They studiously maintain their independence and political neutrality, restricting their judgements to matters of law. The same is true for those Judges that chair tribunal panels. Despite being forced to consider some truly appalling DWP decisions tribunal Judges rarely criticise the DWP, instead they focus on ensuring the correct decision is made in the end. Continue reading

Review: Dispatches on the lower Benefit Cap

Earlier this week Channel Four broadcast a new Dispatches documentary on the impact of the lower Benefit Cap. Despite the fact that the new lower level affects a much broader group of people than the initial cap, including many more single people, the programme largely focused on lone parent families with a large number of kids. To truly reflect the impact of the lower cap it would’ve been better to show a broader group of those affected. Continue reading

The need for bailiff reform

Z2K is joining AdviceUK, Christians Against Poverty, Citizens Advice, Money Advice Trust, StepChange Debt Charity and The Children’s Society, to launch a new report on the need for fundamental bailiff reform. The report finds that the new bailiff regulations brought in in 2014 are failing to protect people in financial difficulty from unfair treatment.

New research conducted for the launch of Taking Control found that of 1,400 people who had been visited by a bailiff in the last six months, 24 per cent had tried to arrange repayment over the phone but found the bailiff insisted on visiting anyway, most likely so they could charge a higher fee. In addition, nearly a fifth say they were not contacted by the bailiff before they visited. Both of these are examples of non-compliance with the 2014 regulations. Continue reading