Posts Tagged ‘house of commons’

Housing Minister Grant Shapps was challenged by Simon Hughes & Labour MP Karen Buck in the House of Commons about proposed changes to Housing Benefit. Simon Hughes called for Grant Shapps and DWP colleagues to meet a cross-party group of London MPs to ensure that the policy not unfair.

See House of Commons questions


The reforms will save nearly £2 billion in the financial year 2014-15 and marks the first plank of the reform of the benefits system.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) will now be restricted to a maximum of four bedrooms for new and existing claimants. Alongside this, weekly LHA rates will be capped at £250 for a one bedroom property, £290 for two, £340 for three and £400 for a four bedroom property.

LHA rates will now also be based on the thirtieth percentile of rents of the local area. The Coalition argues that the impact of this reform is that hard working individuals and families will no longer have to subsidise people living in properties they themselves could not afford. From April 2013 LHA will be uprated by CPI.

To help make work pay from April 2013, people who have been on Jobseeker’s Allowance for 12 months or more, will have a 10% reduction in their Housing Benefit.

Working age HB claimants who are living in a property that is too large for their household size will have their benefit capped. To help the most vulnerable people who could be affected by this change, the Additional Discretionary Housing Payments budget will be tripled to £60 million a year from 2013-14.


Read Full Post »

As we move towards the Work programme there are valuable lessons to learn and there is much that we can build on.

It s a while ago, but I think it is still very relevant.  On 3rd March 2010 The House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee published its report on the Management and Administration of Contracted Employment Programmes. The Committee examined DWP Commissioning Strategy and FND in 2009.

One of the conclusions drawn was that whilst DWP saw itself as having a “market stewardship” role “there was no evidence of this happening in practice’. The report examined several examples of potentially unfair treatment of sub-contractors and added ‘….Whilst we do not know how widespread this problem is, neither does the Department and we call on them to clarify what constitutes fair treatment of subcontractors and ensure that prime contractors meet these standards. [the statement goes on]………the Department has shown no willingness to get involved with even the most serious cases”.

However in response to the question;

“…If there was evidence that a subcontractor was not making enough money to be able to run the service that they were providing, [or if] they were effectively subsidising the work that they were doing as part of the contract from other sources of income, would you ever want to be involved in that?”

Alan Cave responded;

“If that situation were arising because of a breach of a code of conduct, we would be involved.

Again the commercial relationship is with the prime contractor. They are responsible for delivering what that contract needs to deliver in totality, so we hold the prime contractor to account for that”.

Mr Heald: In Glasgow we met one company who had been delivering a particular contract for seven years, they did not get the subcontract, and now what has happened is the large prime company has taken over their offices and their staff and so they have lost out. Is that not a bad example to be setting?”

Mr Cave:That is an example of competition, is it not? They have lost to competition and the consequence of that is that the prime contractor who ran the competition has had the staff and the..”

Mr Heald:This is exactly the attitude that I was hoping you might push back on. In Scotland one of the things that rather surprised us was that in the first round of Flexible New Deal the three prime contractors who had put in had each named the other two as their main subcontractors, so it did not matter who won, the big boys did. That is what worries us. Some of these small organisations which have done very good work and which are the most innovative in the niches and really delivering on the streets may end up getting parked”.


VERY Interesting……  we need to be mindful of this.  See our piece on “Threshold Providers”

Read Full Post »