Government And Reforms

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    NHS BOSS SETS OUT A CASE FOR CASH BOOST

    The speech by Mr Stevens at the NHS Providers' annual conference of health managers is being made at the time when three reputable health think-thanks- the Health Foundation, the King's Fund and the Nuffield Trush- publish a joint report calling for the health sector to be given an extra £4bn in 2018.This cash boost was also promised during the EU referendum whereby it was claimed that £350m...

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    THERESA MAY PLEDGES TO REPLACE THE MENTAL HEALTH ACT 1983

    According to Ms May, the new bill would introduce the following:According to the Tories, the proposals were described as the biggest change to mental health treatment law in over 30 years.Ms May said:"On my first day in Downing Street last July, I described shortfalls in mental health services as one of the burning injustices in our country. It is abundantly clear to me that the discriminatory...

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    THE PRESENT FIRST PRIME MINISTER OF SCOTLAND IS TO PLEDGE AGAINST ANY PLANS TO PRIVATISE THE NHS

    It is also expected that Sturgeon will do the following as proof of her party's commitment to fighting against further austerity:Sturgeon said this before Tuesday's manifesto launch:"While the polls have narrowed, the Tories are still on course to win the election."Labour proved beyond any doubt that they were unable to provide the opposition needed to keep the Tories in check in the last...

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    402 MILLION POUNDS WILL BE INVESTED IN COUNCILS WITH THE GREATEST HOMELESSNESS DEMAND FROM APRIL 2017

    Presently, funding is only used for homeless households and not for the prevention of homelessness in the first instance.The funding by the Department for Communities and Local Government is set to perform the following functions:The allocations would be as follows:In a written statement to parliament, Marcus Jones, the homelessness minister, said the funding has been allocated based on "the...

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    RULES AROUND PERSONAL INDEPENDENCE PAYMENTS MAY CHANGE ON THURSDAY

    Ministers have advised chief executives of over 30 charities which claimed that people will be left without vital financial support, to restrict access to a disability benefit.The Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) said about 160,000 people who have received Personal Independence Payments would be affected if the changes go on.Phil Reynolds, the consortium co-chairman which is made up of...

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    THE GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN URGED BY THE BMA TO INCREASE HEALTH SPENDING BY 10 BILLION POUNDS

    This increase in health spending to a proportion of GDP that matched that of the 10 leading economies across Europe could pay for at least 35,000 extra beds a day and many more GP's, according to the union of doctors.This call for investment also comes at a time when the NHS is feeling the strain amid rising demand, staff shortages and pressure on its finances.The Guardian stated the following...

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    MANY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE REFUGES AT RISK OF CLOSING DUE TO HOUSING BENEFIT CAP

    Women who have been victims of domestic violence as well as their children are at risk of falling into the hands of their violent partners if the government caps housing benefit in the social sector at the same levels paid to private landlords. This would adversely affect the finances of refuges.Women's Aid- affiliated refuges conducted a survey on refuges which showed the following:The chief...

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    Data on disability benefits refused by DWP

    DWP officials have refused a second request for basic information on disability benefits using the “Section 22” exemption they used previously, reports The Independent.The Department had been asked under the Freedom of Information Act to disclose how many Disability Living Allowance claimants had been made worse off after being moved onto the new Personal Independence Payment benefit. The...

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    UN to investigate how welfare reforms will affect disability rights

    A disability charity in Scotland has said it’s been contacted by the UN’s Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as part of an inquiry into Britain’s treatment of people with disabilities, reports RT.Inclusion Scotland’s Director of Policy Bill Scott said: “The UN have notified us they will be visiting Britain to investigate … and want to meet with us when they come,...

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    Benefit cuts affecting 48,500 families in Liverpool

    Analysis from Liverpool City Council has found that around 48,500 households are likely to lose their benefits due to new government reforms, reports the Liverpool Echo. Councillor Jane Corbett has said that a rising number of people are being hit by a range of benefit cuts whilst the local authority is seeing its budget also reduced.The city council also says it is estimated some 850 families...

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    Suicide guidance given to DWP staff ahead of welfare reforms

    Workers at the DWP have been given a six-point plan on how to deal with people who are denied benefits and are feeling suicidal, reports the Independent.Call centre staff have been instructed to allow rejected claimants for universal credit to talk about their intentions to end their lives.A DWP spokesman did not deny that the guidance had been handed out, and said: “Our frontline Jobcentre...

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    Greater Manchester council have paid £4.8m in DHP due to bedroom tax

    Figures from the DWP have found a 16% increase in the use of DHP in Greater Manchester due to the bedroom tax, reports the Manchester Evening News.The £4.8m total was an overspend of £1.3m.Across the country, local authorities made discretionary housing payments of £100.8m in 2014/15 in order to cover the costs created by the bedroom tax, considerably higher than the £60m allocated.What do...

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    YMCA chief in Burton expresses concerns over housing benefit cuts

    Across the UK over 19,000 young people are claiming unemployment and housing benefits, and charity bosses are concerned that new cuts will remove “vital support” from those who are most vulnerable, reports The Burton Mail.Paul Laffey, chief executive at Burton YMCA said: "We house and support 52 young people, many of whom claim both jobseeker's allowance and housing benefit. These young...

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    AMs urge the Welsh government to support tenants hit by bedroom tax

    AMs wants Welsh ministers to follow the lead of the Scottish Government and provide more support to tenants hit by the bedroom tax, reports the BBC. The Welsh government said it was providing help but could not "plug all the gaps" caused by austerity measures.A report by the assembly’s public accounts committee has called on the Welsh government to take a more leading role in helping tenants,...

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    Bedroom tax ruling brings concern to separated families

    An upper tier tribunal judge has said that a previous lower tribunal decision ruling in favour of a grandfather whose grandson lives with him part time, has made an “error of law”, reports Inside Housing.The tenant had his housing benefit reduced by 25% due to being judged as having two spare bedrooms. Last year a lower tier tribunal ruled that this should be reduced to 14% due to the fact...

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    Concerns for homecare over national living wage

    In a letter to chancellor George Osborne the UK HomeCare Association, that support 880,000 older people with disabilities has warned that the costs of the “national living wage” could trigger a “catastrophic failure” in the homecare market, reports the Guardian.Their concern is that lack of increased funding will mean that businesses will go bust after increasing staff costs to that of...

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    £100m spent by councils helping people hit by the bedroom tax

    Councils spent £100.8m in discretionary housing payments to help people affected by the bedroom tax, reports the Mirror. This is a 24.7% rise than the previous year in England, with Scotland seeing an 80% rise in DHP.The allocated funding for DHP was £60m, meaning councils ended up spending an extra £40m.What do you think of this? Tweet us your comments @suppsolutions...

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    Two major bedroom tax rulings granted permission to appeal

    The Court of Appeals has ruled that the appeal of a domestic violence victim and the grandparents of a child with disabilities should be heard in court, reports Inside Housing.One lady living in a domestic abuse “sanctuary scheme” lost her bedroom tax challenge in February and had her housing benefit deducted due to the council deeming her panic room as a “spare bedroom.”The other cases...

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    “Poor families” will be excluded from large parts of England due to benefit caps

    Research has found that families who are unemployed will not be able to afford to live in large areas of the country due to the benefit which threatens at least 100,000 households with poverty and homelessness, reports the Guardian.Data from housing charity Shelter has found that plans to reduce the cap to £20,000 (£385 a week), or £23,000 (£442) in London, would mean that large parts of the...

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    Living wage could cost councils up to £1bn by 2020

    The Local Government Association has said that currently 93,000 council staff earn less than the living wage proposed by Chancellor George Osborne, reports the BBC.The LGA have said that the cost of implementing the living wage policy should be taken into account when council funding levels are set in the future.LGA analysis shows that 95% of government workforces already earn more than the...

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    Benefit changes due to welfare budget cuts

    One of the ways the government plan to reduce welfare spending is by limiting Universal Credit and first time tax credits to the first two children in families only reports the BBC.Currently 870,000 families with more than two children are claiming tax credits; however any family that has a third or subsequent child after April 2017 will not be able to qualify for Child Tax Credit. The same will...

