Blog Archive

June 2014

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    Impact of welfare reforms ignored in new UK child poverty strategy says charity

    The CPAG's chief executive Alison Garnham has said the strategy But the CPAG's chief executive Alison Garnham said the strategy lacked "clear actions, milestones and progress measures" and "ignored" projections suggesting child poverty would see the steepest rise in a generation in the coming years, reports 24dash. Garnham said: "We welcome the government's continued commitment to ending child...

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    Councils in England could face £5.8bn shortfall

    The LGA say the main causes for these funding shortfalls are said to come from the cost of elderly care taking up a growing share of council budgets, and that there is now a "once in a generation" chance to steer the social care system "away from financial ruin", reports the BBC. Ministers have said that the claims made by the LGA lacks credibility and councils have had to play their part in...

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    Report finds rough sleeping in London to have risen by 1%

    Homelessness charity St Mungo's Broadway report ‘Street to Home 2013/14' has revealed that 6,508 people have been seen rough sleeping in the capital between April 1 2013 and March 31 2014, compared to 6,437 the year before, reports Inside Housing. The findings present information from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN), commissioned by the Greater London Authority.A...

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    £1m project aimed to tackle isolation in older people

    The ‘Community Channel South West' project, which will run with Dorset County Council, Bournemouth Housing Society for the Elderly and production company RPPtv, has been chosen as one of four regional projects being partly funded by UK innovation foundation Nesta and the Technology Strategy Board, reports 24dash. CarelineUK plans to use existing community services and state-of-the-art IT...

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    Patients at risk due to cuts in mental health services

    The British Medical Association's annual meeting has been told that mental health services are in a critical state due to significant cuts. In the past three years mental health services across England have had to cut beds by 9% with one trust spending thousands of pounds putting patients up in bed and breakfast accommodation, due to no beds being available, reports the Guardian.Dr Andrew...

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    Review of bedroom tax to be published by the summer recess

    The welfare minister was quizzed by Baroness Quinn in the House of Lords in October last year and he said the report would published by the spring, reports Inside Housing. A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions has said that the timeline for the report would be published ‘in due course'.Lord Freud added that there will be a full report in 2015, when asked about whether the...

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    Significant rise in homelessness in parts of Devon

    Figures released by local authorities across the county have revealed a large rise in the number of people seeking emergency housing help, reports the BBC.Plymouth alone saw the figure treble in just the past year.John Hamblin, of Devon homeless charity Shenikah Mission, says economic hardship is behind the increase and the region runs the risk of creating a class of "working poor".In 2011, there...

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    Affordable housing funding plans announced by housing minister

    Speaking at the Chartered Institute of Housing conference, Mr Hopkins announced that from 1st July housing associations building affordable homes using grants will receive 75% of the grand up front and 25% at completion, reports Inside Housing.  After 31 March 2015, it will go back to the 50/50 split. He said: "This will increase until 31 March 2015 for Communities and Local Government...

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    Homeless figures in headlines are hiding the increasing number of people suffering - says CIH

    The CIH's analysis shows that although the number of people labelled homeless in England has remained stable over the past year the number of people who are sleeping rough or living in temporary accommodation have increased, alongside the number of repossessions by landlords, reports 24dash.According to the latest government figures 52,260 people were accepted as homeless during the 2013/14...

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    Tenants with vulnerabilities at risk over Care Act

    Research by Inside Housing has found that thousands of people with vulnerabilities are at risk of losing support under new care legislation that was passed last month. The Care Act requires councils to fund care for adults in ‘substantial' and ‘critical' care need from 2015, but not for those in ‘moderate' or ‘low' need. This has lead housing associations to warn that more strain would be...

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    Universal Credit ‘reset' does not put policy in jeopardy - Lord Freud

    Last month the Major Projects Authority revealed that the government's reform of the benefits system had been ‘reset', however there had been little clarity about what that actually meant, reports 24dash.Lord Freud has said that the decision to "reorganise" universal credit had been taken by Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary who preferred to take a step back rather than...

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    Charity says older people need ‘financial MOTs'

    A report by the charity, titled ‘Financial Resilience in Later Life,' argues that frequent financial check-ups are critical to help older people cope with retirement periods which could span to around 30 to 40 years, reports the Telegraph. Within the report the say that instead of a singular "plan" for retirement, retirees' financial planning should concentrate on building up resilience to...

