The Board of Deputies write in their new general election report
"In some areas, particularly among the strictly Orthodox, the Jewish
community is characterised by large families, which forms an integral part
of their Jewish identity. When one or more principal earners in such a
household becomes unemployed or incapacitated, the need and dependency
on housing and welfare benefits can become acute.
Caps on benefits, including housing benefit, disproportionately affect families
on low incomes. Where families with six plus children suddenly receive the
same amount of certain benefit payments as families with three children,
extreme hardship can rapidly follow.
The policy intention might be that welfare-dependent families living in
areas of high housing costs might relocate to cheaper areas. This is not
practical or realistic for Jewish families in London who have longstanding
ties to their communities and families and whose way of life necessitates
close proximity to community infrastructure like Orthodox synagogues,
schools and kosher food."
and ask for greater flexibility in the benefits system.
Unlike the Labour Party, who call themselves socialist, we Greens take such evidence from the Child Poverty Action Group and the Board of Deputies very seriously. We're committed to benefit reform, but not in a punitive way described above. If the Jewish Community wants to stay put in areas like Stamford Hill with large families, the long run solution is the Basic Income Garantee. This policy gives everyone the right to a basic material standard of living as a right. If they work, it tops up their income, and if they don't, they don't have to be humiliated or moved from their community. The economy benefits only the banks, but BIG would create aggregate demand by putting money in people's pockets, which would then circulate and make businesses more successful and serve the people. It's simply not acceptable that so many people live below the poverty line.