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    Report finds women in Scotland hit hardest by benefits cuts

    A report by Holyrood’s Welfare Reform committee has said that the welfare reforms are having a disproportionate impact on women, reports the BBC.The DWP have said that there were a record number of women in work in Scotland.Scottish welfare minister Margaret Burgess said the Scottish government was working to help those affected.Committee Convener Michael McMahon, a Labour MSP, said: "The...

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    Welfare cut probe launched

    After the chancellor George Osborne reveals new welfare spending cuts the Homes and Communites Agency will begin to seek to work out which types of social landlords will be affected by the cuts, reports Inside Housing.The HCA will be using data it already possess to conduct a review and contact landlords they believe will be vulnerable in order to seek assurance that they are able to cope with...

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    Thinktank concerned that families are likely to be unfairly hit by welfare cuts

    In a speech the prime minister said that the UK should pay out less in tax credits, and suggests companies should offer higher salaries instead, reports the Guardian.Mark Littlewood, director general of the IEA, supported the need for making savings in the welfare budget but said the composition of the cuts “looks set to be extremely unfair on the working-age population. Whilst important for...

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    Bedroom tax affecting people’s ability to pay rent in Wigan

    An impact of the controversial bedroom tax has been found in a report by the council, reports Wigan Today. Local authority officers have calculated more than 1,400 under occupying social housing tenants in the borough are now in rent arrears. In a report submitted to the Confident Council Scrutiny Committee this week, it was revealed that 3,319 households are classified as “under-occupying”...

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    Welfare cuts see housing benefits targeted

    The Institute for Fiscal Studies has said that in order to protect child benefits housing benefits, tax credits and disability benefits would “most likely” take the biggest hit, reports 24dash.Carl Emmerson, IFS deputy director, explained: "One area where the Conservatives’ manifesto commits to make cuts is in social security spending (outside of protected spending on state pensions and...

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    Report finds benefit recipients living in fear

    A study carried out by Napier University has found that people on benefits were anxious of changes that would push them into "crisis situations" reports the BBC. Following this report Scottish Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil has urged the UK government to rethink its reforms, however as spokesman for the DWP has said these changes have been created to help people into work.The Welfare Reform...

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    Government watchdog says changes need to be made to welfare reforms

    The National Audit Office has written a report that says the DWP need to learn lessons from the mistakes it has encountered making reforms to welfare, reports Inside Housing.Criticising the DWP's strategy, the NAO said the department did not "have sufficient understanding of its portfolio of programmes or overall capacity" and begun several large reforms without understanding its ability to...

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    Figures show number of people hit by benefit cap has fallen

    Official figures published by the Department for Work and Pensions has found that 23,100 people were hit by the cap in February, which is down from 24,300 last November, reports Inside Housing.It is thought that these figures show that people are either moving to cheaper accommodation to avoid the cap or are entering employment. The figures also reveal that 35,600 people who were previously...

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    Iain Duncan Smith back in charge of welfare reforms

    Following their election win, the Conservatives have promised £12bn of welfare cuts, however not specified where there cuts will fall, reports Inside Housing.It is believed that the appointment of Iain Duncan Smith shows that it's unlikely that there will be any major change to the flagship governments policy on social security, for example universal credit and the bedroom tax.Prime minister...

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    Bedroom tax campaigners save man from eviction in Coventry

    Campaigners from Coventry Against the Bedroom Tax helped Mr Millar stay in his home after falling into rent arrears, after seeing his benefits reduced due to the bedroom tax, reports the Coventry Telegraph.Mr Millar lives in a family home which he used to share with his mother, who passed away a few years ago. He used to receive £72 a week in benefits, however due to the bedroom tax is left with...

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    Fostering services facing more pressure due to welfare reforms

    MSPs on the Welfare Reform Committee have been told of children as young as seven are needed to be placed in homes due to the lack of available foster parents, reports The Courier.Benefit changes are placing an increased pressure on families and is resulting in further demands being placed on social care and health services, the committee were told.Labour MSP Margaret McDougall asked about the...

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    19% year on year rise of food bank users

    Over a million people have had to use food banks in the last twelve months. Latest figures from the Trussell Trust, show a 19% year on year increase in food bank users and reveal that hunger, debt and poverty are continuing to affect large numbers of people, reports the Guardian. Nearly 1.1 million people received at least three days of emergency food from the trust's 445 food banks in 2014-15 -...

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    Tenants in Derby in fear of losing their homes due to benefit changes

    Derby Homes is warning tenants that payments through the new universal credit system will me made four weeks in arrears. This will mean that they will need to wait four weeks for their first payment and will now need to begin to save extra money to cover their rent for that period, reports the Derby Telegraph.Councillor Paul Bayliss has said that some tenants will be unable to afford the extra...

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    Benefit sanctions are increasing the need for food banks

    Oxford University research has found that austerity policies such as benefit cuts are increasing the need for food banks across the UK. The research shows that food banks are mainly in areas that see high levels of unemployment and benefit sanctions, reports the Guardian.Their report says "More food banks are opening in areas experiencing greater cuts in spending on local services and central...

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    Rise in court summons due to cuts in council tax support

    Research by False Economy has found that there has been an annual increase of over 500,000 court summonses in England, which is largely driven by low income working-age households who've been affected by the £490m cut to council tax support, reports 24dash.False Economy also believe that the situation is likely to worsen over the new tax year as one in seven local authorities are set to further...

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    Social housing tenants are struggling with welfare reforms

    The study has been conducted by the London School of Economics and has found that whilst some social housing tenants are "coping" with welfare reforms, others are struggling with the cuts, reports the Western Morning News. Along with struggling with the reforms, many have also found it difficult to find employment, with barriers including transport and poor health preventing them from working...

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    Welfare reform has failed to help social housing tenants into work

    It has been revealed through research by the London School of Economics that just one in six tenants had either found work or increased their hours in the last year, reports Inside Housing.The report called Is Welfare Reform Working?, looked into 200 social housing tenants in the south west of England and found that the majority of the social tenants found their links with their job centre...

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    Inquiry into the impact of welfare reforms on women in Scotland

    Currently the welfare reform committee at Holyrood are gathering evidence on the issue, reports the BBC. It has said that research is suggesting women are being "disproportionately affected" and wishes to hear experiences from people across the country.The UK government argue that the reforms are "making the welfare system affordable for the long term while supporting the living standards of...

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    Benefit sanctions review demanded by MPs

    The committee is reiterating their recommendation after it was originally rejected by the government in January, following new evidence which raises concerns over the approach being adopted in a number of individual jobcentres, reports 24dash. Dame Anne Begg MP, the committee's chair, said: "Benefit sanctions are controversial because they withhold subsistence-level benefits from people who may...

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    Disadvantaged young people hit hardest by cuts

    A parliamentary committee has found that disadvantaged young people are suffering disproportionately during austerity and their problems in accessing legal aid are a "black mark" on the government's record, reports the Guardian. The joint committee on human rights has praised the government's public commitment to the UN convention on the right of the child, they highlight failures in practice...

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    Benefits cap could be deemed unlawful by Supreme Court

    Supreme Court judges Lady Hale, Lord Kerr, Lord Reed, Lord Carnworth and Lord Hughes heard evidence last April from solicitors representing a group of mothers with pre-school aged children. All of these mothers were victims of domestic abuse and their case argued that this new benefits cap would put them at risk of becoming homeless, reports the Guardian.The lawyers argued that Iain Duncan...

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    Ban on ‘revenge evictions' passed by parliament

    The law has been passed as part of the Deregulation Bill makes any eviction invalid where the tenant has made a complaint about housing conditions when the landlord had not responded adequately, reports Inside Housing. This means that where a landlord gives notice seeking possession through a ‘Section 21 notice' following a complaint about the condition of their home, it will no longer be...

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    Study reveals that tenants hit by bedroom tax are suffering a range of health issues

    A study published in the Journal of Public Health has found that worries around debt, rent and arrears and the prospect of being moved from their family home has produces a sense of "hopelessness verging on desperation".  Tenants reported being trapped in a "vicious cycle" of loneliness and isolation, reports the Guardian. The study has concluded that the bedroom tax has "increased poverty and...

