Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Archive for the ‘Welfare Reform’ Category

High court bid to end discrimination against Legacy Benefit claimants.

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This has been an issue our contributors have long been concerned with:

Universal Credit increase: High Court challenge piles pressure on DWP to extend £20 uplift to all benefits.

The ‘I’.

The Government has come under renewed pressure to raise the value of all benefits in line with the increase ministers introduced for universal credit claimants at the start of the pandemic.

It comes as the High Court gave two people on employment and support allowance (ESA), one of the benefits being replaced by Universal Credit, permission to challenge the Department of Work and Pensions’ (DWP) policy on the uplift, which they claim is discriminatory.

In March 2020, the Government announced that people on universal credit and working tax credit will temporarily receive an extra £20 a week to cope with the disruption caused by coronavirus, but stopped short of extending the increase to people still on the old benefits system, many of whom are carers and those with disabilities. Nearly two million people on ESA have missed out on the uplift, worth £1,040 a year.

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The High Court’s decision to grant permission for the claim to be heard shows leaving out certain benefit claimants from the £20-a-week increase is arguably “unlawful”, he said.

“People dependent on the basic allowances provided by benefit payments are facing higher living costs during the pandemic. However, there is a difference in treatment between those on universal credit and those on legacy benefits, despite the fact that claimants in each group may have very similar circumstances.

“It is therefore welcome that this difference in treatment will be scrutinised by the High Court, particularly given the fact that almost two million disabled people are disproportionately affected by this decision.”

Written by Andrew Coates

April 30, 2021 at 5:49 pm

Call to raise Benefits to cope with Mental Health Crisis.

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Proper Benefits a Key to a Fairier Future.

People often talk of their worries about money, and none of more than those on benefits. It is less common to speak about their mental health, and the issues about plain and simple anxiety. It is one of those that governments do not admit but systems like Universal Credit and designed to create anxious claimants desperate to get out of a system that is designed to make them complete piles of job application, spend their time in ‘job search’, and constantly aware that they do not receive enough money to live properly on. Not to mention that many consider that they are being treated as refuse.

 

Raise benefits to curb UK crisis in mental health, expert urges

The welfare system is damaging the health of the poor and needs to be overhauled in the wake of the Covid pandemic, Britain’s leading expert on health inequalities has warned.

Sir Michael Marmot said increasing out-of-work benefits and support for low-paid workers as the country emerged from the pandemic could have a big impact in curbing a mental health crisis and even save lives.

Marmot, who chaired a seminal government review on health inequality in 2010 and warned last year that life expectancy had stalled for the first time in more than 100 years in England, said in an interview with the Observer that ministers should not “fiddle around the edges”, and instead should drastically reform the “uncaring” system in place.

“During the pandemic, we have seen that poor people got poorer,” he said. “We know that food insecurity went up. The likelihood of being in a shut-down sector increased the lower the income. So you’re either in a sector that was shut down, if you were low income, or you had to go out to work in an unsafe sector, or frontline occupation. Where we were in February 2020 was undesirable – and what happened with a pandemic is it made those inequalities worse.

“I have seen evidence that for some people in receipt of universal credit, there are mental health consequences. It is a brutalising system. Everyone should have at least the minimum income necessary for a healthy life. That means, ideally, all people of working age should be in work. That’s the desirable state.

“And in work, they should be paid a living wage. If they can’t work, for whatever reason, then the welfare system should be sufficiently generous for their health not to be damaged by that experience. We know what needs to be done. Let’s do it.”

This of course hardly helps people’s anxiety:

 

EXCLUSIVE Southampton MP Royston Smith charge the taxpayer £1 for his car parking during a visit to a food bank in November last year.

Still someone’s happy today:

 

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

March 21, 2021 at 3:54 pm

Kickstart Employment Scheme fails to get off the ground.

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“Fewer than 5,000 young people have started job placements on a £2bn Covid scheme that launched six months ago.”

There do seem to be people on Universal Credit assigned to ‘schemes’ to get them back into employment, or at least somebody I know told me in town this morning that he’d  had been put on one. How they can take place at the moment is hard to see.

 

But as Superted says, this is also the case

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey is aiming to create 250,000 jobs through the scheme – but in six months, fewer than 5,000 people have started their placements.

Fewer than 5,000 young people have started job placements on a £2bn Covid scheme that launched six months ago.

