Birmingham and Midland Institute,
9 Margaret Street Birmingham, B3 3BS.
The BMI is wheelchair accessible, with temporary ramps available for stairways.
So that refreshments can be provided and everyone accommodated it would be helpful if you could let the council know if you intend to come along by emailing email@example.com. Don’t worry if you’re unsure whether you can make it, you are still welcome to turn up on the day.
You can email any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. The council regret that they cannot respond to emails personally but your comments will be formally recorded.
If you can’t make it, you can complete a questionnaire online at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/bcccounciltaxsupport
The government are changing council tax benefit to Council Tax Support and passing responsibility for managing the benefit to local councils, but giving them 10% less money than was previously being paid in council tax benefit.
Council tax benefit is available to unemployed, disabled or low paid people as well as pensioners and carers. The coalition has said that pensioners cannot have their benefits cut, meaning that the whole 10% must be made up from working age claimants. At the tory conference this week George Osborne made a big show of saying council tax will be frozen, but neglected to mention that was not for the poorest in our communities.
You can read a letter from a Birmingham resident that details how this extra cost will affect him. Consultations held elsewhere in the city have seen large numbers of people turn up, angry about this, not knowing how they will afford to pay the extra money.
For those who can’t pay, there is the possibility of prosecution, though whether a council that cannot even make all of it’s own councillors pay will chase people for a couple of hundred quid – probably far less than the cost of taking someone to court – remains to be seen.
This comes on top of housing benefit cuts that have increased homelessness in Birmingham, and ahead of further welfare reforms with the introduction of Universal Credit next year, which will make child poverty targets “unachievable” and overwhelm advice services in Birmingham.
Freezing council tax wasn’t the only plan Osborne laid out at the Tory party conference this week. He also gave notice of a further £10bn in welfare cuts he wants to make, removing housing benefit from under-25s and restricting benefits for people with large families (who are already going to be caught by the £500/week benefit cap under Universal Credit).
With the ongoing attacks on disabled people in the form of ATOS and the soon coming 20% cut in Disability Living Allowance as it changes to Personal Independance Payment, the expanded workfare forced unpaid labour schemes, and 3 year benefit sanctions for jobseekers, the attacks on the welfare system must be resisted. There are free coach spaces available for unwaged and low paid people on Birmingham Trades Council and assorted union coaches going to the national TUC demonstration for A Future That Works in London on Saturday Oct 20th.
Before then, come and join us on the 18th to show that we will not sit back whilst our welfare state is torn to bits – and neither should our Labour council.