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

Balls: families lose on 'black Wednesday'

P. Curtis and L. Elliott

The Guardian, Apr. 6th 2011, p. 6

Working families face losing up to 1,560 a year from 6 April 2011 under the government's new tax and benefits regime, the shadow chancellor Ed Balls has claimed. Among the measures coming into effect are: tax threshold increases, freeze to working tax credits and reductions of the rate of childcare allowance in the working tax credit from 80 to 70% of the total cost. The claims are backed by the independent Institute of Fiscal Studies which said that the poorest households would lose 2% of their incomes as a result of the changes.

Budget 2011: the impact on low to middle earners

M. Whittaker

Resolution Foundation

Having laid out detailed plans for public spending and taxes last year, the Chancellor unveiled relatively little that was new from the household perspective in his latest Budget. However, many of the pre-announced measures are only now coming into effect, with significant consequences for millions of low-to-middle earners. Of equal importance is the acknowledgement in the Budget that the economy remains very weak, with higher inflation and lower growth than previously expected, meaning that prices will continue to rise more quickly than earnings in 2011 and 2012. This note does four things:

  • First, it considers the pre-announced tax and benefit changes coming into force from April 2011 that are of relevance to low-to-middle earners.
  • Secondly, it provides a brief assessment of the new measures announced in Budget 2011 that are likely to have a direct impact on households in the group.
  • Thirdly, it looks at prospects for real wage growth under the macroeconomic forecasts set out in the Budget.
  • Finally, it uses a series of case studies to consider what the combination of these economic trends with planned tax and benefit changes will mean for typical low-to-middle earner households in the next two years.

Pensioners 'missing out' on 2,400 in benefits

M. Butterworth

Daily Telegraph, Apr. 27th 2011, p.2

A study by Just Retirement suggests that pensioners are missing out on as much as 2,400 per year because they do not understand the system and therefore do not claim the benefits they are entitled to. The research suggests that one in five pensioners has never claimed benefits they are entitled to, including council tax discounts and pension credits. One in four is not claiming additional state benefits that are available.

Two million could lose 'handout for life'

A. Porter

Daily Telegraph, Apr. 4th 2011, p. 1 + 2

Official figures show that almost three-quarters of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) claimants have been given indefinite awards, without any regular checks to see if their condition persists. Ministers are said to be shocked by the figures, which include more than 100,000 people who receive DLA for unspecified back pain. Ministers are planning to bring in regular checks to ensure that there are fewer indefinite awards, while new face-to-face assessments will be carried out at the start of a claim. DLA itself is to be replaced by a new Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

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