Case comment: the bedroom tax in the Supreme Court

high_court_1370274cOn 9th November 2016 the Supreme Court handed down judgment in four related appeals, challenging the discriminatory impact of the bedroom tax – sometimes referred to as ‘removal of the spare room subsidy’. Six of the cases were related to the impact on people with disabilities. The other case concerned the impact of the bedroom tax on a victim of domestic violence.

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Latest Benefit Cap statistics published

dwpDWP’s quarterly statistics last week showing that 20,000 households are still impacted by the government’s Benefit Cap is grim reading for anyone but the architects of this pernicious policy.

Numerous of these statistics should give cause for concern: 94 per cent of claimants hit by the cap are families with children; two-thirds of those hit are single-parent families and 78 per cent of those have a child under five years-old (17 per cent have a child under 12 months). But the figure that best reveals the distance between the government’s claims and the reality of the cap is that just 15 per cent of those hit by it are in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance i.e. required to be looking for work. The rest are in receipt of Employment Support Allowance, Income Support, Carer’s Allowance or another benefit. Continue reading

Z2K on the London Legal Walk 2016

lwOn Monday 16th May a team of 26 Z2K staff, volunteers and former clients descended on the 2016 London Legal Walk. The Z2K team was just one of hundreds of teams from all across the legal and advice sector.

The walk stretches 10km around London, starting off at the Royal Courts of Justice, ambling along the embankment, through St James Park and Hyde Park before looping around the serpentine and heading back to the start. It was a lovely sunny day and all in the all the walk took us around three hours, but this included toilet and ice cream breaks! Continue reading

Z2K board elects new Chair

MickMick McAteer has been elected by Z2K’s board of trustees as the Trust’s new Chair. Mick is a seasoned financial campaigner and he is looking forward to bringing his expertise to bear at a time when the need for Z2K’s services is greater than ever. He is the founder and Director of The Financial Inclusion Centre, a UK based not-for-profit think tank that promotes fair, inclusive, efficient and accountable financial markets.

Mick is also Chairman of the European Commission’s Financial Services User Group (FSUG), a board member of the CARITAS (Westminster) Advisory Board, and member of the Registry Trust Consumer Panel. Continue reading

Z2K submission to the IPPR London Housing Commission

e15With so many cuts to Social Security benefits happening at a national and local level, it can be difficult for us to stay on top of wider social policy issues.  However, we are always mindful that many of the problems of homelessness, overcrowding and rent arrears our clients face spring directly from the chronic shortage of decent, secure and affordable housing.  And so we always try to make time to contribute to the public debate on this vital issue for Londoners.  That’s why we were so pleased to see the influential IPPR think tank establish the London Housing Commission to investigate what needs to be done to boost the supply of new homes in the Capital.

With the exception of a few well-heeled and well-housed media commentators, most people today agree there is a significant under-supply of housing in London.  The Greater London Authority’s own analysis shows that there is a need for between 49,000 and 62,000 new homes in London every year for at least the next decade.  By contrast, only between 15,000 and 30,000 a year have usually been built.  The Mayor of London’s latest Housing Strategy does recognise this shortfall and promises to boost housebuilding to 42,000 a year.  Z2K’s concern is that the strategy reduces both the proportion of “affordable” homes and their actual affordability. Continue reading