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    Tenants hit by welfare reforms see a rise in debt

    In the sixth report in a major study of northern households affected by welfare reforms, Real Life Reform, the average debt per household has increased by 55% from £2,288 to £3,554. Average weekly debt repayments have more than doubled in the same period, reports Inside Housing. The study is being produced by seven social landlords along with the Northern Housing Consortium and the University...

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    Government to further reduce the benefit cap

    In 2012, the coalition government introduced the current £26,000-a-year cap on benefits that households are entitled to. However, Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to reduce the cap to £23,000 if the party is successful, 24dash reports.According to Cameron, the £135 million in savings the government would make every year by lowering the cap would be used to create a million new...

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    The use of e-mental health services

    The experts have insisted that the use of technology in supporting people with mental health is cheap and effective, ABC reports.An innovative online service which began in Australia, Reach Out, is an online service which provides advice on issues such as mental illness, sexuality and bullying. It also provides monitored forums, and information on how to seek professional help.It has an active...

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    Welfare reform hits Welsh tenants the hardest

    In Wales, 20.4% of tenants in social housing have been affected by the bedroom tax in comparison to England (15.3%) and Scotland (19%), according to research published by the Welsh Audit Office (WAO), reports Inside Housing. An increase in poverty, debt and exclusion was also found by the WAO which links to the introduction of welfare reform measures.The report also conveys its doubt about the...

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    Charity’s new project focuses on homeless people’s health and wellbeing

    This charity provides housing and support for vulnerable people, supporting them to live independently through residential schemes and work within the community. The focal point of their work is health and wellbeing.As part of a national campaign, Trident Reach will be raising awareness and promoting healthy food and lifestyles, 24dash reports. It recently won the UK ‘Engaging Social Landlords...

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    Report on rent regulation and calls for unrestricted tenancies in the PRS

    Also, tenancies in the private rented sector (PRS) should become unlimited and unrestricted.  In a recent report, Civitas also mentioned that Ed Miliband's controversial proposals for reform of the PRS ‘do not go far enough', Inside Housing reports. It advised that the obtainability of housing benefit is creating a cycle of increased prices as landlords are able to fix ‘artificially high'...

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    Labour pushing for abolition of bedroom tax

    Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Rachel Reeves guaranteed that she would call a parliamentary vote to abolish the bedroom tax and thus, called on the Lib Dems to join her party. She stated, "It's time for them to do the right thing and vote with us to scrap the tax before Christmas."Leader of the Labour party, Ed Miliband is fully committed in getting rid of the bedroom tax policy if Labour...

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    Calls to support Drug Driving Campaign

    Pharmacies are being asked to support the campaign to help customers understand the changes to drug driving legislation which will be implemented in February 2015.Transport Minister, Robert Goodwill has encouraged pharmacies to brief their teams and display campaign materials online and via social media. He also asked for campaign posters and leaflets to be displayed in-store and on prescription...

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    London Council to invest £150m from pension scheme in social housing

    It is thought to be the first London borough to invest its pension scheme in housing. Richard Greening, chair of the Islington Council pension sub-committee stated, ‘Our analysis confirms that these assets can offer good investment returns while helping to provide the investment in homes and jobs that our economy needs'. Reports Inside Housing.Currently, the Islington pension scheme is worth...

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    Mentally ill young people will not be taken into police cells any longer

    Mental health issues consume more than 20% of police time. Theresa May, the home secretary,  announced this week that mentally ill young people will not be taken into police stations and detained in cells under reforms.The joint Home Office and Department of Health review of section 135 and 136 of the Mental Health Act will also recommend reducing the maximum length of detention of someone in...

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    Government conducts benefit scheme for homeless

    The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been running a scheme in Sussex with local housing providers including Brighton Housing Trust and Riverside, under which ‘vulnerability markers' are placed on the case files of homeless people. The scheme is an attempt to address concerns that job centre advisors are sometimes unable to recognise when claimants are homeless and need to be given...

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    MP’s urge change in benefits system to reduce food poverty

    A publication by the all-party parliamentary inquiry into hunger called for government-backed food banks that provide advice and a ‘yellow card' system to warn benefit claimants of possible sanctions.The action plan of the report is to eradicate hunger in the United Kingdom. It argued for improved responsiveness of the welfare state through more convenient/appropriate benefit payments and...

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    Alcohol Use and Misuse

    It explains drinking habits and behaviours of adult consumers aged 16 and over and also children aged 11-15years. It also further includes various other topics such as drink-related ill health, mortality, alcohol related costs and admissions to hospital. This report covers previously published information from reports such as the Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use amongst Young People in England....

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    Eviction review by council after court judgement

    The London authority have criticised the High Court judgement which found four of its staff amounted to a conspiracy to unlawfully evict a tenant. In the report, the council states that, in its view, ‘the conclusions on conspiracy and misfeasance were clearly wrong' and that ‘the trial itself was unjust', reports Inside Housing.The council have said it won't be appealing due to it being...

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    Young people are using food banks due to benefit sanctions

    New research has found that the vast majority of YMCAs in England have to refer young people to food banks in order for them to be able to eat. Over the last year 5,000 young people with vulnerabilities were referred to food banks, reports 24dash. The ‘Food for Thought' report by YMCA England shows how this situation is due to failings in the welfare system. 79% of YMCA referrals are directly...

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    People with vulnerabilities are not protected by welfare reform concessions

    Mary McManus of East Belfast Independent Advice Centre told a conference in Belfast: "It's like throwing a bucket of water at a massive fire. It's not going to help," reports the BBC.Steve Cullen, the chief executive of Warrington Citizens Advice Bureau, who are currently trailing universal credit has said there are significant problems with the system, and he does not believe it is ready for a...

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    CIH Scotland says Scotland needs power in order to ‘wipe out welfare reform'

    In a submission to Lord Robert Smith's commission on extra devolved powers for Scotland, the CIH have suggested that the country receives baseline social security system from Westminister but also has the power to top-up housing benefit with ‘Scottish-raised revenue', reports Inside Housing."All Scotland would need is a power to enhance the Westminster baseline benefit up to the level of the...

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    Changes to care services in Gloucester

    With an ageing population, an increased use of council services and continued funding cuts, Gloucestershire County Council have been thinking of ways they can save money after losing £114m since 2010, reports The Gloucester Citizen. A framework has been developed to see where savings could be potentially made. A key focus for the councils is to get people more independent, so that they do not...

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    First reading passed for bedroom tax carer bill

    Tabled by Labour MP Barbara Keeley 204 MPs voted for the ten minute rule, whilst eight voted against, reports Inside Housing. Under the proposed legislation, social tenants with an additional room will be exempt from the bedroom tax if a member of the household is entitled to carers allowance or requires overnight care.This vote means the Carers Bedroom Entitlement (Social Housing Sector)...

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    UK welfare reforms attacked by Scottish minister

    A report by the Scottish Government has looked at the impact of changes to benefit uprating implemented by the UK government since 2010/11, reports Herald Scotland. The changes will reduce welfare expenditure in Scotland by around £6 billion over the six years to 2015-16, it is claimed. Families with two children receiving child benefit will be £1,100 worse off over that period.Deputy First...

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    Proposed benefits freeze could leave claimants losing £558m

    In a manifesto pledge last week George Osborne has announced a plan to freeze working-age benefits for two years from April 2016, reports Inside Housing.Policy and practise officer at the CIH, Sam Lister, has calculated that this policy will see 1.4 million claimants lose £185m in housing benefit in 2016/17 and £373m in 2017/18.Mr Lister said: "This policy is an attack on the poor generally,...

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    Liberal Democrat members vote against removing the bedroom tax

    The party have promised to reform the policy so it will only apply to people who have turned down suitable alternative accommodation and will blanket exemptions for some people with disabilities reports Inside Housing.The amendment to remove the benefit reduction was rejected by members at the manifesto debate at the party's conference in Glasgow.Speaking against the amendment, Lord Mike German,...

