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

Advisory body attacks decision to replace DLA

D. Brindle

The Guardian, Feb. 24th 2011, p. 8

Government's plans to overhaul disability benefits have come under fire from its own official advisory body. The statutory social security committee is questioning the motives for the proposed replacement of disability living allowance (DLA) paid to almost 3 million people to help cover extra costs arising from their conditions. It is also opposing outright the separate move to withdraw the DLA entitlement from people living in care homes who currently receive it to help with transport costs.

Back to the future: child poverty in a time of austerity

A. Garnham

Working Brief, Dec./Jan. 2011, p.10-11

The coalition government has stated many times its commitment to ending child poverty. Unfortunately the draconian 18bn in benefits cuts announced in the June 2010 budget and the subsequent Comprehensive Spending Review will impact most severely on vulnerable families and will force many back into poverty.

Doing the unthinkable

C. Callanan

Community Living, vol. 24, no. 2, 2010, p. 6-7

The author presents an overview of major changes to welfare benefits announced in the 2010 Emergency budget and the following Spending Review.

Disability grant cut: a life and death issue

R. Ramesh

The Guardian, Feb. 11th 2011, p. 12

The government has remained unmoved by criticism from disabled groups, saying it wants everybody receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to be re-assessed. As the consultation launched in December 2010 comes to an end this week, ministers appear to be preparing a crackdown on disability payments, likely to be one of the most contentious of the government's welfare reforms.

Fitness tests show millions are fit to work

A. Porter

Daily Telegraph, Feb. 11th 2011, p. 2

New eligibility tests for Incapacity Benefit and Employment and Support Allowance have been piloted in Aberdeen and Burnley. Of almost 1,400 claimants assessed, only 422 (30%) were found to be in need of unconditional state support on grounds of disability. The others were deemed fit to work either full or part-time. If the results are repeated nationally, 1.8m (70%) of Incapacity Benefit claimants could be told to find jobs.

In defence of marriage

R. Bennett

The Times, Feb. 8th 2011, p. 4

Iain Duncan Smith is to mark Marriage Week by defending marriage. He wants his fellow ministers to do more to support couples. About 30 million is to be invested in relationship support through charities such as Relate. He will highlight research showing that the majority of people out of work think that unemployed people are better off living apart than as a couple.

'It's a mess': benefits test that clears terminally ill for work

A. Gentleman

The Guardian, Feb. 23rd 2011, p. 1

One of the architects of the new sickness benefits system has warned it would be a mistake to introduce it nationwide from the end of February 2011 because of serious ongoing problems with the medical tests designed to assess whether claimants are genuinely sick or disabled. During the preliminary roll-out of the test, people with terminal cancer, multiple sclerosis and serious mental illness have been found fit for work.

Learning disability groups speak out against spending review cuts

D. Parton

Learning Disability Today, Dec. 2010, p. 10-11

Learning disability organisations have reacted with dismay to the welfare benefit cuts announced in the 2010 comprehensive spending review, saying that they could lead to an increase in poverty. There is particular concern about the impact of taking disabled people off the Employment and Support Allowance after one year, despite a lack of employment opportunities, and the negative effects of removing the mobility element of the Disability Living Allowance from people in residential care. This will effectively trap many people in their care homes as they will not be able to afford to go out.

Lone parent obligations: destinations for lone parents after Income Support eligibility ends

J. Casebourne and others

Department for Work and Pensions, 2010 (Research report; no. 710)

This report presents findings on the destinations of, and journeys experienced by, lone parents after their youngest child reaches the age of 12 and they are no longer entitled to income support simply on the grounds of being a lone parent. It looks at the effect on them of any change in benefit entitlement/conditionality and the services they receive. The findings are based on qualitative fieldwork in five case-study areas and cover the experiences of lone parents in work, on Jobseekers' Allowance, and on Employment and Support Allowance for those with health problems.

URL: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rports2009-2010/rrep710.pdf

Universal Credit: wanted, a clearer idea of impact

A. Tarr

Working Brief, Dec./Jan. 2011, p. 6-7

The White Paper Universal Credit: Welfare that Works outlines coalition government ambitions to integrate in and out of work support to create a radically simplified system that addresses the problems of work disincentives created by high marginal deduction rates. This article calls for an impact assessment that breaks down exactly which households will be worse off under the new system and by how much.

Welfare Reform Bill

London: TSO, 2011 (Bill 154 2010-11)

The Bill sweeps away a range of benefits and replaces them with a simple Universal Credit. Anyone claiming this for more than 12 months will be put on the Work Programme, getting intensive help to find a job. Under the Universal Credit system, stay-at-home mothers whose partners work less than three days per week will face the same conditions as single parents currently claiming Job Seeker's Allowance and will face benefits cuts if they refuse work. The Bill also creates a cap on how much any family can receive in social security payments. No household will be able to claim more than 500.00 per week, regardless of how many members the family has. No individual with savings of over 16,000 will be entitled to Universal Credit payments. Finally, claimants will face fines of 50.00 for making errors in completing benefits forms.

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