Friday 29 November 2013

Comet Sail

A previous comet

See the story and text of a letter which I and 49 other charity CEOs have sent to Iain Duncan Smith about the effect of the Bedroom Tax on disabled people here.

I'm not sure myself that I agree that this charge - or more accurately benefit reduction - should be called a "tax" by its opponents but that is to split hairs. Whatever you think of the wider argument about how much space benefits can reasonably pay for in people's homes it is plain wrong to take money away from vulnerable disabled people who have need for space and for whom moving house would cause disruption and dislocation.

In practice the effect of the benefit reduction for most people (who will not be able to move) will simply be to reduce their income below that which was means-assessed for them - in other words they will have less to live on than IDS's own department thinks they need as a minimum. No, I don't understand either.

Besides there is more to it even than that. Retrospective law is generally regarded as oppressive and unfair because people couldn't obviously know the rules before they were dreamt up. I suggest that similarly it's not fair to tell people who are settled somewhere, often for many years, in a home which they chose - or had chosen for them - according to the rules which applied at the time...

"No, sorry, you shouldn't have been allowed that home and now you will have to get out - or you can stay but you won't have enough money to live on".

Just how long would the list be of things which the Government might reasonably cut first before they got to this?


How long indeed?

Apparently the comet in today's news known as "Ison" (story here) sailed "close" to the Sun yesterday i.e. only a million miles from it. We are 93 million miles from the Sun, luckily I guess, though I can't help thinking 80 million miles might be more comfortable and permit year-round short-sleeves, sea-bathing and long cocktails?

Now just pick any of the distances mentioned to get the length of the list.