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Welfare Reform on the Web (September 1999): Social Security - UK

BROWN OUTLINES TAX AND BENEFIT MISSION

D. Wighton and N. Timmins
Financial Times, May 28th 1999, p. 1

The proposed reform of tax and benefits would aim to develop two strands of support, one for families with children regardless of whether they are in work or not, backed by an employment tax credit paid through the wage packet to working households. A reformed housing benefit could be paid either as part of the working families tax credit, or the integrated child credit, in a way that might not provide 100% of rent but would help low earners returning to work.

(See also Times, May 28th 1999, p 2; Independent, May 28th 1999, p 2; Guardian, May 28th 1999, p 6).

BROWN SETS HIS SIGHTS ON TAX CREDIT WRECKERS

L. Elliott and L. Ward
Guardian, June 18th 1999, p. 10

Reports that the Times have tabled Lords amendments that would in effect neuter the government's flagship anti-poverty measure, the Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC). The amendments focus on sparing small businesses with fewer than eight employees from the red tape involved in administering the tax credit, and to give lone parents the same choice as married couples as to whether the credit should be paid through their wage packet, received through a giro or paid directly into a bank account.

HOUSING TAX CREDIT PLAN IS SHELVED

A. Grice
Independent, June 29th 1999, p. 6

Confirms that proposals to change the housing benefit system will be outlined in a Green Paper later this year. The benefit is likely to be converted into a tax credit to boost the incentives for the jobless to find work. A key aim will be to give tenants a financial incentive to move to smaller accommodation when they can. The present 'blank cheque' approach under which tenants on benefit have all their rent paid has given rise to widespread fraud and allowed costs to spiral.

(See also Times, June 29th 1999, p. 12).

PILOT PLAN TO GET PEOPLE WORKING

N. Timmins
Financial Times, June 29th 1999, p. 11

Announces the launch of the first pilot of the Single Gateway scheme, under which a claimant need visit only one personal adviser for details of job vacancies, benefit entitlements, education and training opportunities and availability of childcare. From next year, assuming legislation is passed, attending an interview with a personal adviser will become a condition of receiving benefit.

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