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Welfare Reform on the Web (October 2001): Social Security - UK

CHANGING FORTUNES: GEOGRAPHIC PATTERNS OF INCOME DISTRIBUTION IN THE LATE 1990S

M. Noble et al

London: Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, 2001

Both the numbers and the percentage of people claiming income support and income-based Job Seeker's Allowance in England fell between 1995 and 1998. The rate of decline was not consistent in all areas and there remained areas with very high rates of claiming in both 1995 and 1998. The fall has not been shared equally across the different groups of people that claim these benefits. The number of unemployed claimants fell most, dropping from 1.6m in 1995 to 0.9m in 1998. Falls were more modest among those aged 60 and over and among lone parent claimants. Conversely, there was a small rise in people who claimed as disabled.

CREDIT WHERE IT'S DUE

P. Gosling

Public Finance, Aug. 3rd-9th 2001, p.22-23

Examines the government's use of tax credits to lift some of the poorest people out of the poverty trap. It discusses the Working Families Tax Credit, Childcare Tax Credit and Disabled Persons Tax Credit and the future of such benefits.

ESTIMATING THE COST OF CONTACT FOR NON-RESIDENT PARENTS: A BUDGET STANDARDS APPROACH

P. Henman and K. Mitchell

Journal of Social Policy, vol.30, 2001, p.495-520

The budget standards methodology is used in this paper to estimate the costs for non-resident parents exercising regular contact with their children. Costs of contact are found to be high, due to household infrastructure and transportation. For contact with one child for 20% of the year, costs of contact represent about 40% of the costs of the same child in an intact couple household with a medium income and more than half the costs of that child in a low-income household. Findings thus show that the total cost of children increases when parents separate. Article discusses the implications of these findings for social security, taxation and child support policies.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY PLAN "PUTS BURDEN ON BUSINESS"

K. Brown

Financial Times, Aug. 17th 2001, p.4

In its formal response to the Department of Trade and Industry's package of new employment laws for working parents, the Confederation of British Industry will criticise the government's proposals on maternity leave and pay, paternity leave and adoptive parents' leave as being overly bureaucratic.

NEW TAX CREDITS: SUPPORTING FAMILIES, MAKING WORK PAY AND TACKLING POVERTY

Inland Revenue

London: 2001

A new integrated child credit for families with children and an employment tax credit for low-income working households will be introduced in 2003. Consultation document sets out how the Inland Revenue envisages these new payable tax credits working and seeks views on some of the more detailed issues.

SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD ACT 2001: CODE OF PRACTICE ON OBTAINING INFORMATION

Department for Work and Pensions

[London]: 2001

The Social Security Fraud Act 2001 introduced powers for authorised Department of Work and Pensions and local authority officers to obtain information from organisations such as banks about their customers, in order to combat benefit fraud. This draft code of practice governs the use of these powers.

A WINTER'S TALE

D. Flynn

Health Service Journal, vol.111, Aug. 16th 2001, p.34

Describes how reception staff at GP surgeries in North Staffordshire co-operated in a project to encourage eligible people to apply for grants for insulation and heating improvements. The grants are targeted at people over 60, disabled people and young families in receipt of means tested benefits.