Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Housing Benefit – The New Law of Settlement

Post by John Maynard (of Bewdley Quakers)

In Eighteenth Century England, relief for unemployment depended on the Laws of Settlement. If you had not worked continuously for a year in the place you lived, you had no ‘settlement’ and were not entitled to poor relief. Instead, the last place you worked for a year was deemed your place of settlement and you were sent back there – even if you had not been there for 30 years. Wives took their husband’s settlement so if a husband died, his widow and children were sent back to the last place where he had worked for a year – even if she had never been there. In short, people without work were often unable to stay in the village or town where they had lived for many years, but removed by law to somewhere else, simply to save money locally.

The Welfare Act 2012 is the new Government Law of Settlement. Under the Act, housing benefit depends on how many people live in a house. For example, single people under 35 on benefits entitled to housing benefit can only get an allowance to cover shared accommodation. If they wish to live alone, they must pay the difference between their allowance and the rent. A married couple on benefits are entitled to housing benefit for a one bedroom house. A couple with a child are entitled to rent a two bedroom house. However, if they have two children under 16 of the same sex, the children will be expected to share a room and not have a room of their own. If they have two children of different sexes, the children will be expected to share a room until they are 10.

This legislation means that elderly couples who have raised children in a three bedroom house are not entitled to remain there once their children have left home. As a couple, they are only entitled to an allowance to cover the rent of  a one bedroom  property and will be expected to move accordingly or take in lodgers. This is already having a devastating impact on families and is nothing short of social cleansing.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Just War ?

Post by Ash

Can there ever be such a thing as a `Just War` ? This question has taxed the human race since the concept first developed, at least as far back as the 4th century AD. Can it ever be right to kill others in defence of or on behalf of  one`s fellow countrymen ? How do we `square` the ethical, moral and religious issues concerned when we take a stance either way (or somewhere in-between ) on this ?
Some 1700 years of thinking on the matter can hardly claim to have resulted in a definitive and generally agreeable conclusion. We can all point to contemporary examples across the globe that attest to the continuing ability within the human condition to resolve conflict through war.

It is of course the case that there has been significant progress in mutual understanding, for example The `Universal Declaration Of Human Rights` is now into its 54th year. Yet much remains to be accomplished and for that we all have a responsibility.

To that end, a debate on the matter will be held here at Kidderminster  New Meeting House on TUESDAY 10TH JULY at 7.30 pm. There will be four Guest Speakers to put the case `for` and `against`, and the chance to listen and ask questions. We don`t expect to find any easy answers; we do hope though  to be thought-provoking and supportive  in the search for clarity, on this the most difficult of matters.
And of course, we shall as always, do our very best to ensure a warm and friendly welcome to our `New Meeting Nights` session  in this beautiful building ,for an enjoyable evening of shared ideas.

We hope you will be able to join us.All are welcome.


`Can There Ever Be A Just War ?`  

Tuesday July 10th, 2012 .

New Meeting House, Church Street, off Bull Ring, Kidderminster, DY10 2AR. (Brown Signposted off A 456 as `Unitarian Church`)

Entry Free  

Car Parking on-site (free-first come first served) or 100 m away on Swan Centre Multi Storey Car Park accessed off A456 Ring Road via Blackwell St/Coventry St.

Speakers: Sandy Ellis (Midland Unitarian Association) Martin Layton (Bewdley Quakers) Ian Kirby (Kidderminster New Meeting House) Moira Brown (Bewdley Quakers)

Chair: Graham Williams (Kidderminster New Meeting House).

Tea, Coffee, Biscuits  at 9 pm.