Student debt dominates headlines – but why don’t we hear arguments for writing off debt for people who austerity has crushed with council tax charges, DWP loan repayments, sanctioned benefits, rent arrears, court fines and all the rest? Where’s the political sympathy for writing off debt for these people? Where are the headlines for that?
“Staying housed, battling bailiffs, fighting councils for housing, sorting out benefit sanctions and paying rent arrears, fines and DWP loans really is a full time job. Benefits are constantly threatened and sanctioned by the DWP. Housing benefit and paying rent becomes a mess when people shift their claims to Universal Credit. People end up with rent arrears because their local housing allowance doesn’t cover their private sector rent. They are charged court costs for eviction and struggle to get council help for a new place… People are paying council tax arrears. They’re paying back loans to the DWP which go on and on. The letters and demands pour through the door. They’re in hock to the state and its providers forever. That’s the point. The system isn’t helping these people. It owns them. They can’t get out, because they’re not allowed out. It’s time that the political class stopped insisting they try.”