Archive for October 14th, 2011

Oxfam report on food poverty in Scotland

Oxfam Scotland has claimed that as a result of soaring food prices, Scotland’s poorest people are facing food shortages akin to Second World War rationing.

Oxfam Scotland said pensioners and those on low incomes are struggling to feed themselves, and parents are skipping meals in order to ensure their families are properly fed. In addition, those on below-average incomes are buying lower-quality food and changing how and where they shop.

The charity points to how food prices have risen at more than twice the rate of the national minimum wage over the past five years.

117 Scottish adults in an income bracket below the “households below average income measurement” were surveyed. The main findings were:

–         one in 20 (5%) skip meals to feed their children

–         three-quarters (76%) have spent more on food in the last year.

–         One in four (25%) said the quality of food they are eating has dropped in the last 12 months, the highest percentage in the

–         one in four (23%) spend £40 a week or less on food.

Oxfam Scotland said the poll “charts the real-life effects of rising food prices in Scotland”.

Judith Robertson, head of Oxfam Scotland, said: “Rising food prices are a global phenomenon and, despite the UK being one of the world’s richest economies, it’s affecting people here too.

“It is a gross injustice poor people in Scotland are finding it increasingly difficult to feed themselves and their families.”

Danny McCafferty, from Clydebank Independent Resource Centre describes pensioners as being particularly effected and likening the situation to war rationing.”In some ways they’ve gone full circle. Those who are in their 70s and 80s experienced rationing and shortages after the Second World War and now they’re going through it all again”, he said.

Website: STV News

Amanda Frewin

Research & Project Support


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Work and Pensions Committee

Select Committee Announcement

13 October 2011
For Immediate Release:
AN52 2010–12


Proposal to replace DLA with Personal Independence Payment


Wednesday 19 October 2011, Grimond Room, Portcullis House

At 9.30 am

Professor Steve Fothergill, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University
Sue Royston, Social Policy Officer, Citizens Advice
Professor Roy Sainsbury, Research Director, Social Policy Research Unit, University of York.
Claudia Wood, Head of Public Services and Welfare Programme, Demos

The Work and Pensions Committee has launched an inquiry into the Government’s proposal to introduce Personal Independence Payment (PIP) from 2013, replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for working age claimants by 2015/16.

PIP will be similar to DLA in that it will be a non-means tested, non-contributory tax-free cash benefit paid to people whose disabilities mean they incur extra costs in everyday life; however, the Government aims to simplify the benefit and reduce expenditure by introducing a new assessment for PIP and by changing some of the current rules. The changes include: systematic periodic review of most PIP awards; ending automatic entitlement for specific conditions; replacing DLA’s three rates in the care component with two rates in the new daily living component; and extending the Qualifying Period from 3 months to 6 months.

This is the first evidence session in the inquiry. The Committee will explore the case for reform and the Government’s approach to it. It will also consider the current draft of the new PIP assessment, plans for its delivery and the Government’s communication strategy.

Further information
Written evidence:
Interested organisations and individuals were invited to submit written evidence before 26 August 2011. The evidence received has been published on the committee’s website.
Committee membership:

Dame Anne Begg MP (Chair) (Lab, Aberdeen South), Mrs Debbie Abrahams MP (Oldham East and Saddleworth), Harriett Baldwin MP (Con, West Worcestershire), Andrew Bingham MP (Con, High Peak), Karen Bradley MP (Con, Staffordshire Moorlands), Kate Green MP (Lab, Stretford and Urmston), Mr Oliver Heald MP (Con, North East Hertfordshire), Glenda Jackson MP (Lab, Hampstead and Highgate), Brandon Lewis MP, (Con, Great Yarmouth), Stephen Lloyd MP (Lib Dem, Eastbourne), Teresa Pearce MP (Lab, Erith and Thamesmead)

Specific Committee Information: workpencom@parliament.uk 020 7219 2839

Media Information: bridgespalmerj@parliament.uk 020 7219 0724

Committee Website: http://www.parliament.uk/workpencom
Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: http://www.parliamentlive.tv

Publications/Reports/Reference Material:

Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474). Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on http://www.parliament.uk

Hannah Beattie
Committee Assistant
Work and Pensions Committee
House of Commons
0207 219 2180

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IFS warns the government will miss its 2020 child poverty targets

A report has been released by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) which highlights the effect of falling incomes. It is predicted that the fall in median income will be the biggest in 35 years and as a consequence, will result in huge rises in poverty for children and adults over the next decade.

The report, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, forecasts that the next two years will be “dominated by a large decline” in incomes leading to 3.1 million children living in absolute poverty by 2013. In addition, by 2020 3.3 million young people – almost one in four children – will find themselves in relative child poverty. This is a shocking 2 million short of the governments legally binding 2020 child poverty targets.

The IFS warns: “Absolute and relative child poverty are forecast to be 23% and 24% in 2020–21 respectively. These compare with the targets of 5% and 10%, set out in the Child Poverty Act (2010)”.

A child is considered to be living in relative poverty if the household income is less than 60% of the average in that year. If the household income is below 60% of the 2010/11 average – a standard set out in this year’s Child Poverty Act – they are classed as living in absolute poverty.

The IFS warns that even though the coalition’s welfare reforms will

“act to reduce both absolute and relative poverty” the effect will be swamped by the decline in average incomes, with these expected to fall by 7% in real terms.  

Campaigners have described the report as “devastating”, saying ministers are in denial about poverty. Child Poverty Action Group chief executive, Alison Garnham, said: “This devastating report leaves the government’s child poverty and social mobility strategies in jeopardy.

“Ministers seem to be in denial that, under current policies, their legacy threatens to be the worst poverty record of any government for a generation.”

For a criticism of the IFS report and statistics, click here

Website: The Guardian

Amanda Frewin

Research & Project Support

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Voluntary sector fears Work Programme won’t meet minimum targets or support the most vulnerable

The Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO), have published a survey which shows that only 8% of third sector subcontractors are confident that the Work Programme will meet its targets.

ACEVO surveyed all third sector organisations involved in the Work Programme to assess the sector’s engagement and confidence in the programme.

The main findings of the survey are:

There is anxiety as to how successful the programme will be:

  • Only 8% were confident that the Work Programme will hit its targets
  • Only 9% felt the Work Programme’s payment system was adequate to help those furthest from the labour market.

Voluntary sector subcontractors are shouldering significant risks:

  • Only 38% of respondents had signed contracts for their provision
  • 37% had not agreed pricing levels with their primes.
  • Only 18% of respondents believed their payment profile had been softened in comparison to their prime’s DWP contract
  • Only 57% of respondents agreed with the information on their role in the Work Programme that prime contractors had submitted to DWP

Read the full briefing from the survey here.


Website: ACEVO

Amanda Frewin

Research & Project Support

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