Labour says universal credit will take 495 years to roll out as costs rise £3bn
Bedroom Tax: Bad News Government Tried to Bury on last Parliamentary Day of Year and…more bad news.
God Rest You Merry Gentlemen!
Christmas Cheer: reports Enigma.
Government accused of ‘Scrooge-like’ attitude to Christmas as jobseekers could face benefit sanctions for missing appointments on Christmas EveThe DWP will continue implementing George Osborne’s austerity measures with a ‘business-as-usual’ approach over Christmas, despite MP’s objections.
Newshound Enigma found this as well,
Cost of Iain Duncan Smith’s troubled plan for benefits rises to £15.8bn as Major Projects Authority report reveals HS2 also among schemes at high risk of failing.
The overall cost of Iain Duncan Smith’s key welfare scheme appears to have risen by £3bn to £15.8bn in two years, according to an official report that shows several other significant government programmes are also in danger of collapsing.
Universal credit, the troubled programme that plans to roll six welfare benefits into one payment, has also suffered a further year’s delay and will not be fully implemented until 2020.
The figures are disclosed in a Major Projects Authority report. It also shows that more than half of all of the government’s leading projects, including HS2, are in danger of failing.
A majority of seven million benefit claimants were supposed to be on the new welfare scheme by 2019, according to a statement from Duncan Smith last year.
According to the report, the “total budgeted whole-life costs” of universal credit will be £15.84bn and will be completed in April 2020.
In 2012, the estimated cost for universal credit was £12.85bn. No figures were available in 2013 because Duncan Smith was forced to reset the entire scheme.
The scheme, championed by Duncan Smith with David Cameron’s support, received royal assent in 2012 with initial plans for a full roll-out by the 2015 general election.
A pilot scheme has been introduced in selected areas, but only 65,000 people in the UK are currently claiming universal credit, according to government data.
Stephen Timms, the acting shadow work and pensions secretary, called for the government’s spending watchdog, the National Audit Office, to review the management of the scheme.
“These new figures have shown how wrong Iain Duncan Smith is to claim universal credit is ‘on time and on budget’. It will take 495 years to fully roll out universal credit at the current rate,” he said.
Today we have this (first spotted in the unemployed’s favourite daily, the ‘I‘)
A report ordered by the Government on the effects of the so-called bedroom tax was quietly released on Thursday.
It found that the removal of the spare room subsidy – otherwise known as the bedroom tax – has increased hardship among those affected, with nearly half reporting that they had to cut back on food spending to cope, a Government-ordered study has revealed.
Three quarters of people affected by the changes regularly run out of money by the end of the week or the month, the study found.
It also reveals that only a third of people affected who applied for emergency support to pay the rent received any help.
The Guardian gives more details.
Three-quarters of people affected by the bedroom tax say they have had to cut back on food, an independent evaluation published by the Department for Work and Pensions has found.
The research found that 46% said they had cut back on heating, 33% on travel and 42% on leisure. Among a control group of tenants unaffected by the bedroom tax, far fewer – 56% – said they were cutting back on food because of benefit changes.
The findings by the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research and Ipsos Mori were slipped out by the government on the last day of parliament before the winter break, along with a deluge of more than 380 other documents.
Its study found landlords were very concerned that some tenants were “in severe poverty and unable to pay the shortfall”. The report said 78% of claimants who were still affected by the bedroom tax after two years of the policy were regularly running out of money by the end of the week or month. They tended to pay the rent by using up savings, borrowing from family or friends or accruing debt.
It found that the effects of cutting back “had an impact on some claimants’ health and emotional wellbeing, with the most vulnerable reporting experiences of stress and worry”.
Claimants were able to use savings and borrowings in the first year of the bedroom tax but by the time of the second wave of qualitative research, in autumn 2014, claimants “who had been using their savings for the first year had depleted these and so were having to make greater cutbacks in their household budgets”.
The report found that only one in nine claimants escaped the bedroom tax by moving to a different property, and the vast majority of those affected were still affected nine months later.
Only 5% of those affected by the policy had been successful in finding extra work, of which half said they were then no longer affected by the bedroom tax.
A very merry Christmas looms….