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Welfare Reform on the Web (December 2008): Social security - UK

Everyone can benefit

R. Jones

Public Finance, Oct. 17th-23rd 2008, p. 18

There is a political consensus that older and disabled people should be given control over the money they need to purchase the assistance they require to live independently. The author proposes that the money should be distributed via the social security benefits system already in place. The cash currently held in local councils' adult social services budgets could be aggregated into a national fund, integrated with disability benefits, and allocated to elderly and disabled applicants using nationally determined criteria.

Pre-Budget Report 2008: Facing global challenges: supporting people through difficult times

London: TSO, 2008 (Cm 7484 )

From a social protection point of view, the Pre-budget Report offers:

  • A package of measures to help struggling home owners. Repossession by mortgage lenders is to be used as a last resort, and from April 2009 people who lose their jobs will be able to claim income support to cover mortgage interest payments after 13 weeks instead of the current 39.
  • An increase in child benefit to 20.00 per week due in April 2009 will be brought forward to January
  • Child tax credit will rise by 75.00 more than average earnings , bringing forward a 25.00 rise that had been due in 2010.
  • Pensioners will receive a one-off gift of 60.00 as well as increases in pension credits and the basic state pension.
  • 1.3bn will be invested in a package of measures to help redundant workers back into jobs. Jobcentres and the Rapid Response Service, which helps people write CVs and identify their key skills and training requirements will be expanded. Firms will work with Jobcentres to fill vacancies from the ranks of the unemployed under an expansion of Local Employment Partnerships.
  • There will be a rise in the cost of voluntarily buying extra NI contributions in order to qualify for a full state pension from 8.10 to 12.03 per week, which will hit full-time mothers and carers.
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