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    Councils will cut emergency welfare if the government cut their funding

    Ministers have been warned that almost three quarters of local authorities will abandon or reduce welfare schemes aimed at providing emergency hep for people with vulnerabilities from next April due to government funding cuts, reports the Guardian. One in six councils has said they would be unable to afford to run a crisis safety net scheme if the government presses ahead with its plans to...

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    Welfare reforms aimed at ending youth unemployment announced by David Cameron

    Currently Jobseeker's allowance is worth £50.95 a week for people aged between 16 to 24 and £64.30 for those over the age of 25. The new reforms will see JSA replaced with a six-month allowance, after which claimants will have to do community work if they've failed to find a job or apprenticeship, reports the Guardian.Cameron said on BBC1's Andrew Marr Show: "At heart I want us effectively to...

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    Bedroom tax removal guaranteed under labour says shadow housing minister

    Whilst speaking at the National Housing Federation's conference in Birmingham the MP called the bedroom tax "cruel and iniquitous" and "worst thing the coalition government has done", reports 24dash.She said that the policy had failed in its primary objective to free up larger social homes for bigger families.She said: "To the Tories, land has become a speculative commodity rather than something...

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    Removal of local welfare funding reconsidered by the government

    Islington Council and charity Child Poverty Action Group were involved in judicial review proceedings against the decision to remove the £172m local welfare provision grant which is mostly used to support people who have short-term financial difficulties, such as benefit delays, reports Inside Housing.The crisis loans schemes and community care grants were previously administered directly by the...

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    Housing associations still at risk due to welfare reforms

    Moody's have issued a warning that says "the worst may lie ahead" for landlords when it comes to welfare reforms affecting their finances, reports Inside Housing.Moody's said that associations have proved resilient to welfare reforms, including the bedroom tax and benefit cap, to date. It said: "In general, arrears, voids and bad debts have been lower than projected in housing association...

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    MPs vote in favour of bedroom tax changes

    A private members bill would see tenants exempt from the bedroom tax if a reasonable offer of alternative accommodation has not been received. MPs voted by 3307 to 231 in favour of the bill during its second reading in the House of Commons, reports Inside Housing.Rachel Reeves, shadow work and pension's secretary described the vote as "an important victory for all those paying today." Labour will...

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    Vote date set for bedroom tax changes by Liberal Democrats

    The party is set to impose a three line whip on its MPs to vote for private members bill tabled by Andrew George. The bill will exempt people from the bedroom tax if reasonable alternative accommodation has not been offered by their landlord, reports Inside Housing. The secretary of state would also be required to review the availability of affordable homes and intermediate housing whilst...

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    40% of council tax unpaid by low-income households

    Council tax has been levied on the poorest of households in England since April last year due to a series of benefit cuts, reports the Guardian.The figures, obtained from responses from 140 councils to Freedom of Information requests by the anti-cuts group False Economy, reveal that some of the biggest towns and cities were left chasing millions of pounds from the poor.A spokesperson for False...

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    Benefit sanctions causing a rise in hunger says public health expert

    Vice president for policy at the Faculty of Public Health, John Middleton, has said that benefit delays were preventing people on low incomes from eating healthy diets and that a national healthy food policy should have greater emphasis on affordability, reports Inside Housing.Statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre have revealed that the number of people admitted to...

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    Care legislation could 'exclude' people with vulnerabilities

    In a recent article, Home Group responded to the Government's Care Act draft regulation and guidance consultation, warning that the current guidance could lead to the reintroduction of the local variations in eligibility that the Act was designed to prevent.Home Group, which provides social care services to 30,000 people each year, believes that a lack of clarity around the terms used within the...

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    Bedroom tax statistics questioned by Iain Duncan Smith

    Mr Duncan Smith said there is "no check" on the figures which are based on tenants' "self-declaration", reports Inside Housing.The figure has derived from an impact equality assessment that has been carried out by the minister's own department and has been used by Labour as a means to attack the government over the policy.In a radio interview, Mr Duncan Smith said a third of tenants are receipt...

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    Iain Duncan Smith says welfare reform must continue

    In a speech in London, Mr Duncan Smith said that changes so far had played a vital role in getting people back into employment and ending a welfare dependency culture, reports the BBC.Mr Duncan Smith also said that they needed to go further as the UK faced challenges from other countries. The idea of limiting child-related benefits to the first few children in a family had been looked at, but it...

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    Research into costs of supported housing to take place

    Civil servants at the DWP plan to commission research which will kick-start proposals that have not made much progress since 2011, reports Inside Housing. In a consultation exercises carried out three years ago plans to localise funds for supported housing raised concern amongst providers. During the consultation in 2011, the DWP suggested that supported housing could be paid for through the...

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    People struggling with bedroom tax in Wirral receive help from relief fund

    Council chiefs have said the move is aimed to help residents who're affected by the bedroom tax, reports the Liverpool Echo. Council leader Cllr Phil Davies, also councillor for Birkenhead and Tranmere, said the measure was "delivering on Wirral Labour's commitment" to fight the policy by "pushing" local social housing provider Magenta Living to create the relief fund.The fund follows a...

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    Benefit top-ups suspended as bedroom tax is draining welfare budgets in Falkirk

    Falkirk Council has moved to suspend awards of Discretionary Housing Payments to housing benefit claimants who are struggling to pay their rent but have not been affected by the bedroom tax, reports The Herald Scotland.The local authority has said that it needs over £.13m to mitigate the effects of the bedroom tax in the current financial year, as it currently only has £645,000.But Falkirk...

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    Rural communities hit hardest by bedroom tax says campaigners

    Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) is calling for the Government to remove the charge in settlements of fewer than 3,000 people as a minimum.  The charity maintains that a shortage of one and two-bedroom homes in the countryside means rural tenants have no choice but to move into towns and cities or fall into debt if they cannot make up the rent shortfall, reports Ely news.Kirsten...

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    Concern of lenders revealed in bedroom tax report

    The report states that funders feel the ‘cumulative impacts of welfare reform' could lead to ‘build-up of arrears, reduced liquidity, reduced profitability, more stretched management and less development', reports Inside Housing. It was also reported that there was no positive impact for funders from the improved work incentives from the bedroom tax. Researchers found that few tenants...

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    New report on the impact of welfare reforms

    The Real Life Reform research was carried out between April and early May and reveals that people are dealing with mounting debt, borrowing from loan sharks and turning to food banks, reports 24dash.The report found that unemployed households were left with just £1.46 per day after bills which is a 17% drop since 2013. The number of in-debt household owing more than £2,000 has risen to 52.8%...

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    Welfare reforms support projects announced

    The minister for welfare reform has told the Local Government Association conference in Bournemouth that eleven partnerships between councils and job centres will test different ways of providing support to job seekers under universal credit, reports Inside Housing. Lord Freud said: "I hope I made clear just how important local services are to universal credit that's underpinned by the framework...

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    Report into welfare reform finds that DWP staff lack empathy

    The report, One day at a time, is based on evidence from across the bureaux network in Wales.It says in the section about the awareness of benefit changes: "The DWP in particular came in for significant criticism in the manner they communicated with claimants, especially by some participants living with a disability or long-term health condition. A perceived lack of empathy from frontline staff...

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    Welfare reforms under fire by UN poverty experts

    In a letter sent to Britain's ambassador to the UN, George Osborne's indications that welfare reform will continue until at least 2017 has been criticised. The benefits cap and bedroom tax has also raised concerns, reports Inside Housing.The letter says: ‘We would like to bring to your government's attention information we have received concerning the... impact of reductions in public...

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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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    ‘Number one debt problem' created by welfare reforms is council tax arrears

    The bedroom tax has caused the biggest public outcry, the number of people who are struggling with council tax payments has increased dramatically since council tax benefit was replaced by localised council tax support schemes in April 2013. In the first three months of this year, 27,000 people with council tax arrears problems received help from Citizens Advice, which is a 17% increase on the...

