Mapped: Birmingham’s highest areas of benefit claimants

 

The map below shows Birmingham by its constituencies along with the levels of people who are claiming benefits, areas in red being the highest. Among the most affected areas Ladywood has the highest levels of people on housing benefits in all of Birmingham so it is here that the Bedroom Tax has the highest potential for affecting the most people. Alternatively Sutton Coldfield has least amount of benefit claimants and so stands to be the least affected.

 

map of areas effected worst by benefits

Click on the map to show the full map, hover over each area to get the percentage of people claiming housing benefits.

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Video: Interview with Councillor John Cotton

Councillor John Cotton from Birmingham City Council kindly gave an interview giving his opinion on the Bedroom Tax.

He raised his serious doubts and concerns with the Bedroom Tax and how it is an

“iniquitous and unfair measure that’s been brought in by the coalition government that’s going to have a terrible impact on a large number of vulnerable people”

 He repeatedly referred to the policy as a “blunt instrument” used by the government to “chase headlines” which he admitted it has, only they may not be the headlines they desired. Below is the video.

After the interview John gave a final note, emphasizing the point that there are still a lot of people out there that do not know about or understand the Bedroom Tax and that awareness is key, finishing on that anyone wishing to know more about the Bedroom Tax can visit the councils dedicated web page.

Video: Stuart Richardson of the Trade Union Council speech at protest

Stuart Richardson, treasurer for the Trade Union Council, gave a speech this week at the protest outside of Birmingham’s Council House voicing his opposition to the proposed welfare cuts.

He spoke about the “disastrous” effects the cuts would cause across Birmingham and those in it. He describes the Bedroom Tax as

“a program of starvation, that is saying that people should live on, at worst, £49 a week, that’s virtually impossible to feed yourself on and buy any clothes on that scale of money but that is what’s being proposed.”

 

Video: Interview with protester at this weeks demonstration

This week protesters turned out in their masses at Birmingham’s Council Hall to voice their disdain with cuts, including the bedroom tax, that the government are putting through.

One of the groups that were involved in the demonstration was the Socialist Workers Party. Andrew Howard from the party was on hand voicing his outrage at the Bedroom Tax,

“They’re making working people pay for the crisis…as I understand from the Bedroom Tax that it is actually going to cost more money to implement than they’re actually going to save.”

Foster Parents hit by Bedroom Tax.

As of April 2013 foster carers across Birmingham will be left paying between 14% and 25% of their current housing benefits whether there is a child occupying the room or not.

There are approximately 2000 ‘children in care’ at any one time in Birmingham, according to Birmingham City Council, whom they are responsible for and “aim to find stable, secure and caring homes” for.   These looked after children may be housed across a number of in house homes and private sector accommodation, but as of 2009 1190 of children in question were in foster care. That’s 60% of all Birmingham’s looked after children who’s carers potentially stand to shoulder the short fall.

This is down to a technicality with the current benefits system, according to the current outlines “when calculating how many bedrooms a family unit require, a room for a foster child will not be taken into account. Therefore, a household that has an extra room for a current or potential foster child will be treated as under-occupying”.

So for a foster carer who has one bedroom set aside for a fostered child, and is in receipt of the average housing benefit of £89.27 per week, will now have to pay £12.50 of that back, a shortfall that could be at the cost of the child. If a carer has two or more rooms for foster children that amount jumps £22.32.

Birmingham City Council Adopt/Foster Appeal.

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MP ‘Never Heard’ of Bedroom Tax Despite Voting for it

Channel 4 news reports on a case in which Conservative MP Mark Field says he had “never heard of it” when asked about the Bedroom Tax despite it being revealed that he in fact was one of the members of parliament that voted the policy in.

Mark Field is the MP for Cities of London and Westminster and has held the seat since 2001 and sits on the Intelligence and Security Committee.

He revealed that it was simply the case that he was not familiar with the ‘term bedroom tax’ but was of course familiar with the legislation and backed it fully, having even attempted a similar policy in the west end previously.

This story brings to light a certain confusion surrounding the tax that is apparent even within the height of government.