2.7 million won't cope with Universal Credit

Wed, 02/10/2013 - 16:49 -- nick

2.7 million people will struggle to cope with the new Universal Credit system, a report says.

The Payments Council says the move to monthly payments will lead to problems with budgeting income.

Benefits are currently paid every two weeks.

The government has made plans for some vulnerable people to keep their fortnightly payments, but millions more will fall outside this provision.

The Payments Council oversees card and bank transfers, and surveyed benefit claimants over the last month.

We will make uemployed work for benefits - Osborne

Mon, 30/09/2013 - 13:36 -- nick

Chancellor George Osborne has announced a plan to make long-term unemployed people work for their benefits - despite strong evidence it doesn't work.

This idea has been around for a while - the Taxpayers' Alliance released a report earlier this month recommending it - but it will become policy from April next year.

Cameron wrong on jobcentre referrals to foodbanks, says charity

Thu, 26/09/2013 - 12:04 -- nick

David Cameron's claim that his government has supported food banks has been flatly denied by the head of The Trussell Trust.

The Trust is the biggest food bank provider in the UK, and Chris Mould, its chief executive, said he was “annoyed, puzzled and confused” by the Prime Minister's statement.

Mould said the government had "broken its agreement" with food banks, despite its claim that it had gone further than the previous Labour regime in referring people in need.

Welfare reform causing widespread suffering, says report

Tue, 24/09/2013 - 12:54 -- nick

Four out of five benefit-claiming households are in debt, according to a new report, and nearly nine out of ten fear welfare changes will affect their health.

These are the shocking findings of a new study, Real Life Reform, carried out by Northern Housing Consortium, which follows people affected by benefit changes up to 2015.

Despite the government's denials that welfare now provides a poverty-level income, the report shows that two-thirds of people have less than £10 left each week after paying for food and basic bills.

New 'independent' reviewer for benefit sanctions announced

Fri, 20/09/2013 - 11:29 -- nick

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced a new independent reviewer of benefit sanctions.

Matthew Oakley, the head of economics and social policy at thinktank Policy Exchange, will lead the review.

The post was required by the Jobseeker’s (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013, and will look at the clarity of information given to Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants on the consequences of failing to take part in mandatory back to work schemes, and on how to navigate the appeals system.

Bedroom tax leaves a third of tenants in arrears

Thu, 19/09/2013 - 12:44 -- nick

The bedroom tax has already left a third of social housing tenants in debt, according to an investigation by the TUC.

The union body submitted freedom of information requests to all of the UK's local authorities, and 114 responded.

They showed that 50,000 tenants have fallen into rent arrears despite the policy only having been introduced in April.

This represents a third of all residents of affected council and housing association homes, but in some areas the figure is more than half.

IDS religious beliefs not shown in policy - New Statesman

Wed, 18/09/2013 - 12:25 -- nick

Ian Duncan Smith is a Christian whose actions and beliefs would be entirely alien to Jesus.

That is the claim of an article in The New Statesman, which shows that, despite using the language of 'sin' and 'redemption', Smith's policies are not compatible with a Christian way of life

Laurie Penny, the article's author, says: "Iain Duncan Smith is a second-rate thinker and a third-rate leader who is wrecking civil society with his misguided moral crusade."

Benefit fraudsters could get up to ten years in jail

Mon, 16/09/2013 - 13:42 -- nick

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has announced an increase in maximum jail terms for those convicted of benefit and tax credit fraud.

Despite its rarity - only 0.7% of welfare payments are lost to fraud - the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, says that it is time for a "tough stance".

The fact that fraud has been getting rarer suggests both that the change is unnecessary, and that it has been prompted by the government and newspapers' increasingly hard line on all benefits.

Bedroom tax violates human rights and should be scrapped, says UN

Wed, 11/09/2013 - 14:35 -- nick

The bedroom tax is "shocking" and should be scrapped according to a high profile United Nations investigator.

Raquel Rolnik, the UN special raporteur on housing, has been in the UK interviewing politicians, officials and residents of social housing on the controversial charge, which removes benefits from families deemed to be under-occupying their homes.

The representative believes the charge may be violating the human right to decent housing, as set out in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which the UK has signed and ratified.

UK attitudes to welfare soften, says survey

Tue, 10/09/2013 - 11:25 -- nick

The public's attitude to benefits is softening, according to a new survey.

The British Social Attitudes Survey reports its findings every year on a range of topics including welfare.

And despite continued negative coverage by many newspapers, and the government's ongoing campaign against claimants, when the statement "benefits for unemployed people are too high and discourage work" was put to them, only 51% agreed.

This shows a big drop since last year's survey when 62% concurred.



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