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    Report finds bedroom tax failed to solve under-occupancy

    The report titled, ‘Here and There: One year of the Bedroom Tax', has been composed by six housing associations and is the first of its kind to analyse a complete years' worth of data on the impact of the governments under-occupancy policy, reports 24dash. It reveals that almost three quarters of people who have been affected are unable to downsize due to a shortage of smaller homes and housing...

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    Bedroom tax and welfare reforms leave tenant evictions at highest level in over ten years

    Official figures from the Ministry of Justice have revealed that between January and March landlords went to court the equivalent of 525 times day to make claims to repossess properties. The majority of these landlords were social landlords who took the first steps towards evicting over 31,000 tenants, reports the Guardian.Daniel Fitzpatrick, a partner at a law firm representing social tenants in...

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    £ 3.9m homelessness funding returned by landlords

    14% of the £29.7m homelessness change fund has been returned by six providers due to financial uncertainty caused by welfare reforms, local opposition and difficult planning, reports Inside Housing.Slough YMCA won £661,400 from the HCA to build a hostel on the site of an abandoned petrol station. Colin Young, chief executive, said the charity was unable to raise the additional funds. He said...

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    Welfare reforms pushing poorest families out of the capital

    The number of people claiming housing benefits in the private rented sector has fallen by almost a quarter since March 2011 in Kensington and Chelsea and almost a third in Westminster.Changes to local housing allowances came into force for new claimants in April 2011 and have applied to existing claimants since 2013. The reforms set LHA rates at a lower level with reduced rates for single people...

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    Region worst hit by welfare reforms set to lose an estimated £29m

    Research undertaken by Sheffield Hallam University has revealed that Northern Ireland will be the UK region worst hit by welfare reforms, meaning an average estimate will total £750m annually.It is estimated that within the Newtownabbey Borough Council area each working age adult will lose a total of £550 per annum, reports Newtownabbey Today.  More in depth analysis reveals that people...

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    1,800 Cambridgeshire households have been hit by ‘Bedroom Tax'

    Research by the charity Oxfam has suggested that claimants in Cambridgeshire are suffering more than the average household affected by reforms in the East of England, reports Cambridge News. Oxfam has said that 2,600 families have been affected in Suffolk, losing an average of £14.50 a week with 3,300 households in Herefordshire losing an average of £18.20.Oxfam said the cuts were on top of...

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    Report finds welfare reform places UK's poorest families into deeper poverty

    The joint report by Oxfam and the New Policy Institute highlights a drop in the overall value of benefits, which rose by less than inflation, alongside changes to housing benefit and council tax support that have forced many families into paying for housing costs which were previously deemed too poor to pay. Together those changes have meant that 1.75 million of the poorest families have seen a...

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    Financial worries for social housing tenants

    The charity Turn2us, who help people access benefits and financial help, has surveyed 2,008 adults on incomes of £25,000 or less. Of this number 65% of the 308 social tenants surveyed said their financial situation has worsened over the last year, reports Inside Housing. Released to coincide with Turn2us' annual Benefits Awareness Month, the survey has revealed that on average people living in...

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    Court fees for rent arrears eviction cases set to increase by 150%

    Currently the standard county court fee for a rent arrears possession case is £100, however from 22nd April; it will increase to £250, reports 24dash. Initially the costs are met by the landlord, but are then included on top of the tenant's rent arrears.Bedroom tax campaigners are accusing the government of loading more  misery on to tenants hit by the under-occupancy policy.According to...

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    Almost four million families are living on a ‘knife edge' toward homelessness

    Homelessness charity Shelter has carried out an investigation by surveying 7,500 rent and mortgage payers and found that 44% of those questioned (the equivalent of 3.8million families) were one paycheque away from being unable to pay their rent or mortgage, due to little or no savings to fall back on.The findings were based on YouGov survey which was carried out at the end of March. Shelter says...

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    Disability charity says welfare reforms are punishing those with vulnerabilities

    The advice service of Diverse Abilities Plus, has said that reforms to the support provided for housing costs and the household benefit cap, which includes the social sector size criteria, are affecting those with disabilities and vulnerabilities who are not the originally intended targets. However, they are unlikely to be able to change their circumstance without help from the government,...

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    New reports look into the impact of welfare reform

    The first report titled ‘Housing Benefit size criteria: impacts for social sector tenants and options for reform' has found:-          In the first year of the policy, the DWP is likely to save £330m which is £115m below its initial target.-          498,000 people have been affected by the policy which is lower than the 660,000 estimate by DWP. Half were in arrears in the...

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    Sanctions to benefits are compounding the impact of welfare reforms, report says

    Research by the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations has revealed that the recently-reformed Jobseeker's Allowance sanctions regime is "unfair" in its decision-making process and the sanctions imposed are "disproportionately harsh", reports 24dash. The report titled ‘Cause for Concern' also reveals concerns about social housing tenants' housing benefit being stopped meaning many are...

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    139 Bedroom tax exemptions by one care provider

    A welfare project devised by care provider Blackwood has seen a specialist team help, support and advise tenants on how to cope with the changes brought on my reforms, bedroom tax and universal credit.A spokesperson for Blackwood said: "We set up the project to help people work out all the different changes and we sat down with the tenants and helped them to fill in the forms. It has been a...

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    Research finds a third of all Newcastle homes have been hit by welfare reforms

    The research highlights that the controversial bedroom tax has had the most significant impact on social housing tenants in the city. On average the weekly loss in benefits for a council tenant seen to be under-occupying their home is £13.51 per household. The annual loss in housing benefit amongst all council tenants is around £3.2m, reports 24dash.ALMO Your Homes Newcastle, who run Newcastle...

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    Social housing tenants find themselves in debt due to welfare reforms

    Interviews have been conducted with 83 tenants in January, many of whom have been tracked since July when the study began. Reported by 24dash.findings revealed: • 77% of households are in debt and the average owed by residents who have taken part in previous rounds of the study is now £2,943 - up 28%.• £34.41 is the average weekly debt repayment - an increase of 58%.• 18.5% of income is...

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    A study has found rural social tenants are being forced into poverty due to welfare reform

    The report is based on 200 interviews with tenants in the south west and has found they were cutting back on essential items such as food, dipping into savings, borrowing money and selling their belongings to cope with welfare reform.Whilst many said they would like a job, 57% of households had no one in work due to disabilities, ill-health and caring responsibilities, reports Inside...

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    Cap set on welfare bill could make many homes ‘unaffordable'

    In his budget yesterday, Mr Osborne said the £119bn cap for 2015/16 would rise in line with inflation to £127bn in 2018/19, reports Inside Housing.The only items excluded from this cap are state pensions and cyclical unemployment benefits. With this plan the total welfare spending would be set by the chancellor at the beginning of each parliament with MPs voting on it.Mr Osborne told MPs: "In...

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    A ‘huge' rise in council tax arrears

    The charity has said that a 77% increase in the number of household needing advice has occurred over the last year. One reason for the increase was due to the changes in council tax benefit which was introduced as part of the government's welfare reforms in April 2013, reports the BBC.On average clients in council tax arrears were £102 short of the money they needed."Stagnating incomes, changing...

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    Welfare cuts mean that "work doesn't pay"

    The public accounts committee has warned that cuts to council tax benefits means "work does not pay" for people worse affected by the reforms. The report said that the Department for Work and Pensions were "not fully understanding" of the impact council tax benefit cuts combined with other welfare reforms will have on people.The PAC report has found that despite the government tasking authorities...

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    The government's moral case for welfare reform is called "a sham"

    Figures from the charity Trussell Trust show that over 50,000 people in Scotland have received assistance from their foodbanks in the last ten months alone. Mrs Burgess has highlighted her concerns to MSPs during a welfare reform debate in the Scottish Parliament.Mrs Burgess has said that the current reforms are creating deep concern as they're already leaving people with vulnerabilities at risk...

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    Catholic Archbishop calls welfare reform a "disgrace"

    Speaking to the Telegraph, Archbishop Nichols said the welfare state was becoming "more punitive"."I think what's happening is two things", he said. "One is that the basic safety net that was there to guarantee that people would not be left in hunger or in destitution, has actually been torn apart. It no longer exists, and that is a real, real dramatic crisis. And the second is that, in this...

