ONTD Political

Every Women’s Refuge in the UK Could Close Due to Universal Credit

2:34 pm - 09/18/2012
A toxic combination of Universal Credit and benefit caps could lead to every single women’s refuge is the UK closing their doors warned the charity Women’s Aid this week.

Critics have also warned that the new benefits system, which will see all benefit paid to just one member of a family, could leave people trapped in abusive relationships with no hope of escape.

Many homelessness hostels and night-shelters will also be affected by the benefit cap, although shockingly it will be those with children who are at greatest risk.

The benefit cap, set to be introduced in April 2013, will see benefits capped at £350 a week for a single claimant and £500 for a family of any size. This cap includes support with rent payments, which make up the bulk of almost all benefit awards. Already Housing Benefit caps are leading to soaring homelessness and the impact has barely even been felt. The situation is set to become far worse when payments for temporary or emergency accommodation are also subject to the cap.

Women’s refuges and other types of emergency accommodation are forced to charge high rents (paid by Housing Benefit) to cover staffing costs. Experienced staff are critical to the services they offer, for both resident security and ongoing vital support.

When the cap is introduced next year Women’s Aid warn that the loss of income will “decimate the refuge network”. To make matters even worse, the move to a monthly payment system for Universal Credit - along with ‘direct payments’ which means housing benefits will no longer be paid to landlords – may see some residents falling into arrears placing further pressure on services.

Homelessness hostels which support young people who have suffered abuse may also be forced to close. With brutal cuts already made to Housing Benefits for those under 25, there may well be nowhere left to run but the streets for children who are abused in the family home.

Universal Credit will only be paid to a single family member as opposed to benefits being split between between couples as at present. For those in abusive relationships this could prove devastating, allowing abusive partners to trap people in a financial straitjacket from which there is little chance of escape.

Women’s Aid supported 180,000 adults and children last year. This support could disappear completely when Iain Duncan Smith’s inept benefit changes are driven through.

Whilst hostel and refuge accommodation has improved over the years it could still best be described as basic. Women fleeing domestic violence, or homeless teenagers escaping abuse, are a world away from the plasma screen collecting mythical claimants so often portrayed in the media.

It is a sad truth that already those who have suffered trauma or abuse and are unable to work are forced into poverty by paltry benefits. The decimation of refuges and emergency accommodation services will now mean homelessness as well for those seeking to escape their situation. That this savage scenario doesn’t even seem to have occurred to Iain Duncan Smith tells us everything we need to know about the posh boys in this Government’s attitude to women.

A briefing report on the impact of Welfare Reform produced by Women’s Aid can be downloaded at: http://www.womensaid.org.uk/core/core_picker/download.asp?id=3744 (PDF)

kagehikario 18th-Sep-2012 05:02 pm (UTC)
Insert incoherent anger. Can not deal with this shit before coffee
alryssa 18th-Sep-2012 05:57 pm (UTC)
Fucking hell.
deborahw37 18th-Sep-2012 06:18 pm (UTC)
Have I mentioned lately that I really REALLY don't like the Coalition government?
sugar_crazy_01 18th-Sep-2012 07:21 pm (UTC)
I want off this planet :(
(no subject) - Anonymous
the_physicist 19th-Sep-2012 01:33 am (UTC)
That this savage scenario doesn’t even seem to have occurred to Iain Duncan Smith tells us everything we need to know about the posh boys in this Government’s attitude to women.

Fuck anyone and everyone that voted Tory.

casketscratcher 19th-Sep-2012 04:03 pm (UTC)
All. Of. This.
ellonwye 18th-Sep-2012 07:57 pm (UTC)
I'm sure glad my lib dem vote made a difference!

(it totally fucking didn't)
deborahw37 18th-Sep-2012 08:07 pm (UTC)
I'm beyond furious with Clegg and Co and have pledged never again to campaign for vote for or support any member of the Liberal Democrat party in any election at local or national level.

Unlike that bunch of mendacious hypocritical scum I keep my pledges!
ruby_chalice 18th-Sep-2012 10:08 pm (UTC)
I had to eventually forgive myself for voting Lib Dem. You can only kick yourself for so long. I've learned my lesson. Never again. Tories in sheeps clothing.

casketscratcher 19th-Sep-2012 04:04 pm (UTC)
Same here, but then who of us could have known that they would end up doing the exact opposite of every single thing they promised? Hell, the fact that they went into this coalition at all was a massive shock.
strandedinaber 18th-Sep-2012 08:43 pm (UTC)
Ditto :( Feel so, so betrayed by them. And no fucking clue where to turn to at the next election.

I really, really hope that the Lib Dem upper lot get kicked out and we get a chance to return to LD grassroots.
sparkindarkness 18th-Sep-2012 09:11 pm (UTC)
Same. The days I spend bitterly furious about my vote for the Lib Dems, ugh I voted for this government! I feel unclean
strandedinaber 18th-Sep-2012 08:41 pm (UTC)
Ugh I should not have read the comments at the source. So fucking fed up of BUT WHAT ABOUT TEH MENZ.

(This may have something to do with the dude on twitter who tried to tell me how I should feel about and react to misogyny.)
paulnolan 18th-Sep-2012 08:46 pm (UTC)
I was hoping the first comment would be an anomaly there when the author called him out (there were only a couple of comments when I submitted it), but no such luck. :(
sparkindarkness 18th-Sep-2012 09:05 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, to change it would require the tories and their mini-mes to care.
the_physicist 19th-Sep-2012 01:31 am (UTC)
the tories just don't give a shit about people. they let the council flats be sold off without the thought that they might need to be replaced with new ones (and thanks labour, for not building new ones >_> ) and now the tories are like: what?! we have to pay people to live in private rented accommodation?! those prices are ridiculous! (yes, yes, they are!)
the_gabih 19th-Sep-2012 10:29 am (UTC)
But- but- THE INVISIBUL HAND!!!1!eleventy!!!
romp 19th-Sep-2012 04:14 am (UTC)
Each time I see one of these stories from the UK, I hope it's the last. When's the next election again?
ruby_chalice 19th-Sep-2012 10:26 am (UTC)
"When's the next election again?"

May 2015.

Could be sooner if there's a vote of no confidence. The problem is not when but who do we vote for? It's time for a real sea change in British politics. Despite widespread dissatisfaction with our current 'leaders' of government, the public is in general politically apathetic. So we'll probably plod on with a two party system. Which is just the most depressing prospect tbh.
the_gabih 19th-Sep-2012 10:29 am (UTC)

Genuinely hoping this government falls apart before then, negl.
casketscratcher 19th-Sep-2012 04:05 pm (UTC)
It just seems like they've been in power for so long already. I can't believe how far away the next election is.

And after that, who do we vote for? Labour are about as useful as a chocolate teapot these days, especially with Miliband in charge.
the_gabih 19th-Sep-2012 06:57 pm (UTC)
I know, right? It's a really awful situation. I'd vote Green, except they're never really going to get beyond Brighton and Hove, are they?
red_pill 19th-Sep-2012 11:32 am (UTC)
whilst theres alot of shit with the torrys (house benfit cap, etc), i think that the problem here is a case of unintened consenses with the universal credit as opposed to a directly shit taking thing

where its universal credit.

where it isnt, obvously, fuck the torys.
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