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

Courts to dock benefits under coalition plans

P. Wintour

The Guardian, Sept. 8th 2011, p. 1

Magistrates and crown court judges could be asked to dock the benefits of convicted criminals under preliminary proposals being drawn up by the government in response to the August 2011 riots. Ministers are looking hard at how benefits, or tax credits, could be taken away to show criminals that privileges provided by the state can be temporarily withdrawn. Under the proposals anyone convicted of a crime could be punished once rather than potentially facing separate fines - first by a magistrates court and then a benefit office. By giving powers to the courts to strip benefits, the Department of Work and Pensions would not be required to intervene in the criminal justice system. Sources indicate that a vast array of punitive options are being examined as Whitehall races to meet an October deadline to publish its post-riot response.

Families of 100,000 disabled children have benefits halved

M. Savage

The Times, Aug. 5th 2011, p. 8

'Charities demand Commons debate on reforms'. David Cameron faced the first major challenge to the Coalition Government's plan to streamline Britain's benefits system after it emerged that the families of 100,000 disabled children stood to lose thousands of pounds a year.

The impact of Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance : findings from exploratory qualitative research

A. Corden and others

Department for Work and Pensions, 2010 (Research report; no.649)

This research aimed to investigate how disability living allowance (DLA) and attendance allowance (AA) are used by recipients; to increase understanding of the difference these benefits made to the lives of recipients; and to contribute towards further research. For adults, it emerged that DLA and AA are used to pay for services and items, often to promote independent living and prevent moves into residential or nursing homes. For children, DLA is used to enhance future life chances, by, for example, paying for additional tuition, and is sometimes also used to provide additional support to family life, by, for instance, enabling parents to access paid employment.

URL: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rports2009-2010/rrep649.pdf

Learn English to get a job or lose benefits, says Cameron

A. Porter

Daily Telegraph, Sept. 14th 2011, p. 10

There is concern that an increasing number of people cannot find work because of their poor command of English. Under new rules, Jobcentre advisers will be able to order such people to attend English language courses. If they refuse to attend the classes, they could have their benefits stopped.

(See also The Independent, Sept. 14th 2011, p. 18)

Osborne is warned of welfare reform disaster

J. Kirkup

Daily Telegraph, Sept. 26th 2011, p. 1

This article reports that plans to simplify the benefits system by introducing a single Universal Credit to replace Income Support, Jobseekers' Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit have been moved to the top of the Treasury's list of projects that could fail and threaten the Coalition. Concerns centre on the ability of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which will have a central role in delivering the new credit, to meet its deadlines. Universal Credit will rely on up-to-date information on earnings, to be provided by a new HMRC computer system. It is feared that this will not be ready in time for a 2013 launch.

(For risk of failure due to staff cuts, see Daily Telegraph, Sept. 27th 2011, p. 2)

Thousands more young people claim jobless cash

Anon

Daily Telegraph, Aug. 26th 2011, p. 8

Official data collated by Barnardo's show that the number of young people aged 18 to 24 claiming Jobseeker's Allowance rose by almost 40,000 to 408,000 between November 2010 and February 2011. High numbers of young people in blackspots such as London and the North East are trapped in worklessness and poverty.

Some Asians 'have children for benefits'

J. Bingham

Daily Telegraph, Sept. 15th 2011, p. 19

Baroness Flather has claimed that Pakistani and Bangladeshi parents have large families deliberately in order to milk the benefits system. She argued that the subject was not discussed due to 'political correctness'. The Bangladesh Welfare Association responded that families were now becoming smaller.

Top 10 housing benefit changes

G. Vaux

Community Care, Sept. 15th 2011, p. 26-27

This article explains the impact of recent and proposed housing benefit changes on social care clients and departments.

Tories ready to rethink big cuts in child benefit

S. Coates

The Times, Sept. 30th 2011, p. 1 and 5

Controversial plans to remove child benefit from high earners (households where at least one adult earns more than 42,475) from January 2013 could be watered down amid coalition concerns about stripping more than a million families of 1,000 a year.

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