Sanctions and low benefits lead to big rise in food bank use

Thu, 30/05/2013 - 12:26 -- nick

More than half-a-million people in Britain are now regularly forced to use food bank handouts to survive.

A report by Church Action on Poverty and Oxfam, 'Walking the Breadline', shows that "some of the increase ... is caused by unemployment, increasing levels of underemployment, low and falling income, and rising food and fuel prices."

Light at the end of the tunnel? No more benefit cuts, says Osborne

Tue, 28/05/2013 - 12:04 -- nick

Chancellor George Osborne has fought off attempts from his own cabinet ministers to raid benefits again, agreeing cuts in spending instead.

Osborne has set himself a target to slash £11.5 billion from the government's budget this year, and has already agreed reductions with seven government departments of up to 10%.

These are justice, energy, communities, Cabinet Office, Treasury, Foreign Office and Northern Ireland.

Work Programme can't work where there are few jobs

Tue, 21/05/2013 - 12:12 -- nick

The Work Programme cannot work in an area where there are few jobs.

According to The Guardian's Amelia Gentleman, who has spent time with a Work Programme provider in Hull, this high-unemployment area will never meet its targets when 55 people chase every job.

Speaking to frontline advisers, Gentleman found that those people who used to get Incapacity Benefit but have been passed fit to work and put on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) by Atos regularly are not fit at all.

One adviser told her:

Warning on tax credit scam emails

Tue, 21/05/2013 - 11:13 -- nick

The UK tax authority has warned people who receive tax credits not to be taken in by fake emails which ask for their details.

This is the time of year when those who receive credits are asked to renew their claims, but HMRC, which runs the scheme, has received reports of 22,000 emails being sent asking for payment and personal details.

HMRC has made clear it never asks for card details or other payment information by email.

Jobcentre sanctions - government delays publishing statistics

Mon, 20/05/2013 - 14:12 -- nick

The government was due to publish statistics on the number of sanctions handed out by jobcentres today, but has delayed the release.

UnemployedNet reported last week on the latest sanctions problems, which have seen accusations that jobcentre staff are being disciplined if they do not refer enough jobseekers for sanctions.

'Danger' in reducing benefits - OECD

Thu, 16/05/2013 - 11:50 -- nick

Britain has experienced a crisis of inequality during the financial crisis, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

And cutting benefits now would make the situation even worse, its report warns.

The OECD found that in the UK the “pain of the crisis was not evenly shared”.

Young adults were the hardest hit, with 4% more 18-25 year olds pushed in to poverty between 2007 and 2010.

Unemployment up 15,000 to 2.52m people - with UnemployedNet comment

Wed, 15/05/2013 - 12:18 -- nick

Unemployment in the UK rose by 15,000 over the last three months, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has confirmed.

This is the third rise in a row, bringing an end to the falling joblessness seen in 2012, and means the unemployment rate rose by 0.1% to 7.9%.

Reasonable growth in the number of jobs had been one consolation for the government in previous months, but this came to a shuddering halt with 43,000 fewer people in work over January - March 2013 than in October - December 2012.

Statistics authority raps Ian Duncan Smith on benefits claim

Thu, 09/05/2013 - 19:15 -- nick

Ian Duncan Smith's claim that 8,000 people have left benefits due to his new cap has been denied by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Duncan Smith had claimed that this fall showed that limiting claimant families to a maximum of £26,000 per year in benefits was having the desired effect:

"Already we've seen 8,000 people who would have been affected by the cap move into jobs. This clearly demonstrates that the cap is having the desired impact."



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