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    1,400 empty homes back in use due to council tax exemption removal

    In 2013/14 Birmingham generated £777,000 of additional charges via the empty property premium, reports 24dash.By bringing the properties back to use Birmingham city council will receive an extra £1.8m included in the overall New Homes Bonus of £4.6m in 2014-15.Council leader Sir Albert Bore said: "The council's dedicated empty property team exceeded the 2007-12 target by bringing 1,400...

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    15% drop in families living in temporary accommodation

    The Operation of the Homeless Persons Legislation in Scotland: 2013-14 from the Scottish Government found that in March 2013 the number of families in temporary accommodation were 2,936 - a 15 per cent drop, or 447 less, on the previous year, reports Inside Housing. Margaret Burgess, housing minister, said: "‘I am particularly pleased to see a 15 per cent decrease in households with children...

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    Mental health services in England labelled a "car crash"

    Proffessor Sue Bailey told BBC News that mental health services are "in crisis" and that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt had a basic understanding of mental health but is failing to make it a priority.A government spokesman said Mr Hunt was "proud" to have worked on the front line in "many mental health settings".Mental health services are struggling due to a rise in demand and a reduction of...

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    Report finds welfare reforms set to increase homelessness

    The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations has suggested that the combined impact of the bedroom tax, benefit sanctions and problems accessing financial assistance at times of need is leading to risks of more people losing their homes in Scotland, reports 24dash. The report highlights that tenancy sustainment is becoming increasingly difficult due to welfare reforms undermining housing...

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    Homelessness amongst private rental tenants trebles

    Recent government figures have revealed that the end of a tenancy has been the most common cause of homelessness every quarter for the past two years. Due to the long waiting list for social housing and high cost of the private rented sector, many families can become trapped, reports the BBC.Many of those affected have also seen a decline in their mental health.One landlord has said: "We are in...

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    £6m development to help people affected by the bedroom tax

    One of the UK's largest affordable housing suppliers, Home Group, has unveiled its latest development of 49 homes in Colchester. The homes have been built by Weston Homes and form part of its flagship development, Hawkins Wharf, reports 24dash.The 20 one bedroom flats and 29 two bedroom flats have been built to meet level 3 of the code for sustainable homes.     Darren Blake, Home Group head...

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    Only 46% of 27,310 homelessness applications received this year have been accepted

    Of those denied housing assistance 27% were found not to be homeless, 20% were found to be homeless but not in priority need 8% were found to be intentionally homeless and in priority need, reports 24dash.The amount of people presenting themselves as homeless in 2014's quarter 1 was 4% lower than in the corresponding quarter in 2013.    Responding to the figures, Leslie Morphy, chief...

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    Labour to pause universal credit if elected

    Shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves has said her party supported the universal credit policy in principle, and hoped to "rescue" it. She said the Department for Work and Pensions had been in "chaos" under her opposite number, Iain Duncan Smith.The universal credit systems sees six benefits merging into one single payment.In an interview with BBC One's Sunday Politics programme, Ms...

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    Cuts to mental health services affect young people

    Official figure gathered by charity Young Minds has found that over half of councils have cut or frozen budgets for child and adolescent mental health. Experts believe that early care is better for patients and value for money, however budget cuts have been call tough but necessary by the local governemnt, reports the BBC.Research has found that young adults who do not recieve any help or...

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    National Care Home Open Day

    It will see the UK's care homes welcoming the public and arranging events and activities that will help to create lasting links between care home residents and their local communities.National Care Home Open Day representative has said:"For far too long the care home sector has been marred by the negative press associated with a small number of badly run homes, and we're determined to show people...

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    Council falters in reviewing autistic man’s care plan

    According to Community Care:"The ruling was made by the Local Government Ombudsman after the man's mother complained that his physical and mental health deteriorated in the two-year period after another man, Mr Y, moved into the supported accommodation where he lived....His mother says problems began earlier and that he was portrayed as the perpetrator in safeguarding reports but was retaliating...

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    A call for 'radical reform' of welfare state

    This will contain a return to the principle that benefits should be linked more closely to contributions.The Guardian has reported that:"The Condition of Britain study by the IPPR thinktank, to be launched by party leader Ed Miliband on Thursday, will also contain proposals to devolve large amounts of power and funding out of Whitehall, including the control of housing benefit to councils, in...

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    Survey results of the abuse of autistic adults

    According to Community Care:"The charity wants the government to make it explicit in the eligibility section of the regulations that assistance can include support to prevent abuse or neglect, such as prompting or supervision to carry out tasks or checking whether an autistic person has been in a situation that could make them vulnerable to exploitation. It also says a safeguarding inquiry should...

