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From The Socialist newspaper, 1 April 2015

Them & Us

Problem debt

Millions of people in the UK are in "severe problem debt" as a result of the capitalist recession - in which wages fell for six years - and government austerity. A further 18 million are worried about making their income last until their next pay packet.

Debt charity StepChange says over half a million people, with debts averaging 14,650, have sought help in the past year alone. It also says that the number of people needing help to manage their debts has risen by 56% since 2012.

But it's not only the unemployed seeking help. Increasing numbers of people in full-time work are struggling to pay essential bills such as gas and electricity. Also, the number of people in council tax arrears has rocketed from 20% to 33% in only two years due to benefit cuts.

Problem debt costs the economy more than 8 billion a year - 960 million on mental-health treatment; 2.3 billion in costs due to job losses or lost productivity, and 790 million in "relationship breakdown costs," the report says.


Hardest hit

Households with the lowest incomes have been hit the hardest by the coalition government's tax rises and benefit cuts over the last five years. This unsurprising conclusion from the Institute for Fiscal Studies says that although tax increases had hit people on the highest incomes "the poorest have seen the biggest proportionate losses."


Zero-hour nightmare

"Irregular hours from flexible work and zero-hour contracts leave some workers anxiously facing eviction, afraid to speak out about their employment rights for fear of losing their work, or with debts piling up".

That's the verdict of the Citizens Advice Bureau who reveal that 83% of people with fluctuating work have problems with debt; 87% of people with fluctuating work face complications or delays to benefits such as working tax credits or housing benefit; 74% of people with fluctuating work seeking help from CAB have problems with childcare.

Last year over 220,000 people asked Citizens Advice for help with their employment problems.



Unaffordable rents

Meanwhile low income tenants in 25,000 housing association (HA) households in the capital are collectively paying 70 million in rent increases because of the government's policy.

Due to a 63% cut in capital investment budgets for HAs since 2010, renters have found their homes re-designated from 'social' housing to 'affordable' housing ie from half the market rate to up to 80% of market rents, as HAs recoup the shortfall.

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In The Socialist 1 April 2015:


Socialist Party news and analysis

No cuts to welfare!

Save our schools

How to fight the anti-union laws

NHS funding crisis deepens

End punitive benefit sanctions now!

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

South Africa: campaigning for a working class party

Greece: negotiations continue

US: Seattle gets a raise!

Solidarity with Cypriot workers

Tunisia: thousands demonstrate


Elections 2015

Kick out rotten MPs and councillors

TUSC set for TV broadcast

School crossing campaigner stands for TUSC

Gloucester College hustings: Scrap all fees

Defend further education

Socialist Party general election appeal 2015


Socialist Party workplace news

Teachers need national action

Unison special conference votes for new pay claim

London bus companies forced into pay talks

Bolton Uni: reinstate Damien and Jenny Markey!

Leeds: Save our train guards

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party youth and students

Students occupy for free education


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Election 2015 Cameron and Miliband Live

Axing Clause IV: Making Labour safe for capitalism

Working in the NHS: Low pay, cuts and stress

The Great Money Trick: Another World is Possible

The new look Socialist - thumbs up from readers


 

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