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Posts Tagged ‘welfare reform bill’

Likely concessions on welfare reform

The House of Lords defeated the Government on seven key elements of the Welfare Reform Bill; one of those elements include the proposal to cap out-of-work benefits at £26,000 per household.

In the Commons today, ministers aim to overturn the defeats and will table their own amendments to reinstate the original plans.

 

It is been reported that Secretary of State Iain Duncan Smith is likely to offer “transitional arrangements” to help families who will be hit by the cap which may include a new fund to help pay the moving costs of any family that cannot afford to remain living in a large home once the £26,000-a-year limit is introduced…. the size of the home is really irrelevant; large or small, the cost of living and indeed accommodation is higher in certain parts of the country than in others..

IDS may also offer a “grace period” so that benefit claimants who have lost their jobs after years of contributing National Insurance payments through work will not immediately fall under the cap. but will be allowed to claim unlimited benefits for a period of time.

Naturally the Lib Dems are claiming that they are a stablising force reining in the excessess of the Conservative wing of the Coalition government.. Who Knows…

The Labour Party is planning to table its own proposals which is that the cap should be set a local level… consistent with the acknowledged regional variation in the cost of living and housing…. Even with this, Labour’s general position is far too unclear even confused

Labour will oppose the Government’s amendments and table its own rival proposals — for the cap to be set at a local level, reflecting the cost of housing in different parts of the country.

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Household benefits cap defeated in the Lords

The Welfare Reform Bill has completed its Commons stages and is now in the penultimate stage in the House of Lords. Ministers have already said a defeat in the Lords will be overturned in the Commons, but it seems that the bill will be subject to a ping-pong effect until an agreement is reached.

Most recently, the government has been defeated in the Lords in a vote on its plans for a £26,000-a-year household benefit cap.

This was an amendment that child benefits should not be included in the cap, and this was backed by 252 to 237 peers.

The government argued that the benefit cap will save £290m next year, with 67,000 families losing on average £83 a week.

Benefit cap proposals:

  • From April 2013, the total amount of benefit that working-age people can receive will be capped so households on out-of-work benefits will not receive more than the average household weekly wage.
  • this applies to combined income from the main out-of-work benefits – Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, and Employment Support Allowance – and other benefits such as Housing Benefit, Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit, Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Exemptions for households in receipt of Working Tax Credit, Disability Living Allowance or its successor Personal Independence Payment, Constant Attendance Allowance and war widows and widowers.
  • Forecast to save £290m in 2013-14 and £330m in 2014-15.

Read more on the current progress of the Welfare Reform Bill in the House of Lords.

Amanda Frewin

Research & Project Support

 

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Lord Committee consideration of the Welfare Reform Bill

 

The Welfare Reform Bill completed its Commons stages on 15 June and completed its Committee stage in the House of Lords on 28 November. It had its first two days of Report stage on 12 and 14 December, with more expected in January 2012.

 

Progress of the Bill: where it is now

 

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Care home residents to receive mobility payments

Minister for Disabled People, Maria Miller, has announced that disabled people who live in residential care will continue to have their additional mobility needs met through Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

After months of consultation with disabled people and disability organisations, and the publication of the Low Review, the government has announced the decision.

An amendment to the Welfare Reform Bill will be brought forward to enable this payment to be carried out through PIP.

Maria Miller said:

“The reasoning behind the original decision was to ensure there were no overlaps in funding leading to double payments. We have spent the last few months gathering information and evidence and visiting disabled people in care homes to find out directly from them how their mobility needs are actually met in practice.

“We found a complex set of overlapping responsibilities have evolved which have allowed different local authorities to deal with the issue of funding of mobility in care homes in very different ways and some practices which have lead to overlaps in funding.

“However, I have always been clear that I would not make any change that would stop disabled people from getting out and about. Which is why after listening to the strong concerns of disabled people and their organisations, I have taken action and decided not to remove the payment.”

Read more

 

Amanda Frewin

Research & Project Support

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Direct payment of housing benefit to be reviewed

The government will come under pressure to review its plans for direct payment of housing benefit in parliament today.

Crossbench peer Lord Best has tabled an amendment to the Welfare Reform Bill calling for tenants to be given a choice as to whether housing benefit is paid direct to them or to their landlord. The bill is currently being debated in the House of Lords.

Under the proposals as part of the welfare bill, the housing element of the universal credit will generally be paid direct to tenants.

However, campaigners are concerned the new rules will mean tenants fall behind in rent payments, meaning they could risk losing their home. Housing associations are also concerned the change could discourage lenders from investing in the sector.

Last month welfare reform minister Lord Freud announced six demonstration projects to trial direct payment of housing benefit.

Lord Freud said changes would not affect ‘vulnerable people and pensioners’ but that the ‘majority of claimants renting in the social sector will be responsible for making direct payments to their landlords’.

Website: Inside Housing

 

Amanda Frewin

Research & Project Support

 

 

 

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Families will lose out with the abolition of the CSA

 

Gingerbread charity says nearly 300,000 families could go without child maintenance under proposals announced  in the welfare Reform bill.

Almost half the single parents who use the Child Support Agency (CSA) would not be able to afford to pay the fees to access the new child maintenance service, according Gingerbreads survey.

The poll found that 46% would not be able to afford the application fee of £100, or £50 for those on benefits.

The survey found that 72% of respondents said they would be unable to agree private arrangements with their former partners, which means their children could go without maintenance support.

Under proposals in the Welfare Reform Bill the CSA is to be phased out and be replaced by a child maintenance system which will include a compulsory “gateway” service for those seeking to claim money.

Single parents would have to show they had taken “reasonable steps” to set up an arrangement with their former partner otherwise they would have to pay the application fee of £100 or £50, as well as an ongoing charge of between 7% and 12% of the money collected by the service.

The department said its own research showed around 75% of fathers using the CSA and 51% of parents with care (mostly mothers) could make arrangements with the right help and support.

Welfare Reform Bill

Relevant clauses

 

Yes Minister comment

This will undoubted cause significant problems for families up and down the country… Through this measure the the unintended consequence is that thousands of families will be discouraged from apply and their families will be worse off:

The Coalition needs to be careful that it does not fall foul of the maxim that it “Knows the cost of everything but the value of nothing”

 

Eyullahemaye Henry-Miller

 

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