Dear Editor, Liam Byrne’s refusal to promise reversal of the Government’s cuts may be politically expedient but is cold comfort to the many thousands in Birmingham on benefits or low incomes and the unemployed (‘No promise to reverse Tory cuts’, Post, October 4).
Local government took the brunt of the Coalition’s austerity programme in its first incarnation following the Comprehensive Spending Review in 2010. The housing budget saw the largest cut of about two thirds – vital investment stripped away that could have kept the construction sector going, helped avoid a double dip recession and created much needed new homes and jobs.
Welfare recipients, especially those living in social housing, are now the key target.
Young and old tenants alike have seen their incomes – already low at an average of £8,900 – eroded by 10 per cent in real terms since 2008 as food and fuel price rises have outstripped inflation.
The Government’s welfare reforms will suck a further £1.5bn each year out of social housing communities already living on the margins.
At Trident we are trying to tackle the fall-out through food banks, providing furniture from charitable donations, offering money and debt advice and helping tenants access jobs and training. However, as cuts bite deeper, the consequences could become increasingly grave.
Think again Mr Byrne and let ‘those with the broadest shoulders bear the greatest burden’ as your leader promised in his ‘One Nation’ speech.
John Morris, group chief executive,
Trident Housing Association