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A thousand cuts

January 2nd 2010

The national news is full of stories about government funding cuts, but it is not just large news outlets that are monitoring the big slashes. Chaminda Jayanetti is a journalist and the author of A Thousand Cuts, a blog that aims to investigate, publicise and campaign against unfair government cuts. The Pavement caught up with Mr Jayanetti to get his views on the proposals and find out how they might affect our readers.

"Many homeless people are no doubt used to being ignored by politicians, and may feel that there is nothing that can be done to stop this latest round of attacks. But there is a crucial difference this time: large sections of the British public are increasingly feeling anger at being forced to pay the bill for the bankers' mess," he said.

Mr Jayanetti feels passionate about the unfairness of the current situation. He added: "The reckless super-rich of the banking sector brought Britain's economy to its knees with an economic crisis that has already forced millions of people into unemployment. As the banks prepare to dole out more multi-million pound bonuses, the government is cutting vital frontline services that will hit the poor hardest.

Housing is an issue that A Thousand Cuts monitors closely. Mr Jayanetti believes housing policy has gone from bad to worse. "Under Labour, it was a shambles and it will go down as their most wretched failure. However, what little progress they did make is being unravelled by the coalition government," he said.

"The government has made it a priority to target benefits claimants and to demonise them as work-shy scroungers. Housing benefit claimants are the first in the firing line, and the various attacks on Local Housing Allowance are widely expected to increase homelessness," he added.

It is not just housing that is a target for cutbacks. Mr Jayanetti said: "I'm currently monitoring NHS job cuts and there are thousands of them. Some of these have the potential to disproportionately impact homeless people; a noticeable trend is high level cuts to NHS mental health trusts, and drug and alcohol addiction services. Without wishing to stereotype all homeless people, it is not unreasonable to speculate that these services do cater to a section of the homeless population."

The government has, however, formed a ministerial committee aimed at tackling homelessness. Mr Jayanetti said: "I doubt many homeless people will be trembling with excitement at this news. However, the bitter irony is that if ministers' cuts are implemented, this ministerial committee will likely have its hands full with the fallout."

So what advice would Mr Jayanetti give our readers who might want to try and do something about it?

"Look out for leaflets or posters in your local area advertising anti-cuts campaigns, or try your local trade union council. There are also unemployed workers unions that fight against local cuts and campaign for better rights for local unemployed people, be they seeking work or claiming long-term benefits.

"The game has changed. Trust in the government and big business has collapsed and given the scale of the cuts being planned, there will be people whose very lives depend on them being stopped. It cannot be utopia for the bankers and 'realism' for the rest. Enough is enough."

• Chaminda Jayanetti's blog can be found at:


November 2010



London's hub

Why Rochester Row?

Over 1,800 convicted under Vagrancy Act

Estimates of ex-service homelessness exaggerated, claims charity

Gone, but not forgotten

A thousand cuts

Boris slammed by homelessness charity

Big Society event

Sleep outs spark debate

Homeless charities gear up for cuts

Children held for fire attack on homeless man in Jamaica

Housing associations treble surpluses

Homeless hate crime passed in Florida

Homeless tours of London

Punks party for the homeless

In from the cold

Ex-homeless Mr England

Housing benefit help

Council strategy restricts emergency beds

First new council homes in a generation

Evictions fall by a third

New changes to housing law

Churches charity urges government to meet housing targets

World Aids Day - 1 December

Could cuts see the return of hostels?

Street Shield 18: A mystery to solve


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