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    Newcastle council publish report on the "chilling" impact of the bedroom tax

    The reports says that the government's policies are costing the council and local housing providers millions of pounds due to unpaid rent and residents are being forced to downsize into smaller accommodation, reports 24dash. Within the report it says that the impact on individuals would be much greater if it weren't for the "hard-pressed" local authority alongside the voluntary and community...

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    LifeKit helps customers with Welfare Reforms

    LifeKit,  which has been launched by the housing trust this month, is a self-help guide for customers which proved help, advice, support and helpful tips in a number of aspects of life. The focus is on money matters to help those concerned about welfare reform. There are five sections on LifeKit; Manage Your Money, Your Home, Your Job, Get Online and Save Money. This offers customers the chance...

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    Council tax arrears force thousands into court

    Government cuts to means-tested council tax benefit have left many people facing liability orders for arrears. In April 2013 the government cut funding for council tax benefit by £500m and left local authorities to decide how the reduced benefit should be distributed. This means that have now found themselves having to pay council tax even though they previously found themselves exempt.The...

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    33,000 household hit by the benefit cap since its introduction

    Figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions show that 47% of all households affected were found in London. Manchester and Birmingham were the only two authorities within the top 20 local authorities with the highest number of affected household, reports 24dash. The report also shows that as of November 1st 2013 just over 27,000 households had their housing benefit capped. 59% of...

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    More cuts to the UK's economy

    In a speech in Birmingham Mr Osborne has said that the economy was far from fixed and spoke is speaking of a "year of hard truths" ahead, reports the BBC. Mr Osborne is suggesting making welfare savings by cutting housing benefit for under-25s and restricting council housing for people earning over £65,000 a year.In his speech Mr Osborne said: "As a result of the painful cuts we've made, the...

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    Local councils should invest in food banks: Lord Freud

    Lord Freud is being accused of "rowing away from the principle of welfare" due to his suggestion that local authorities invest money in food banks as he believes they are "absolutely appropriate" that free food parcels are provided to people who cannot afford groceries.These comments have derived from a conference on welfare reform and Lord Freud says that society has had a "terrible economic...

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    Welfare cap helping to end ‘benefit dependency' - Iain Duncan Smith

    The work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, has said that his welfare cap was helping to end "benefit dependency", however official figures have shown that the number of families affected so far is much smaller than expected. In a statement issued by the DWP, Duncan Smith said that 19,000 people potentially affected by the cap had been helped into work which shows "our commitment to...

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    Food poverty becoming a ‘health emergency'

    Through a letter in the British Medical Journal, six leading public health figures have warned that poor nutrition could lead to many different health problems. It has come after the UK Red Cross has started asking for food donations for the first time since World War Two.In October the Trussell Trust said that the number of people it was had tripled to 350,000 in the past year, reports the...

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    Welfare reform sees rent collection rates drop

    Housemark have used data from over 190 landlords who collective manage 1.5 million properties to see the impact of welfare changes on income, arrears and rent collection costs. The report found that the proportion of rent collected fell from 99.5% in April to June last year to 98.9% in April to September.It is said that the figures show "a marked increase in arrears among poorer performing...

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    Welfare reform is making it difficult to let homes

    94% of landlords surveyed by the CIH are experiencing an increased pressure on their letting or allocation systems. Over half are experiencing a loss of rental income as a result of void properties which can't be let due to welfare reform.Almost two thirds of respondents have reported struggling to let two and three bedroom homes as a result of the bedroom tax and the shortfall created by the...

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    Delays in benefits affects terminally ill

    The charity has described the situation the terminally ill patients find themselves in as "appalling".  Macmillan says that early indications from their advisers working in hospitals and citizens advice bureaux are that the changes have left hundreds without support, reports the BBC.A spokeswoman for the DWP have said that under the new PIPs, terminally ill cancer patients were "fast-tracked"...

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    80% rise in rent arrears is expected by housing providers

    Baker Tilly, a law firm, found that the average level of rent arrears was 2.64% in the year ending 2013 but it was due to rise in 4.82% in 2014-15. The findings are supported by Baker Tilly's back office benchmarking which found that housing providers were budgeting for debts of 1.85% in the current financial year which is up from 0.86% last year, which is a rise of 115%, reports 24dash.84% of...

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    Changes to disability benefits are delayed

    The new personal independence payment (PIP) was scheduled to begin this month however it is now said to be introduced at the discretion of the department. Claimants from the disability living allowance will be transferred to the new PIP when circumstances change. The change is an important part of the government's shift to universal credit.New claimants were placed on the system in April and the...

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    Government's response to the Personal Independence Payment assessment

    The Government's response to the consultation on the PIP assessment Moving around activity was published on Monday.Personal Independence Payment (PIP) has been introduced to support disabled people to lead independent lives, as it reflects the needs of the individual rather than the overall condition. PIP provides a contribution to the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or a disability if...

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    Recovery Of NHS Costs From Overseas Visitors And Migrants

    He is a former Chair of NHS East of England and the NHS Confederation and has more than 30 years' experience in both the public and private healthcare sectors in England and abroad.Sir Keith will work with senior NHS leaders to achieve a more effective NHS in terms of raising awareness of eligibility rules, identifying patients who are not eligible for free NHS care (‘chargeable patients'),...

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    28% of people in London are living in poverty

    A study has shown that nearly a third of Londoners are living in poverty and a rising number of those household have someone in work. With 28% of people in London in poverty it is seven % point higher than the rest of England. The majority of working-age adults and children in poverty - 57% - in the capital are in families that work.The findings from the report by the London Poverty Profile are...

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    8,400 households have been affected by benefit caps

    The gap was introduced by the government in April this year and means that no household can receive more than £500 a week in benefits. The Department for Work and Pensions says that 77% of people affected have lost up to £100 a week and over half of the households had between one and four children.The figures are only representative of those first affected by the cap and do not cover the whole...

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    Northern Ireland are expected be hit by a greater financial impact due to welfare reforms

    Three places in Northern Ireland, Londonderry, Straban and Belfast, are among the four worst-affected local authority areas in the whole of the UK."When you take money out of the economy it has a knock-on effect," said Seamus McAleavey of NICVA, an umbrella body for the voluntary and community sector. Not only would we lose £750m, but where that money gets spent means they will be buying less...

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    Government bedroom guidance labelled ‘bizarre'

    The government have issued guidance to local authorities this week on how to classify a bedroom for the purposed of the bedroom tax, however it has been labelled as ‘bizarre' and ‘wrong' by experts.The Department for Work and Pensions was forced to rush out guidance that would end the confusion of what constitutes a bedroom after numerous successful first-tier tribunal bedroom tax appeals by...

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    A cap on social security spending

    The shadow chancellor has said that: "The next government will have to make cuts too, because while jobs and growth are vital to getting the deficit down - something this government has never understood - they cannot magic the whole deficit away at a strike" reports Inside Housing."We will have a cap on structural social security spending" says Mr Balls. The coalition government in the summer...

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    Manchester housing providers highlight "escalating human cost"

    A meeting at the council's economy scrutiny committee had providers warning that rent collection had dropped and only 7% of bedroom tax hit tenants could pay their rent.Northwards Housing estimated £500,000 in rent arrears and housing associations reported that reduced revenue would see them having to push more resources towards rent collection and away from other areas of their work. Statistics...

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    Women are being hit harder by benefit changes

    In April 2013, 83% of in-work couples receiving child tax credits had a female payee. The income that women received from benefits such as child benefit, child tax credits etc. has reduced in real terms as increases in other benefits have not matched inflation.The report points out that women will also lose out under the impending Universal Credit system. In the current system different benefits...

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    Spending shift for councils in order to help those hit by benefit reforms

    According to a study on the impact of benefit changes, it has come out today that local authorities are going to be forced to cut their spending on infrastructures and social care in order to support households that are losing out through the government's welfare reforms.Less than a quarter of the 1.18m English workless households that are affected by cuts to housing benefits will be able to...