Cabinet minister Therese Coffey updated MPs today after admitting there had been a “backlog” in the flagship Kickstart scheme – which she intends to create “250,000 jobs”.

The Work and Pensions Secretary boasted there were now “almost 150,000 roles approved”, of which 30,000 vacancies were “live right now”.

But she told MPs the number of actual roles started was “over 4,000” – up from 1,868 in mid-January. It’s understood the figure is between 4,000 and 5,000.

Ms Coffey hailed a 75% jump in firms’ applications to host a young person after a minimum number of places was axed.

Not that you would read this on her Twitter feed.

 

Or here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

March 9, 2021 at 5:20 pm

Universal Credit “Has not Worked” – Labour.

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While we are waiting for the Budget this week…

 

No clear answer yet:

Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds says Universal Credit system needs radical reform but for now the £20 uplift must be retained during the pandemic

Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds has declared that Universal Credit “simply has not worked” and should be scrapped.

The call from Labour’s finance chief comes as claimants wait to hear if a coronavirus top-up on the benefit – £1,040 a year, equivalent to £80 a month or £20 a week – will be extended into the next financial year

Ms Dodds said the temporary rise for six million Brits must be “maintained during the pandemic” but in the long term, the welfare scheme must be replaced.

She spoke about Universal Credit on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, where she said: “In the near term what we’ve got to do is be clear to families that in the middle of a pandemic, they should not be seeing £20 less a week coming in when they’re struggling.

“In the longer term, what we really need to see is radical reform, scrapping that Universal Credit system because it simply has not worked for families.”

 

Today:

 

 

 

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Written by Andrew Coates

March 1, 2021 at 10:28 am

Calls for new Beveridge Report: building a decent welfare system

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This was on Channel Four last night:

These serious calls have been made in the last few days.

What British politicians won’t admit – we need to transform the welfare state

A conversation about a fundamentally different welfare state ought to fall two ways: between immediate answers to the cruelties of our current systems, and longer-term ideas about how to completely reinvent it. The former might include an end to universal credit’s built-in five-week wait, the abolition of the cruel and arbitrary benefit cap, and no more sanctioning. It should extend to a recalibration of housing benefit so that people – including key workers – can afford to live in even high-cost areas, a watershed rise in our miserable rates of statutory sick pay, and the upgrading of the minimum wage and national living wage to the so-called real living wage (£9.50 across the UK and £10.85 in London), with an ongoing link to inflation.

 

Louise Casey: ‘Are we ever going to create a Britain for everyone?’

 

The former homelessness tsar thinks we need big, radical reform to tackle hunger, rough sleeping and poverty. And she has a plan

“We need to move into Royal Commission territory,” she says. “A new Beveridge Report [drafted by the economist William Beveridge in 1942, this was the document that led to the founding of the welfare state]. That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about.” Crikey. Is this a job she would like to take on herself? I look at her steadily, wondering if she’s going to indulge in a bout of it’s-not-for-me-to-say. But, no. She doesn’t much go in for let’s pretend. “Yes, I’d love to be part of that,” she says. “Government can, if it wants to, do something on a different scale now. The nation has been torn apart, and there’s no point being defensive about that. We’ve got to gift each other some proper space to think. We’ve got to work out how not to leave the badly wounded behind.”

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We can get there quite quickly,” she says. “By March, there will be 6 million people on universal credit [in October, there were 5.7m]. Almost 4 million people are furloughed, and those still working are on less income [in a survey by the Resolution Foundation, 26% of adults reported suppressed wages during the first lockdown]. Unemployment has doubled [it stood at 1.72 million in November 2020], and will keep rising. Two million people are still on legacy benefits – which means they didn’t get the £20 uplift that came with universal credit. Then you add in the 5 million people who are in debt [42% of adults report using at least one form of borrowing to cover everyday living costs].

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Pre-pandemic, there were 280,000 homeless in England and Wales. Earlier this month, the government announced that the ban on bailiff-enforced evictions, which protects private renters, would be extended to the end of March. But it will end eventually. “At which point, family homelessness will rise,” says Casey. “If 25% of your population is affected, then you can’t just tweak old policies, working out the least expensive, least challenging thing that can be done. You need big new policies.”

Most of us will have views on this!

Written by Andrew Coates

February 23, 2021 at 10:03 am