Benefit changes mean £31 weekly loss for hard-up families

Thu, 15/08/2013 - 11:26 -- nick

Three-quarters of claimants will not be able to avoid hardship under the government's new benefits regime by moving house or getting a job.

A study by the Local Government Association (LGA) has shown that housing and other benefit cuts affecting the UK's 1.18 million workless households will lead to hardship for most.

Benefit cap imposed nationwide from today

Mon, 12/08/2013 - 15:08 -- nick

The government's benefit cap has been imposed on every area of the UK from today.

The cap, which limits benefit payments to families to a maximum of £26,000 per year, has been rolled out in the final 40 councils that had not previously delivered it, and its implementation will be completed by the end of September.

The benefit cap has been criticised for many reasons since its introduction, including the fact that it has been calculated on national average salary when the family earning at that level would receive benefits on top, increasing their income.

Benefits forgotten in Universal Credit chaos

Wed, 07/08/2013 - 11:34 -- nick

Up to fourteen benefits may have been forgotten in the government's dash towards implementing its chaotic Universal Credit system.

Known as 'passported benefits', they include free school meals, health benefits and legal aid, and have a value that could run into thousands of pounds each year for some families.

The fear has been triggered by an appearance from under-fire Work and Pensions Secretary Ian Duncan Smith in front of a committee of MPs.

Universal Credit in chaos as DWP staff describe "panic"

Mon, 05/08/2013 - 11:50 -- nick

The government's flagship Universal Credit scheme is in chaos after staff working on it called it "soul-destroying" and "unbelievably frustrating".

Universal Credit was supposed to unite out-of-work and in-work benefits, making it easier for unemployed people to take work and ensuring work always pays, but a survey of Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) staff leaked to The Guardian shows that, behind closed doors, all is not well.

Palace exploits unemployed - 350 Buck House staff on zero hour contracts

Wed, 31/07/2013 - 17:59 -- nick

Buckingham Palace has been accused of exploiting unemployed people by using zero hour contracts for temporary staff.

The Palace opens its doors to visitors every summer, but the 350 staff taken on to supervise the attraction have no guaranteed work at all.

The news has come two days after retail firm Sports Direct, owned by Newcastle United bigwig Mike Ashley, was revealed to have 20,000 staff on the same arrangements.

These contracts are a headache for workers, who can't budget, struggle to get benefits and are held back from finding more suitable work.

BBC fails viewers with biased and inaccurate benefits coverage

Wed, 31/07/2013 - 14:25 -- nick

The BBC has been rapped by its own watchdog for failing viewers of the programme 'The Future State of Welfare'.

The show, fronted by Radio 4 attack dog John Humphrys, was shown in October 2011, and was found to be both innacurate and biased.

It was made to consider the government's welfare reform bill which was going through parliament at that time, and spoke to a range of claimants including those on incapacity benefit, the long-term unemployed, people on housing benefit and lone parents.

Younger people are not as anti-benefits as painted

Wed, 31/07/2013 - 13:12 -- nick

Young people have been getting more anti-benefits over the last few years, we have been told.

But an article in today's Guardian says these attitudes have been exaggerated, and that political parties that try to exploit them for votes are likely to be disappointed.

Analysing the British Social Attitudes Survey, the writers show that those born since 1979 - known as Generation Y - have a fairly stable view of public spending, with 93% supporting increasing or maintaining tax at the same level to support spending on health, education and social benefits.

Ian Duncan Smith - 'I'm proud of welfare reforms'

Mon, 29/07/2013 - 12:51 -- nick

Ian Duncan Smith has written on the government's welfare reforms on The Guardian's website.

Proudly proclaiming that the "government has embarked on one of the most aggressive programmes of welfare reform Britain has ever seen", the Work and Pensions Secretary appears to believe that aggression is a notable virtue when dealing with the lives of some of Britain's poorest people.

Failure upon failure - government's welfare reforms unravel

Fri, 26/07/2013 - 15:39 -- nick

The government's welfare reforms may be popular with some voters but they are coming apart at the seams.

An article in today's Guardian examines these multiple failures, the latest of which was hidden behind royal baby news this week when ministers were forced to admit that work capabilty assessors for Atos were to be retrained or banned from government contracts.

Sitting a Work Capability Assessment soon? Practice questions here

Wed, 24/07/2013 - 14:31 -- nick

Have you been told to sit a Work Capability Assessment soon? The website Benefits and Work has put together an online test just like the one you will go through so you can be prepared for what is to come.

The site makes clear that you might come to different conclusions than the assessor, but it should help you understand how to deal with the test ahead.

Go to the online test



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