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    Welfare Changes Threaten Winter Night Shelters and Increase Homelessness

    Research by Homeless Link has found that last winter emergency homeless shelters played a vital role in preventing the deaths of many rough sleepers.Homeless Link has produced a new guide for local communities on setting up a winter shelter- ‘Severe Weather Emergency Protocol and Extended Winter Provision' which is guidance for local authorities, voluntary sector and faith based groups.  You...

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    Lord Freud says Rising Food Poverty is Unrelated to Benefit Cuts

    Last month, figures showed that close to 500,000 people received food aid last year, which is triple the number of people from the previous year, and 100,000 more than anticipated.A Labour MP, Roger Godsiff, warned that the figures were likely to rise even further this year and next, once the effects of the recent benefit cuts are felt, and demanded the government launch an inquiry in to the...

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    Work Programme is Failing to Meet Targets

     According to the DWP, official figures show an increase in people finding work through the work programme.However, they have been heavily criticised as it is still only finding work for 5% of the hardest to help people and the figures show that the scheme has missed all of it's own targets.Crisis, a homelessness charity, have branded the programme a 'miserable failure' after the figures were...

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    Comprehensive Spending Review 2013

    Chancellor George Osborne has today unveiled £11.5 billion of cuts to public spending. The 2013 Comprehensive Spending Review has three principles: growth, reform and fairness which Osborne referred to throughout his announcement.So how will this review impact the health and social care sector?The health budget in 2015-16 will be £110 billion. A significant amount of the health and social care...

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    Cuts to local authority budgets? Social Workers Respond

     It has been reported that Chancellor George Osborne is planning to a 10% cut to 2015-2016 local authority budgets.The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) surveyed a total of 638 of its members on their concerns surrounding these local authority cuts. The survey, which was open from 21st June to 24th June, revealed responses such as:Further cuts means greater risks and it will be...

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    Soaring Food Poverty to Grow More with Benefit Cuts

     A Labour MP from the Midlands has said that the cuts to benefits have resulted in soaring food poverty, and will force the figures higher as the changes take effect.Trussell Trust figures show that 350,000 people used their food banks across Britain last year, and the figure for all those receiving food aid from all churches, charities and organisations is estimated around 500,000.This is...

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    Labours Welfare Reform Plans Outlined

    The leader of the Labour party announces the party's proposals for the welfare reform, and how they will ensure welfare is not a substitute for good employment.His main proposals were for councils to have power to negotiate rents for housing benefit tenants, and would give them cash back on the savings to put into house building.Miliband also wants councils to have a larger role in getting people...

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    CIH Say Government Should Review DHP

     Later this month, George Osborne will be announcing the government's spending plans, which will include the allocation of funds to discretionary housing payments (DHP).DHP are available to those struggling to pay their rent, and have been used a lot following changes to housing benefits with the introduction of the bedroom tax.The current allocation for 2013/14 for DHP is £155 million, but the...

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    Reforms Will Not Solve Social Care Funding Problems

    The Government's Care Bill  is introducing a care cap on individual contributions towards care costs, based on the recommendations put forward by the Dilnot Commission in 2011.However, the final draft of the reform has not used the full guidelines as recommended by Andrew Dilnot and the King's Fund say this will not go far enough.The recommended cap on care costs in the Dilnot report is...

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    Disabled Claimants Take Legal Action Against PIP

    The change from disability living allowance (DLA) to PIP began to take place this week in northern England, and will gradually be rolled out nationally.Three disabled claimaints are taking legal action against the government, and the new measures taken to test claimants' abilities.Their representatives say official consultation period did not mention new PIP mobility limit reduced from 50 to 20...

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    Report shows growth of food poverty in London

    The report, by the London Assembly health and environment committee, shows that the problem of poverty is likely to increase in the coming months, due to a rising number of low paid and unemployed people in the city.The cost of living is also continuing to rise which means most people already struggling are then unable to afford healthy food.The report says that this problem will be exacerbated...

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    MPs express concern that bedroom tax could cost more than it saves

    The PAC have expressed concern that the amount of people who will be negatively affected by up coming benefit caps and bedroom tax has not be calculated accurately, and could result in more money being spent on services to compensate this, such as an increase in homelessness.This could end up costing more money, instead of saving it as intended, and the government will need to react quickly if...

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    Social sector reviews on the 2013 Budget

    Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive, said:There's no place for disabled people in the Chancellor's aspiration nation.Disabled people want to live independently. But the support they need to get up, get dressed and get out and about is being squeezed due to chronic under-funding of social care.Neither the £72,000 cap on costs nor £118,000 means test will resolve the care crisis for disabled people,...

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    Charities will need £1m for increased demand in food banks

    There is expected to be a huge pressure on food banks, as people whose budgets are already stretched turn to charities after cuts to the welfare budget are introduced. The Trust are expecting to be giving food to 300,000 people in 2012-2013, which is up from 29,000 in 2009-2010.Iain Duncan Smith puts this down to good marketing by the charity, but Christopher Mould, chief executive of Trussell...

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    Social Care Cap Brought Forward

    The announcement comes before Wednesday's budget is given, and included the flat tier pension, which will be introduced at the same time. The chancellor has also announced that the lifetime cap will be reduced from £75,000 to £72,000.It was originally advised by Andrew Dilnot as a £30,000 cap, so this reduction is not dramatic.The care cap will be to cover the cost of social care and people...

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    Archbishop says benefit changes will hit the poorest hardest

    Justin Welby, the head of the Church of England, has warned that benefit changes, such as capping the rise of benefits to 1% instead of rising with inflation, will make the most vulnerable suffer. He is one of 43 bishops who have written an open letter to a newspaper condemning Government plans to change the benefits system, saying it will have a “deeply disproportionate” effect on...

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    Work Programme branded as Worse than Nothing

    A report by the Public Accounts Committee has shown that in the last 14 months, only 3.6% of those taking part have been able to stay in long term unemployment. Following the announcement of the results, chair, Margaret Hodge MP, has said that the effectiveness of the work programme so far had been "extremely poor".Of 9,500 people moved off disability benefits and on to the flagship Work...

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    Work Programme Declared as Breaking the Law

    Tessa Gregory fought the case for Miss Reilly, 24, University of Birmingham geology graduate, and 40-year-old unemployed HGV driver Jamie Wilson, from Nottingham.They both succeeded in their claims that the unpaid schemes were legally flawed, despite losing their original case, and part of this decision has now been reversed by the Appeal Court.The government will have to quickly bring new...

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    MP's blame DWP for Capability Test Failures

    Margaret Hodge, the chair of the committee, said the Department for Work and Pensions was getting far too many decisions wrong on claimants' ability to work.The report says that a large amount of the blame for the problems that these tests have caused people lies on the government, despite the amount of criticism that has been placed on ATOS, the company hired to carry out the work capability...

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    Lib Dem MP criticises Councils approach to poorest

    She also mentioned the cabinet's plan to make people receiving council tax benefit pay the cost of the transfer of the scheme from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to local authorities - with a 10% cut in funding. Ms Bayes asked the cabinet last Monday:Given the way that the council has chosen to take between £1.2 million and £1.8 million from Reading's poorest residents via the new...

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    Have Disabled People been forgotten amid Social Care Reforms?

    The groups, including Mencap, Scope, the National Autistic Society, Leonard Cheshire Disability and Sense, warned the situation could deteriorate under the forthcoming reform of the system.The report, 'The Other Care Crisis', is published by Scope, Mencap, The National Autistic Society, Sense and Leonard Cheshire Disability, and highlights that about 500,000 working age adults get social care...

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    200,000 children will be in poverty due to Govt's benefit changes

    Ministers have said they no longer regard the relative child poverty statistics as a useful or valid measure as it is highlighten that an extra 200,000 children will be in poverty figure due to the government's decision to lift most in-work and out-of-work benefits by only 1% over the next three years instead of increasing them in line with inflation.Ministers had been reluctant to state what...

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    Lib Dem MPs want to change Welfare Bill

    Liberal Democrat MPs, including former leader Charles Kennedy, Alan Reid, John Leech, Dan Rogerson and Andrew George, have submitted the amendments. They call for benefits to be uprated in line with wage inflation, or for benefits to be uprated by 1 per cent or by wage inflation, whichever is higher.An alternative amendment from the MPs calls for the 1 per cent rule to be removed from the bill...

