"I am disabled. I live in a three bedroom house on the Shaftesbury Estate with my husband and son. My house is owned by the Peabody Trust. I had serious back trouble after having children. As time went on it got worse. It got to the stage that I could not get in and out of my bath or get up my stairs. In the end I had to sleep in my front room and wash in a sink because I couldn’t get in the bath. I applied to my housing trust to move but they did not have any adapted properties available. I was told to move out the borough as it was the only chance that I would probably get of finding an adapted property. I have lived in Battersea all my life. My husband works at a nursery and I have two daughters that live close by. They are always on hand to help me. I was on my housing trust list for seven years trying to get an adapted property but they didn’t have any two bed. I was given a three bed adapted house which I moved to in December 2009. In April 2013 the bedroom tax was brought in. We get a bit of housing benefit because of my husband’s low wage. Our housing benefit was cut from £65 a week to £48 a week and we have to find the short fall which works out at £82 a month. I am on every home swapper site going to find a two bed property – including the council’s and through Facebook. I have been on to my housing trust and been put on their bidding system where you have to bid for available properties. But there are no two bed adapted places on there. Like I keep saying they never had any adapted properties back in 2009. They still haven’t got any now. All that is going to happen is we will end up getting in to rent arrears then if a place came up we wouldn’t be allowed to move. We will end up in court. I have a degenerative condition which impairs my mobility. The bedroom tax is cruel."
WANDSWORTH’S CUTS ADD TO HOUSING CRISIS
Wandsworth’s Conservative councillors have decided to delete 44.74 posts in the Housing Department causing 31 of their workers to be made redundant. This 10% cut in housing staff is completely unnecessary as the Housing Revenue Account contained reserves totalling £210,329,000 on April 1st 2013. The Council predict this total will exceed quarter of a billion pounds in ten years time. As their housing income is based on rents they cannot argue that these cuts will help them reduce council tax. This year they have raised rents by an average of £3.44 per week, 2.7% and 0.5% above the Consumer Price Index.
The cut in housing staff is not about saving money. Wandsworth are spending an average of £207.18 per week for each room in temporary housing for the homeless. They currently have 67 families in bed and breakfast, many using more than one room, and many well over the six week limit for re-housing. By cutting the staff who help families evicted due to the benefit cap, Wandsworth are contributing to the housing crisis. In future Universal Credit will further increase homelessness as poor people will have to pay their rents instead of the money going straight to their landlords as at present. In addition Wandsworth are threatening to evict victims of the Bedroom Tax who cannot afford to meet their higher payments. These victims include many disabled tenants whose flats and houses have extra space adapted to suit their needs. At the same time the council officers who are supposed to seek alternative properties for them are being made redundant. To add insult to injury there are very few smaller properties available.
Report on Benefit Justice Summit Read reportBenefit claimants are facing a tsunami of cuts. We must fight and we can win. Londoners on benefits are particularly hard hit because of high rents, and Wandsworth has among the highest council rents in the country. Over 50% of benefit claimants are in employment.
Council tax reforms will penalise poorest households, finds study. read more
Cllr Govindia claims that Wandsworth Council needs to save £80 million (without seeking to justify that figure - and now increased to £90 million). That amounts to £600 per annum per household and (coincidentally) that is what the study shows is how much the poorest families will be paying - but the rest of us in Wandsworth won't. Are we really all in it together or are the poorest families subsidising the rest of us?
Almost 9 out of 10 parents and carers in Wandsworth Council's own survey said NO to plans to bulldoze this much-used historic and cherished playground, replacing it with a sanitised staff-less facility
The Council have sought to discredit a group of protesters who moved in to Battersea Park Adventure Playground to prevent the destruction of the structures, built up over the years by playleaders and young people, and to allow the Council a chance to reconsider its plan to replace the adventurous staffed playground with tame, standard, catalogue pieces. Read more
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School Crossing Patrols
The council is trying to force schools to bear the burden of crossing patrols.
Parents at Honeywell School have set up a petition. It can be signed at the following:
Wandsworth Council have now given crossing patrols a list of the crossing which will either be sponsored by Talk Talk or funded by schools themselves. It can be seen here
The Evening Standard reported on the poor faith on the part of the Council when parents raised the money to protect their crossing patrols. It can be read here