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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2002): Social Security - UK

BROWN ALLY IS PUT IN CHARGE OF BENEFIT REFORMS

B Russell

Independent, May 30th, 2002, p.8

Profiles Andrew Smith, the newly appointed Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

HOUSING BENEFIT REFORM: NEXT STEPS

P Kemp, S Wilcox and D Rhodes

York: York Publishing Services, 2002

Report explores options for reforms to restructure and simplify the current Housing Benefit scheme. Proposes a simplified "shopping incentive" system to reduce the shortfalls between actual rent and Housing Benefit that result from rent restrictions. Also outlines two approaches to rationalise the relationship between the new Child and Working Tax Credits and Housing Benefit. Both of these would minimise the overlap between these schemes and reduce the number of households subject to a severe poverty trap. Finally proposes including low-income home-owner households in a restructured tax credit and Housing Benefit scheme that would remove the unemployment trap that can leave them worse off in work.

MINISTERS 'MISSED CHANCE TO REFORM HOUSING BENEFIT'

N Timmins

Financial Times, June 10th 2002, p.4

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the government has missed a big opportunity for radical reform of housing benefit. By leaving any changes to the £11bn a year benefit to the end of its programme of welfare reform, ministers are now likely to face either a very costly set of changes, or ones which create large numbers of low-income losers.

A POORLY UNDERSTOOD CONDITION: DISABILITY LIVING ALLOWANCE AND PEOPLE WITH CFS/ME

C Hammond

Social Policy and Administration, vol. 36, 2002, p.254-274

The history, epidemiology, aetiology and treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) remain controversial. Research explores the difficulties patients with CFS/ME have in accessing social security benefits to which they are in theory entitled. Quantitative data from government sources are combined with qualitative data obtained from benefits advisers and claimants and non-claimants of Disability Living Allowance with CFS/ME.

WILL SHOPPING INCENTIVES EMPOWER TENANTS?

P King and G Fimister

Roof, July/August 2002, p.12-13

Authors debate the advantages and disadvantages of a flat rate housing allowance to replace housing benefit. This is currently linked to actual rents in the case of housing association tenants and local reference rents in the case of private tenants. The idea of shopping incentives is that income support should be increased by a flat rate amount to represent a proportion of housing costs. Housing benefit would be restricted to a fixed percentage of the rent.

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