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    Long-term Unemployed less likely to get jobs in Work Programme

    York University professor Roy Sainsbury has said that the programme is giving priority to "job-ready" claimants ahead of those who have been unemployed for long periods.In the first official evaluation of the work programme before Christmas, the report by York university's social policy research unit, says private firms, which are paid for getting an unemployed person into a long-term job, are...

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    Bill to Cap Benefits Below Inflation is Passed

    Conservatives defend this cap and say it is fair because the average wage is not rising in line with inflation, and figures from 2007 to now show that benefits have risen above wages; Iain Duncan Smith said that the increases have cost £6.3bn since the start of the recession.However, Labour have strongly opposed it and charities working with families who don't have as much money are dismayed at...

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    Iain Duncan Smith defends welfare reforms

    Although the government will win Tuesday's vote, Labour says it will oppose the three-year squeeze. The Liberal Democrat former children's minister, Sarah Teather, said she would vote against the coalition and government sources were said to be anticipating a rebellion by about five Lib Dem MPs.Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Duncan Smith said:We don't take this decision lightly. Nick...

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    Survey shows support for benefit cuts is from those unaware

    The survey also showed that negative attitudes towards those on welfare benefits are building up, and an unrealistic stereotype was apparent against those who the Government publicly announce cuts towards when they mention benefits. The poll suggests that this lack of awareness of the facts is breeding hositility towards benefits.The average amount of benefits that those surveyed believed was...

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    Critics Challenge Conservative Claims of Benefits Rising Too Much

    Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has said that the increases have cost £6.3bn since the start of the recession, and he says these figures prove that raising benefits with inflation is unfair on tax payers.Critics say this cut to the budget will hit working families who are struggling on low wages the hardest, and increase homelessness and hunger.Mr Duncan Smith said:Working people...

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    Labour MPs warn benefit cap will hit poorest working families

    Earlier this month, George Osborne announced that increases in benefit payments would be capped below the rate of inflation for the next three years, saying that he would make sure the welfare system is "fair to the working people who pay for it", and not just those "living a life on benefits".Iain Duncan Smith said:Labour has been totally irresponsible. They play games and oppose every single...

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    Benefits Squeezed Even Tighter in Autumn Statement

     The main cut to benefits is all working age benefits, including tax credits and child benefit, will go up by 1% a year, less than the rate of inflation, for the next three years.This is as Osborne announces austerity measures will be extended to 2018 as he is set to miss key debt-reduction targets, which could result in the loss of the country's AAA credit rating.Osborne said:I think people...

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    Charities urge Osborne not to cut benefits for the poorest

     Charities and campaigners have urged Osborne not to penalise the poor, especially with inflation rises making living costs even higher.This comes as he announces that current austerity measures will have to continue until 2018, as well as a report on budget control showing that he is likely to miss his target set for getting the debts under control, which he has admitted on the Andrew Marr show...

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    Welfare Minister says Benefits is a Lifestyle Choice

    The minister was defending the governments decision to put a cap on benefits in an interview with The House magazine, as he believes that the present system is dreadful, and allows lone parents and sickness claimants to choose to have a lifestyle on the state, which is similar to the opinions previously expressed by George Osborne on the subject of benefits.When asked about whether he could...

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    Political Party Launched for Anti-NHS reforms

    The party's members say the Act - which was pushed through Parliament by the coalition despite fierce opposition from NHS professionals, patient groups, unions and Labour - will allow the NHS in England to be "broken up and sold off".It is co-led by Richard Taylor, a former Kidderminster hospital consultant who was MP for Wyre Forest from 2001 to 2010, and Clive Peedell, a consultant clinical...

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    MP for Northern Ireland requested further housing benefit concessions

    He has been widely praised for securing the continuation of payment of the housing element of universal credit directly to landlords, rather than paying it to tenants.He also secured more regular payments of benefits and an extra six months until the majority of the reforms begin.But he said landlords needed to take a role in ensuring the impact of the reforms for tenants was minimal and would be...

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    Calls for Independent Investigation on Atos

    Leaked information from the tendering documents reveal that the firm said it would work with a number of disability organisations to carry out eligibility tests for a new disability benefit.Four of the organisations named in the document said they had no contact with Atos before being named as possible partners and strongly objected to any suggestion that they planned to co-operate with the...

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    How can the care reform survive in a climate of cuts?

    The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), the Local Government Association (LGA) and Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (Solace) have all warned the government that there is a mismatch between the governments plans for the welfare reform and the continuous cuts to benefits and the social care budget.The long awaited reform of social care for older...

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    BMA doubts NHS reforms will save £5.5b, as Hunt claims

    The initial projected costs were expected to be £1.2bn to £1.3bn, but having made a new estimate, it is looking to cost more for the reform, and redundancy costs are expected to be around £630m.The BMA have said that these costs were ‘particularly galling' in the context of the increased squeeze on NHS budgets and rationing of services, and have also questioned whether the projected savings...

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    Clegg does not back housing benefit age limit

    Following Simon Hughes' statement on Newsnight that he would not agree to Osborne's proposal, and that Nick Clegg would feel the same, Clegg has now said in a live radio debate that he would not agree to a blanket ban based on age:A complete blanket ban on providing housing benefit to anyone who so happens to have been born 25 years ago or less? Of course not.Because there are people who have got...

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    Osborne to cut another £10bn from benefits

    Osborne is expected to will rule out a levy on high-value properties which has been sought by Lib Dems.The chancellor will promise to cut £10bn more from the welfare bill by 2016-17, on top of the £18bn cuts announced in 2010, as the economic downturn lasts longer than expected.In his address, Osborne will spell out ideas for cutting the welfare bill, such as limiting housing benefit for the...

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    Health Secretary under fire again

    Newly appointed health secretary, Jeremy Hunt has come under fire this weekend after backing a reduction in the legal time limit for women to have abortions, from 24 to 12 weeks.Hunt's comments, which came on the eve of the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham this week, have been heavily criticised from all sides, with Prime Minister David Cameron forced to distance himself from his...

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    Govt to develop new method of measuring council performance

    The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) is understood to be talking to senior council planners to help define what qualifies as poor performance in the speed and quality of decisions.It follows communities secretary Eric Pickles' announcement last month that the government intends to legislate to allow the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) to decide applications if an English...

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    Shadow Employment Minister Stephen Timms has Slammed the Government's Welfare Reform Programme

     Speaking at a fringe event at the Labour Party conference in Manchester (30 Sept - 4th Oct 2012) Mr Timms said that he believed that the universal credit project ‘is in a bit of a mess’.‘The universal credit has been presented as a panacea and it simply won’t be,’ he added. ‘There is the potential that it can simplify the incentives that people are getting to work but a lot of that...

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    DWP review on Welfare Reform

    The Bill received Parliamentary approval and has now become the Welfare Reform Act 2012.Section 102 of the Act enables regulations to be made to require claimants and other persons who disagree with a decision to request consideration of revision before they may appeal against a decision.Mandatory consideration of revision before appeal, also referred to as ‘mandatory reconsideration',...

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    Govt may stop benefits rising with inflation

    In recent years inflation has risen at a far higher rate than average earnings - Whitehall officials say a switch since 2008/9 would have saved £14bn.The government needs to find £10bn of extra savings in the welfare budget.Newsnight understands that the new £14bn figure is entering into fractious government debate over how to make a further cut to the welfare budget - something occupying...

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    Charities form Payment By Results discussion group

    The group, which has been set up by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and met for the first time on Thursday, is made up of voluntary sector providers that have payment-by-results contracts and organisations with an interest in the model. The aim of the group is to give the sector a better understanding of the risks and opportunities of the model.The group will aim to share and...

Revenue Optimisation "We really appreciate the work that Support Solutions did for Home Group in securing significant additional revenue for our supported housing schemes. This really will make a positive difference to the way in which we support our vulnerable tenants". Dave Coope - Home Group

 

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