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    Parents are calling for plastic bags to be banned from a mental health facility

    Ben Cowburn had committed suicide at Longreach House in Redruth in 2010. Three years earlier, another patient, Trenna Shaw had asphyxiated herself in the same way.The Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust said it regretted the deaths but the number of suicides at Longreach House was not up to the national average.Trenna Shaw's father, Ray Hancock said:"It was very much an instant replay. It was...

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    Government accused of failing in the literacy levels of homeless people

    Inside Housing also reports that funding for adult education is primarily accessed through the adult skills budget, which was cut from £2.71 billion in 2012/13 to £2.26 billion for 2014/15, with further cuts planned for the future.The Adults Skills Budget funding includes conditions on course completion, meaning granting places to homeless people is ‘too great a financial risk' for further...

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    New guidance on how to support older people through winter

    NICE wants doctors to identify people living in homes that are too cold and local authorites to provide insulation and heating services. They say many deaths each winter in England and Wales are preventable.Age UK has called the recommendations very positive, reports the BBC.The draft NICE guidance covers people who are vulnerable to the cold, including those over 65, people with respiratory...

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    Supported housing scheme opens in Shipston

    The scheme provides ten affordable flats with on-site support from Heart of England Mencap. They will offer local people with learning disabilities independent living in a supported environment, reports the Stratford Observer. The new housing is a partnership between Heart of England Mencap, housing provider Orbit Heart of England and Stratford District Council, with funding coming from the Home...

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    There could be a rise in the number of migrants left homeless

    Sector experts are warning that a homelessness ‘time bomb' may occur due to an increasing number of European migrants lose their ‘transitional protection' for housing benefit over the coming months, reports Inside Housing. Thousands of people are at risk of losing their housing benefit due to the governments rule changes led by work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith which will remove...

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    Liverpool accused of ‘driving homeless from benches'

    The MP tweeted that "Labour run Liverpool has arm rests across all public benches so that the homeless can't lie down". She followed that tweet saying "I don't get any council which 'thinks' like that. How do we make it really difficult for those in dire straights and in need of help?"  Along with the tweets she also attached pictures of the benches she was talking about, reports...

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    Judge questions the ‘disappearance' of Universal Credit

    Judge Robert Martin has queried whether universal credit "might prove just too impracticable to implement in full" reports 24dash.Judge Martin revealed in the Judicial Information Bulletin, that the DWP is no longer predicating that there will be any universal credit appeals between now and 2019. He states that in its April 2013 forecast the DWP expected there to be 1,355 universal credit...

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    Economic crisis is affecting people's mental health

    A study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, has found that "suicides have risen markedly", reports the BBC. Campaign groups have said that the findings reveal how important good mental health services were.The study by the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine analysed data from 24 EU countries, the US and Canada.The study said that suicides have...

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    Over 5,600 households are now claiming Universal Credit

    Statistics published by the Department for Work and Pensions has revealed the 6,550 households began claiming this new benefit in 2013/14, with 5,610 claiming by the end of March, reports Inside Housing.Universal credit combines numerous existing benefits, such a housing benefit, into one monthly payment.The statistics revealed that 70% of claimants were men and six out of ten were under 25 years...

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    Councils fear welfare reforms are fuelling a housing crisis

    Through interviews with councils, advice services and parents, alongside reviews of existing evidence, the Child Poverty Action Group's ‘Families on the Brink: Welfare Reform in London' report highlights that these key groups all share the same fear: a housing crisis that uproots families from their homes and communities, leaving a huge disruption to children's education, reports 24dash.Almost...

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    Hospital beds are blocked due to social care problems

    New research has revealed that 2 million bed days in hospitals have been wasted since 2010 due to problems in social care meaning patients are unable to be discharged. This is leaving some elderly patients are being trapped in hospital for up to thirty days whilst waiting to be transferred to a residential home, even though they're fit to leave, reports the Guardian. An estimated total of...

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    Increase in the number of renters at risk of losing their home

    Over 7,600 renters at risk of losing their home have called Shelter for advice in the last year, which is the equivalent of almost 150 callers a week, reports 24dash.Shelter has released these figures as part of its campaign to protect renters from ‘revenge evictions'.The charity's research has revealed that over 213,000 people have been served an eviction notice or have been evicted in the...

