benefits

Government's benefits cap criticised again

Wed, 24/07/2013 - 12:11 -- nick

The government's benefits cap has come in for more criticism in today's Guardian newspaper.

Anne Perkins says the policy "will almost certainly be devastating to some families and grotesquely unfair to many", and will lead to some areas of cities and many parts of the south of England being off-limits to all but the richest people.

Benefit changes could push more towards loan sharks

Thu, 18/07/2013 - 13:34 -- nick

Benefits are in crisis in the UK, with real-terms cuts for the next three years and a cap affecting tens of thousands, as well as opinion polls showing many people - even those who get welfare payments - holding some negative views.

The latest challenge is the ending of the Social Fund, designed to help people in financial crisis, in favour of giving money to each local council and letting them choose how to spend it.

Rather than loaning desperate people the cash they need, many councils are providing in-kind support, including food banks and cast-off clothes and furniture.

Inflation goes up, benefits go down

Tue, 16/07/2013 - 13:55 -- nick

The UK's CPI inflation rate rose to 2.9% in June, up from 2.7% in May.

The government has restricted benefit increases to 1% per year for the next three years, and this latest rise means payments are falling further behind inflation, risking increasing poverty among welfare claimants.

The rate is the highest for 14 months, while the other measure of inflation, the RPI, showed price rises of 3.3%.

Benefit cap goes nationwide today

Mon, 15/07/2013 - 12:12 -- nick

The government's benefit cap is to be rolled out across the UK from today.

The cap, which sees working age claimants restricted to a maximum of £350 per week if they are single and £500 per week for those with families, has been piloted in four London boroughs from April and will be implemented in every other area of the UK between now and the end of September.

While disability benefits, pensions and in-work benefits are excluded from the cap, in practice the fact that the only payment made to claimants which is variable pays for housing means it is a housing benefit cap.

Universal Credit doesn't always pay despite government promises

Fri, 12/07/2013 - 12:55 -- nick

Despite the promises of government ministers the new Universal Credit system does not always pay.

The scheme joins up six working age benefits and tax credits with the aim of making it easier to take work and to make sure it leaves 'strivers' with more money at the end of the month.

Food banks say use has doubled since benefit cuts

Thu, 11/07/2013 - 13:52 -- nick

Despite the government's insistence that benefit cuts have nothing to do with increased food bank need, the number using them has doubled since cuts came into force.

The Trussell Trust, the UK's biggest food bank provider, says it has seen a 200% increase in the number of referrals for help since the April changes, and that more than half of these were linked to benefits issues.

New BBC show will see taxpayers live on benefits

Wed, 10/07/2013 - 12:45 -- nick

Could the average taxpayer live on benefits?

This question will be asked by a new BBC 1 show - We All Pay Your Benefits - to be broadcast tomorrow at 9.00 pm, which sees The Apprentice's Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford challenge four employed people to live on unemployment benefits to try to get a better undestanding of the problems it brings.

Work Programme got me a job - then jobcentre tried to take it away

Thu, 04/07/2013 - 13:26 -- nick

The Work Programme and jobcentre are there to help people into work.

So how would you feel if a jobcentre sanction prevented you from taking up a job the Work Programme had already helped you get?

This was nearly the experience of Philip Emans, a jobseeker from London.

His Work Programme provider helped him get a job as a cleaner at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital after being out of work for more than two years, which included a period of homelessness.

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