Level of benefit fraud and error unchanged last year

Thu, 09/05/2013 - 15:23 -- nick

Benefit fraud and error was unchanged at 0.7% of all payments last year, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed.

In total £3.5 billion was overpaid in 2012-13, of which £1.2 billion was due to fraud and twice as much, £2.3 billion, was due to error by both claimants and DWP staff.

Despite the larger part played by mistakes in the system, and the lack of change compared to the year before, Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud chose to highlight fraud figures:

The Queen's Speech promises more cuts for the unemployed

Wed, 08/05/2013 - 13:25 -- nick

Today's Queen's Speech promises more cuts for the unemployed and other claimants, including new immigrants to the UK who will have access to benefits restricted.

There was better news in the new National Insurance Contributions Bill, which cuts NI contributions paid by small businesses when they employ someone, potentially boosting the number of jobs available, and in plans to improve the availability of childcare for working people.

Government benefits website doesn't work with newer browsers

Fri, 03/05/2013 - 15:11 -- nick

The government website that supports people to apply for benefits includin Disability Living Allowance does not work with most newer internet browsers, it has been revealed.

Computing, the online IT magazine, has published advice provided on the site in the 'Operating systems and browsers', which states:

"The service does not work properly with Macs or other Unix-based systems even though you may be able to input information.

Benefit cap does not lower unemployment

Wed, 01/05/2013 - 14:29 -- nick

The benefit cap has no impact on rates of unemployment, according to those organisations involved in piloting it.

Haringey council, one of four local authorities to help test the cap, dismissed suggestions that it had changed behaviour, and criticised the government for the way it used statistics to suggest it had.

The council's Phil Harris, deputy director for community housing services, speaking at the Chartered Institute of Housing's London conference this week, said "We saw about 109 residents find work – and a similar number lost it during the pilot scheme.

Jobcentre staff to protest over universal credit

Mon, 29/04/2013 - 14:28 -- nick

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, which represents a number of staff in jobcentres, is to protest against the introduction of universal credit.

This new system, which combines a number of benefits into one monthly payment, managed online, has been introduced in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, today.

The PCS and staff at the Ashton-under-Lyne jobcentre are protesting at the government's 'demonising' of the unemployed and benefit claimants, believing it should prioritise job creation and support rather than universal credit.

Universal credit starts today

Mon, 29/04/2013 - 13:16 -- nick

The government has today launched its new universal credit scheme.

It is being tried out in one area first - Ashton-under-Lyne in Greater Manchester - but will be extended to the whole country from October 2013.

Universal credit replaces a range of benefits, including income-based jobseeker's allowance, income-related employment and support allowance, income support, child tax credit, working tax credit, and housing benefit.

Nearly six million people will receive the new payment.

Jobcentre staff not telling unemployed about crisis loans

Mon, 22/04/2013 - 12:36 -- nick

A number of councils have accused Jobcentre staff of not telling unemployed people of the availability of crisis loans.

The loans can be requested by claimants to tide them over until their first benefit payment, but some Jobcentres are referring them to council-run foodbanks instead.

Newcastle City Council claimed that between 80% and 90% of the calls received by its foodbank were from benefit claimants who needed crisis loans but had not been told about them.

An ex-prisoner's wrestle with the benefits system

Thu, 18/04/2013 - 12:19 -- nick

Stephen Gordon, an ex-prisoner who is trying to make a go of life after being released, has been interviewed for a blog in The Guardian.

It shows how damaging and impossible the benefits system can be.

Stephen's payments were stopped due to an administrative error, leaving him having to borrow money and going without food.

Anyone left hungry could be forgiven for turning to crime, and it is to Stephen's credit that he persevered and kept trying to find work.

Liam Byrne comments on today's unemployment rise

Wed, 17/04/2013 - 16:01 -- nick

Labour's work and pensions spokesman, Liam Byrne, has written a comment piece in today's Guardian on the new unemployment figures.

These show a big jump in unemployment, up 70,000 in the last three months.

Byrne points out that the IMF has told the government to reign in its austerity programme in the interests of promoting economic growth, a position supported by UnemployedNet.

Big rise in UK unemployment - up 70,000 in three months

Wed, 17/04/2013 - 14:23 -- nick

Unemployment in the UK rose by 70,000 to 2.56 million in the three months to the end of February, latest figures have revealed.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) also showed that, after a long period of rising employment, 2,000 fewer people were in work than in the previous three months.

There was better news in the number claiming Jobseeker's Allowance; this was down by 7,000 to 1.53 million.

The proportion of unemployed people is now 7.9%, up 0.2%.



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