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    £65m fund to tackle homelessness

    The government says it has increased spending on preventing homelessness and "as a result homeless acceptances are lower than in 27 of the last 30 years." However,  the government's own statistics highlight that homelessness has risen by 25% since 2010 when the coalition government came into power, reports Inside Housing. This new funding will be invested across five programmes which will...

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    Cost of autism is more than cancer, strokes and heart disease, study finds

    Autism costs the UK economy £2bn a year which is more than any other medical condition and is a greater cost than cancer, strokes and heart disease combined, say an economic analysis of the condition's impact.Researchers say these high figures are because it is a life-long condition and the hope that their findings will spur policymakers into intervening more effectively and at an earlier age,...

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    Labour warns housing benefit bill will rise by £1 bn

    Rachel Reeves MP, the shadow work and pensions secretary, is set to publish data from the House of Commons library which she says could expose the additional funds that will be used to pay people in work over the next four years, reports 24dash.Reeves is set to tell the annual GMB union conference that "The cost of the government's failure to get more people earning enough to put a roof over...

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    Food bank usage up by 54% in 2013

    The demand for food banks and charitable help in the UK has increased by 54% in 2013 with twenty million meals provided.A report from Oxfam, Church Action on Poverty and the Trussell Trust has said that increased demand is coming from poor people in affluent areas including Cheltenham, Welwyn Garden City and the northern part of the Lake District. The Trussell Trust has said it was helping to...

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    CQC criticise the NHS for failing people with disabilities and young people

    The NHS's watchdog has warned that the NHS is failing people with disabilities and young people as they're being deprived of vital services, such as pain relief, when they become adults, reports the Guardian.The reports says that doctors and hospitals are leaving young people with vulnerabilities confused and stressed when they start being cared for as adults by different health professionals....

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    Charities say care changes could see thousands of people losing out

    The new regulations set out the care needs someone must have to qualify for council-funded care. Charities say the criteria will lead to many people being shut out of the care system. However Care Minister Norman Lamb has said the new system will be fairer, reports the BBC. The changes will be introduced in April 2015 and will see all local authorities in England use the same minimum guidelines...

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    Anti-homeless studs in London cause uproar

    Metal studs have been installed outside a block of flats in central London in a bid to deter rough sleepers. The installation outside of flats on Southwark Bridge Road has provoked widespread disapproval on Twitter with many users claiming homeless people are being treated like vermin, reports the Guardian. Residents have said that the studs were installed outside in the flats in the last month...

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    One tenant threatens to blow up house due to bedroom tax

    Michael Hilton told bailiffs he would detonate the property in Church, East Lancashire if they tried to enter, reports 24dash. After a three-hour-stand-off with the police he was finally arrested and police said they could smell petrol at the tenants home. The social landlord, Hyndburn Homes, has confirmed that it had taken action to repossess their tenant's home.His son said: "I knew something...

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    Derby's homeless population triples in a year

    Figures show that there were 769 individuals or families made homeless in 201-14 which is three times more than figures from 2012-13. Experts say that this is partly due to the cutting of council budgets and welfare reforms such as the bedroom tax, reports the Derby Telegraph.The council says that this homelessness issue is nationwide and that the cuts it makes are due to the government cutting...

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    Cambridgeshire mental health trust tries to save Personality Disorder Community Services

    Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust have launched a public consultation into the reorganisation of Personality Disorder Community Services in the county. In March service users took over the centre in a stand against the closure and have remained on site since, reports CambridgeNews. Cambridge County Council and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group became...

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    New powers to support domestic violence victims in Cornwall and Devon

    When violence as occurred or threatened towards a victim or their children and there are unlikely to be any criminal charges, police may authorise a Domestic Violence Protection Notice whilst the perpetrator is in custody.According to The Cornishman, the notice protects the victim from violence or a threat of violence by: 1. Prohibiting the perpetrator from evicting or excluding the victim and...

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    Welfare reforms having a large impact on young people

    The Scottish Government minister Aileen Campbell has hit out at the Conservative-led administration after it told the United Nations the changes will lift young people out of poverty. The report outlines the UK Government's "pride" in improving children's rights and its progress in trying to tackle inequality, reports The Evening Times. It states: "The strategy outlines action to raise the...

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    New project aimed to prevent homelessness

    Housing experts claim that single homeless people are often more at risk of sleeping rough due to a lack of affordable accommodation. Pennine Lancashire councils are now hoping to help by offering services to help people find accommodation, house share and give tenancy training, reports the Lancashire Telegraph. The project aims to help people aged eighteen and over, who are singled and who...

