Return of the Tommy Shop: Tories to Introduce Prepaid Cards on ‘Troubled Families’

Prepaid cards for social security claimants with ‘destructive habits’ planned for next year

At the very zenith of the industrial revolution, back when Oldham, Ashton-under-Lyne and Manchester prospered from the cotton industries, its mill owners wielded great power on its employees. Its working hours, use of child labour and poor conditions led to the rise of the trade union movement. Though some were altruistic and built excellent facilities for their staff (case in point, Hugh Mason House and the Twelve Apostles in Ashton-under-Lyne), the popular image of mill owners was at best devious. Continue reading “Return of the Tommy Shop: Tories to Introduce Prepaid Cards on ‘Troubled Families’”

Less Stick More Carrot: An Alternative Unemployment Strategy

As if anybody would listen… or at least read the rest of this article

A few home truths: nobody can live a life a luxury on Jobseekers’ Allowance, or on any other Social Security benefit; secondly, more money is spent by the Department of Work and Pensions on the State Pension than out-of-work benefits; thirdly, some out-of-work benefits and the State Pension is paid by our good selves through National Insurance contributions. Continue reading “Less Stick More Carrot: An Alternative Unemployment Strategy”

Universal Credit: An Absolute Beginners’ Guide

Everything you need to know about the Department for Work and Pensions’ new benefit in Plain English

For several years, some sections of the general public have yearned for a more simplistic social security system. Some may argue that claiming three or more different social security benefits is a bit confusing. At one time, claiming Child Benefit meant queuing in a Post Office to claim their money. Unemployed citizens would at one time queue at a separate DHSS Office and visit their local Job Centre to seek employment. They would go to the former to claim their Unemployment Benefit (cash-in-hand from behind a glass or mesh screened counter). Continue reading “Universal Credit: An Absolute Beginners’ Guide”

Cuts Scene Investigation: The Bedroom Tax Explained

A plain English guide on how the Bedroom Tax ‘works’

Wellington Parade, Dukinfield
Tenants in Housing Association and former municipal housing stock claiming Housing Benefit will be hit by the bedroom tax. Seen here is the southern end of Wellington Parade, which runs through the middle of Dukinfield Central housing estate.

From Easter Monday [01 April] this year, there will be fundamental changes made to Housing Benefit. Tenants in social housing will be deducted 14% or 25% from their Housing Benefit if they have one or more spare bedrooms. Dubbed as the ‘Bedroom Tax’, this would not only hit tenants in the pocket, but also in other ways, such as their right to affordable housing or stable family life. In a nutshell, the Bedroom Tax is a Mansion Tax for the poor! Continue reading “Cuts Scene Investigation: The Bedroom Tax Explained”

Tameside, In the Eye of the Tory Storm: April 2013 and Beyond

A Cuts Scene Investigation Special: Prospects for our borough

In 2009, our borough was in the midst of recovering from the global economic downturn along with numerous others in the United Kingdom. Even so, there was some optimism in the air. Despite voting ‘no’ to the congestion charge, Ashton-under-Lyne – thanks to a different funding package – got her trams. Though internet shopping began to make inroads, the Arcades Shopping Centre was slated for future extension. Public services were well funded. People still had money, and confidence, though energy prices started to climb. The new IKEA Store also helped things. Continue reading “Tameside, In the Eye of the Tory Storm: April 2013 and Beyond”

Cuts Scene Investigation: How Housing Benefit Reforms Will Affect Tameside Residents

An East of the M60 Exclusive Report

Fleet Street, Ashton-under-Lyne
Photograph by Gene Hunt (Creative Commons Attribution License)

The Tameside area has a wide range of former council housing stock and properties owned by housing associations. Much of it was inherited from the pre-1974 Borough, Rural and Urban District Councils. In the borough, its two main players are New Charter Housing Trust and Ashton Pioneer Homes, whom inherited Tameside MBC’s housing in 1999. Continue reading “Cuts Scene Investigation: How Housing Benefit Reforms Will Affect Tameside Residents”