Independent, July 14th 1999, p. 6
Gordon Brown will make measures to combat child poverty the centrepiece of his next budget in an attempt to reassure Labour's traditional supporters that the government has not abandoned them. He claims that 800,000 children have been taken out of poverty by measures already introduced by the government, and promises that measures in next year's budget will take out a further 200,000 by the middle of next year.
(See also Guardian, 14th July 1999, p. 11)
Independent, July 23rd 1999, p. 8
Reports plan to extend the Working Families Tax Credit scheme to couples without children as part of the government's fight against poverty. The long-term aim is to implement an employment tax credit, paid through the wage packet, which would be available to households with and without children.
Guardian, July 20th 1999, p. 23
Reports outbreak of a row over plans by the Chancellor to spend £12m of public money on advertising the Working Families Tax Credit.
Guardian, August 5th 1999, p. 7
The government has called in management consultants Deloitte Consulting to help the Child Support Agency to claim unpaid maintenance.
(See also Independent, August 5th 1999, p. 8)
Roof, July/Aug. 1999, p. 23-24
Focuses on the reform of the present Housing Benefit system to improve service delivery. Administratively the emphasis is on creation of integrated services or "one-stop shops" for entry into the welfare system. Service delivery will also be made more responsive, with the introduction, for example, of a simple calculation to show people whether or not they will be better off in work.
T. Clark, C. Giles and J. Hall
London: Institute for Fiscal Studies, 1999
The highly complex rules of Council Tax Benefit ensure that national entitlement is effectively targeted at those most in need. But this complexity also discourages take-up, and so reduces the ability of the system to actually deliver help to many of those in need. In the short term, high (an upwardly trended) council tax rates mean that very steep increases in other means - tested benefits would be required to ensure that the abolition of local tax relief did not throw many of those facing high bills into poverty.
London Research Centre
London: Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, 1999
Reports research based on detailed case studies in six local authority areas, plus a statistical assessment of the introduction of the single reference rent and the local reference rent in 1997/98 and a snapshot of its impact at the end of May 1997. Results show that many private tenants assessed as eligible for Housing Benefit are having to meet a serious shortfall between the rent charged by their landlord and the amount housing benefit will pay. Over 40% of assessed tenants faced a shortfall of over £20.00 per week, rising in inner London to 62%. Most landlords are not prepared to reduce rents in the face of housing benefit restrictions. Many tenants are unable to find cheaper accommodation and end up struggling to meet the rent shortfall from their remaining income.
Guardian, July 21st 1999, p. 18
Outlines government anti-poverty initiatives, including Working Families Tax Credit, Sure Start and the welfare to work initiatives.
Roof, July/Aug. 1999, p. 19-21
Predicts that Housing Benefit will be converted into a Housing Tax Credit paid to those in work through their wage packets, while those not working would get their rent paid through the benefits system as now. It is also likely that entitlements will be cut so that payments will no longer cover the full rent. This is intended to encourage tenants to shop around for cheaper accommodation.
Education and the Law, vol. 11, 1999, p. 25-41
Comments on proposed amendment to the social security regulations which would, if implemented, curtail the entitlement of most higher education students to a range of benefits. The overall aim is to eliminate rights to benefits for full-time students, who are not, for one reason or another, attending their academic institution or actively studying at the relevant time, so leaving benefit entitlements as the sole preserve of those full-time students who fall into a number of specified 'special' or 'vulnerable' categories.