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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2011): Social security - UK

Coalition shelves plan to cut benefits for problem drug users

A. Travis

The Guardian, Dec. 9th 2010, p. 20

Plans for an 'abstinence-based' drug strategy and cuts in benefits for problem drug users who refuse treatment, both championed by the welfare secretary Iain Duncan Smith and the Tory right, have been shelved.

Families fear falling deeper into poverty

G. Jozwiak

Children and Young People Now, Nov. 23rd-29th 2010, p. 12-13

The Department for Work and Pensions' 2010 Welfare Reform White Paper proposes the introduction of a single universal benefit and threatens to impose sanctions on unemployed people who fail to co-operate with employment services. There are concerns that the plans for moving people off welfare and into work will fail due to a lack of suitable jobs and that workfare schemes may do more harm than good by stigmatising and demotivating participants.

Medical tests for disability claimants

R. Ramesh

The Guardian, Dec. 7th 2010, p. 12

All three million disabled people in the UK, including pensioners and children, who receive allowances will be forced to undergo periodic medical tests to justify the payments, under proposals outlined yesterday by ministers. Included in the proposal is an ending of the automatic right to a living allowance - worth up to 70 a week for care and up to 50 a week for mobility. Instead, claimants will have to wait for a year for the new 'personal independence payment' and then submit to a series of tests focusing on the individual's ability to carry out a range of activities necessary to everyday life.

Number of young on dole has quadrupled

A. Jones

The Independent, Dec. 3rd 2010, p. 30

The number of 16 to 24 year olds claiming unemployment benefit for more than 12 months has increased four fold since the recession, a report by the Prince's Trust has found. The number of young people claiming jobseeker's allowance has jumped from 5,840 in 2008 to 25,800 in 2010.

Social security advisers warn against housing benefit changes

R. Ramesh

The Guardian, Dec. 1st 2010, p. 18

The government's own social security advisers warned ministers no to go ahead with housing benefit reforms that risked increasing levels of homelessness and crime and would seriously disrupt poor children's schooling, reports released on the day that proposals became law have revealed.

Sympathy for those on benefits is lowest since Thatcher's time

O. Wright

The Independent, Dec. 13th 2010, p. 7

The public are now less sympathetic towards people on benefits than at any time since Margaret Thatcher left office, according to figures released in the British Social Attitudes Report by the National Centre for Social Research. Only 27% of those interviewed believed more should be spent by the government on benefits, while only half believed the state should provide a 'decent standard of living for everyone'.

(See also The Guardian, Dec. 13th 2010, p. 11)

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