Archive for November 10th, 2011

Work and Pensions Committee

Select Committee Announcement

10 November 2011
For Immediate Release:
AN55 2010–12



The Work and Pensions Committee will publish the Government response to its Sixth Report of Session 2010-12, The role of incapacity benefit reassessment in helping claimants into employment (HC 1641), on Friday 11 November at 11.00 am.

Further information

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), Sheila Gilmore (Lab, Edinburgh East), 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


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Welfare Reform: Where are we?

House of Lords that’s where


The 2011 Welfare Reform Bill is now in Grand Committee Stage in the House of Lords.

  • It will replace existing out-of-work benefits and tax credits with a single Universal Credit.
  • In-work conditionality (see Briefing note 11) will be defined by an earnings threshold: the equivalent of a 35-hour week on the national minimum wage (currently £212.80). Workers who fall below this threshold must increase their work.


  • The threshold for single parents with a child under 13 will be about 20 hours with gross pay of £120. With children over 12 they will be expected to work full time within 90 minutes of their home.


  • Conditionality will be Personalised (see Briefing note 12). Mothers and fathers will be treated as separate individuals rather than as a family. With a child under 13, one must be designated as the carer who will be under the same conditionality as a single parent. The other will be treated as a single worker. A couple with children over 12 will both be expected to work 35 hours.



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“I am a qualified Doctor – I have something to offer – but I am stuck on benefits.”

A small but heartbreaking problem I come across is highly qualified women from other countries, now living in the UK, who desperately want to work but are stuck living on benefits.

Fatima* is a Dcotor; Amina is a Judge; Dacha is a teacher; Halima is a nurse; and Yasmin is a midwife. They are all now British citizens, but studied and practised their profession abroad.

For a variety of reasons: being a refugee; marriage; perhaps just wanting a better life, they are now living in the UK and  find themselves on benefits. When they visit an adviser they have been told that their qualification is not recognised in this country, and or their English is not good enough to practise.

A relatively small investment now to upgrade their professional qualifications and improve their English would make a massive difference to their own lives, their ability to provide for their families and move them from claiming benefits to contributing taxes.

I have started a project to monitor this issue and would be grateful if you could help by recounting your experiences like this.

I will be trying to identify ways of supporting these parents – perhaps a payment by results programme would work here. Or perhaps there are charities or professional organisations that would be willing to help fund these parents.

Any ideas you have on this are most welcome.

See more from Take Three Days

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Lone parents with 5 and 6 year olds to move on to JSA – Implications for Advisers

Lone parents whose youngest child is aged between 5 and 6 have started to receive letters informing them that next year they will be moving off Income Support and onto JSA. This is a fulfilment of the Conservative Party Manifesto pledge.

In this blog I want to outline some key issues for Employment Advisers to consider..

30,000 More Lone Parents on JSA
The JSA figures show that parents of older children find it easier to move into work than those with younger a child. Around 35,000 additional Lone Parents joined JSA when parents of children aged 12-15 were included. By the time the age was down to 7 a further 70,000 had joined, with around 50,000 of those being parents of 7 and 8 year olds. It is likely that another 30-50,000 parents will join between 2012 and 2013.

The majority of the clients will be women under 35. It will be worthwhile considering how your office looks to them.  Does it feel welcoming and safe.  Will they have opportunities to meet with other parents like themselves?

Job requirements
Many will seek part-time, school hours, term-time work. This greatly diminishes the number of jobs available to them and often condemns them to minimum wage jobs – which make it hard to be much better off in work. Have you got an approach to encourage parents to feel more confident to take on a broader range of jobs.

Academic year
We know lone parents will best be able to make meetings in term-time and school hours. But it is worthwhile considering the time of year the appointment is made. How can you take advantage of the rhythm of the school year to help parents move into work. We are working on a project looking at how to use the time before the Summer holidays and Christmas to focus parents on future j0b seeking. I’ll let you know how that gets on.

Childcare – build up confidence
Parents who have used childcare, whether formal or family, find it easier to get back to work. But we need to remember that five and six year olds can find school more stressful than younger children find full time nursery. In such cases it would be much better for parents to build up their childcare use over time rather than be expecting their children to start only when they start work.

See Take Three Days

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