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

The Additional Paternity Leave Regulations 2010: a new dawn or more ‘sound-bite’ legislation?

M. Weldon-Johns

Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, vol.33, 2011, p. 25-38

This paper focuses on the enactment of the Additional Paternity Leave Regulations 2010 which came into force on 3rd April 2011. While this legislation may be presented as a new dawn for work-family rights, providing families with the opportunity for greater control over how rights are used and by whom, it may in reality offer little of substance to the majority of working families. Not unlike the earlier right to request flexible working, they do not provide working fathers with the specific right to take childcare leave. This article considers the impact of the new right on the current package of rights by first examining the inadequacies within it. Comparisons are then drawn with the right to parental leave as currently provided in the UK, and alternative gender-neutral models adopted in Sweden and the USA.

Benefit cap will hit single mothers and minorities

N. Morris

The Independent, Aug. 4th 2011, p. 6

Analysis by the Department for Work and Pensions calculated that those to be hit hardest by benefit caps would be single parents (60 per cent), and people from ethnic minorities (30 per cent). Critics of the plan said it would increase poverty and that they would try to defeat it in the Lords.

The implications of the changes to housing benefit

R. Harding

Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, vol.19, 2011, p. 175-179

In the June 2010 emergency budget, and the later Comprehensive Spending Review, the coalition government announced a series of sweeping changes to Housing Benefit, to both cut spending and create a Universal Credit, combining many out-of-work benefits. This paper examines the likely direct impacts of these changes, especially on more vulnerable claimants, with a particular focus on the implications for concentrations of poverty.

Social protection

I. Macrory

Office for National Statistics, 2011 (Social trends; 41) This study found that, after adjusting for inflation over the past 30 years, public spending on benefits including pensions had risen by 128% from £72bn in 1980 to £165bn in 2010. Over the past decade, hostility to the benefits system rose significantly. More than half of adults now believe that the welfare system is too generous and that cutting payments would make people learn to stand on their own two feet. The proportion of adults backing this view rose from 38% in 1999 to 53% in 2009. The number of adults who supported spending more on welfare benefits for the poor, even if it meant higher taxes, was found to have fallen from 40% in 1999 to 27% in 2009. There was also a small rise over the same decade in the number of people believing that the welfare state encourages people to stop helping each other.

(For summary see Daily Telegraph, July 29th 2011, p. 2)

Towards a system of universal benefits

C. Callanan

Community Living, vol. 24, no.4, 2011, p. 10-11

The Universal Credit forms part of the Welfare Reform Bill 2011 and will become the main benefit for people of working age on a low income from October 2013. This includes those with an illness or disability who are unable to work, those who are unemployed and seeking work, and those who are working in an unpaid job. It is intended to replace: income-related employment and support allowance, income-based job seekers’ allowance, income support, child tax credit, working tax credit, housing benefit and social fund budgeting loans. This article explains in more detail how the benefit will work for people with disabilities.

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