MPs call for bedroom tax to be scrapped

Tue, 17/12/2013 - 12:59 -- nick

A committee of MPs has called for the government's hated bedroom tax to be scrapped.

The Scottish Affairs Committee, which deals in Westminster with issues north of the border, includes MPs of all parties, although Tory and Liberal Democrat members did not support the report.

Its chairman, Labour MP Ian Davidson, called the tax a "cruel burden" on the poor.

He said:

EU migrants must speak English or no benefits

Fri, 13/12/2013 - 13:28 -- nick

New immigrants to the UK are to be tested on their English language ability before they are allowed to claim out-of-work benefits, the government has announced.

The new test requires those trying to claim to answer more individually-tailored questions, provide more detailed answers and submit more evidence before they will be allowed to make a claim.

The tougher regime has been rolled out across the UK from Monday this week, and the Department for Work and Pensions provided no reasons for announcing the change days after it took place.

Rent arrears rising - but BBC forgets why

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 12:36 -- nick

Phone calls on rent arrears are the most common received by the government's Money Advice (MA) service, and 37% more people have contacted them for this reason over the last year.

But the BBC's reporting of this makes no mention of the likely main cause - the government's hated bedroom tax.

IDS to face MPs to account for his Universal Credit failings

Mon, 09/12/2013 - 13:05 -- nick

Under-fire Work and Pensions Secretary Ian Duncan Smith will finally face a committee of MPs this afternoon to account for his failures on the Universal Credit system.

In advance of this he gave an interview to The Financial Times in which he said he took "complete responsibility ... from start to finish" for the issues affecting the scheme.

Food emergency in UK as poverty and benefit cuts hit home

Wed, 04/12/2013 - 17:40 -- nick

Food poverty has grown in the UK to a point of national health emergency - and benefit cuts are to blame.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, the scientists and public health experts said the rise in starvation and food bank use bore the hallmarks of a national medical emergency.

In a letter the group points the finger at the government's benefit cuts, citing evidence from the UK's biggest food bank provider the Trussell Trust:

Three-quarters of workers stuck in low pay for a decade

Wed, 27/11/2013 - 14:11 -- nick

Three-quarters of workers who were in low pay ten years ago are still stuck in it today, a report has found.

Thinktank the Resolution Foundation also showed that fewer than one-in-five had managed to escape and move up the career ladder.

Entry-level work provides a vital first step for unemployed people, and if it works as a trap the previously workless are likely to suffer more than most.

EU hits back at 'nasty' Tory benefit block plan

Wed, 27/11/2013 - 12:58 -- nick

The European Union has criticised the Conservative plan to block EU citizens from receiving UK benefits.

Employment Commissioner Laszlo Andor said Britain risked being seen as a "nasty country" because of the plan, which would mean a person needs to be resident in the UK for three months before they were entitled to benefits.

From 1st January people from Bulgaria and Romania will have full workers rights in the whole EU, prompting fears from some that the UK jobs market will struggle to accommodate them.

IDS targets seriously ill for benefit and support cuts

Mon, 25/11/2013 - 12:29 -- nick

Hated Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is to target some of the most seriously ill benefit claimants for cuts.

They include people with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.

Smith is proposing to  dump the work-related activity group (WRAG), which provides support including training and interview practice to those who are deemed fit-to-work with help.

550,000 people are in this group, and half have got back into work within three years despite their issues, but this is considered insufficient.



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