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    Large increase in the number of bedroom tax court cases

    Between June and December of last year 55% of councils and ALMOs, responding to a survey by the National Federation of ALMOS and others, had taken legal action against non-paying tenants as a result of the under-occupancy charge. In a previous survey published in June, the figure was just 2%, reports 24dash.Within the research it was revealed that 16% of social landlords had been granted an...

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    Social landlord encourages tenants to support older people

    The Regenda Group is trialling the new project in Macclesfield where they are recruiting volunteers to help people over the age of 55 and feel lonely and isolated, reports 24dash.The service, "Time2Chat" differs from similar schemes due to volunteers spending much longer with older people, with at least an hour every week. If it is successful, Regenda plan to extend the service, which is free,...

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    Third of bedroom tax-hit tenants in arrears

    The survey has been released by the National Federation of ALMOs, the Association of Retained Council Housing and the Councils with ALMOs Group found that 33.3% were in arrears, reports Inside Housing.The survey had a response from 52 arm's-length management organisations and councils with a wide geographical split. It discovered regional variations with the southwest of England experiencing the...

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    UK government's welfare reform and housing polices questioned by European Commission

    In a report titled ‘Building growth: Country-specific recommendations 2014' the commission say that universal credit and other changers to the welfare system must "deliver adequate benefits by providing clear work incentives and support services", reports 24dash.The commission also expresses concerns over "risks" posed by the UK housing market causing by the "continuing undersupply" of new...

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    Scottish Parliament committee say the government is ‘in denial' about welfare reform and food bank link

    Members of the Scottish Parliament have claimed that evidence indicates that the use of food banks has increased 400% in a year. They say that welfare changes were a "significant cause" of the rise in demand.The Scottish Parliament's welfare reform committee has taken evidence from food bank providers, which include the Trussell Trust and aid charities including Oxfam Scotland and the British Red...

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    Welfare reform step-by-step guide

    Glasgow City Council has launched an online toolkit which has been designed to help residents ‘fight back' against new polices, reports 24dash.Glasgow's poverty leadership panel has developed the guide and the pack is part of a city wide effort to mitigate the impact of policies by providing a step-by-step guide for claimants as they attempt to navigate the complexity of the new benefits...

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    Health and social care fund ‘needs long-term clarity' says councils

    The Local Government Association called on ministers to commit to the fund until 2020 "to avoid the care system spiralling towards a deeper crisis", reports the BBC.The government has said it's made it clear to councils that the Better Care Fund is intended to last longer than one year. The scheme aims to cut hospital admissions in England and allow more home treatment. It is also designed to...

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    High Court challenge against bedroom tax lost

    Grandparents Paul and Susan Rutherford care for their fourteen year old grandson in a specially adapted three bedroom home which includes a room used by overnight carers for the teenage. We've previously documented their story before, here. The Rutherfords argued that the third room was necessary for use by their grandson's carers and to store equipment. However Mr Justice Stuart-Smith has...

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    Mental health beds under pressure

    The Royal College of Psychiatrists questioned 576 trainees working in psychiatry across the UK. The college has said its findings suggest mental health services were approaching a "tipping point" and that the situation was "simply unacceptable", reports the BBC.The survey also found that critically unwell patients were being sent home due to a lack of beds. Ministers have said inpatient beds...

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    Older people in Liverpool can benefit from new handyman service

    This scheme began in July in 2013 when Liverpool City Council teamed up with Riverside Housing and Housing Maintenance Solutions to provide a citywide Handyperson Service. Originally it was only available for people aged 65 and over or people with a disability, reports 24dash. Residents used to have to pay £15 per hour cost for labour plus the cost of materials used however they will now only...

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    Specialist housing team for universal credit

    This team will provide a dedicated service for social landlords to contact to deal with housing specific issues, such as switching housing benefit payments back to landlords directly where a tenant is in arrears, reports Inside Housing.External affairs manager at the National Housing Federation, Daniel Klemm, has called this move an "evolution".He said: "What's happened previously that the...

Exempt Accommodation, Welfare Reform and Vulnerable Tenants Everything was extremely useful. I like to hear about the updated case law and how things are changing. Also like to hear other delegates examples and the responses to their difficulties. Support solutions are excellent. K.B- Jephson Housing Association

 

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