Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Archive for the ‘Welfare Reform’ Category

Cut in Universal Credit Dominates Benefits News.

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Our contributors raise issues about benefits sanctions, work ‘coaches’, the Work and Health Programme and Training Services, which got money from the European Social Fund, Restart, the risks of opening Job Centres, Internet Access, and the State Pension and Pension Credit (well worth applying for if you have little money and, obviously, no private pension).

When this Blog was first set up we exchanged a lot of experience on back-to-work ‘schemes’, including placements in variety of companies and public services. Many had serious difficulties with them, probably most with the ‘courses’ given by enterprises like SEETEC. They now seem to be have got set up again.

But the news on Benefits remains overshadowed by the coming cut in Universal Credit.

‘We keep on struggling’: Families on Universal Credit prepare for life without the £20 uplift

Some people, on Legacy Benefits, never got that “uplift”.

Sky.

It’s just under a month to go until the £20 Universal Credit uplift, put in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic, comes to an end.

It’s being called the biggest overnight social security cut since World War Two.

This autumn, as the government seeks to claw back some of the unprecedented emergency spending undertaken since COVID-19 hit the UK, familiar security blankets like the £20 uplift to Universal Credit are set to be removed.

It won’t be without its consequences.

Doctors, charities and even some Conservative MPs are calling on the government to rethink its decision to end the uplift.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) says that most parts of England, Scotland and Wales will see more than one in three families and their children affected as a result of the £1,040-a-year .

The Trussell Trust estimates that nearly a quarter of a million parents on Universal Credit fear not being able to sufficiently put dinner on the table for their children when the £20 cut comes into force from October.

Benefits Boss Coffey has been on a jolly in Japan.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 5, 2021 at 5:41 pm

Cut to Universal Credit Payments Still on the Cards.

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Let’s Not Forget that not everybody. those on Legacy Benefits for example, Got the £20.

DWP could cut Universal Credit when lockdown ends in less than a month

Lockdown restrictions were due to end on June 21 but were delayed by four weeks to July 19

Universal Credit and Tax Credit claimants say £20 cut to ‘vital lifeline’ leaving them struggling to sleep

Daily Record’

Almost half (46%) of adults in households on Universal Credit or Tax Credits are worried that the upcoming £20 cut will affect their ability to afford food.

This is according to national poverty charity Turn2us who added that some families were suffering from anxiety, stress, depression and loss of sleep.

Almost half (46%) of adults in households on Universal Credit or Tax Credits are worried that the upcoming £20 cut will affect their ability to afford food, according to national poverty charity Turn2us.

The release of the research marks the start of a three month countdown to the cut, when Universal Credit claimants will lose £20 a week from their benefits. The September removal of this vital lifeline could see half a million people, including 200,000 children, pulled into poverty overnight.

For the five million households on Universal Credit, and one million on working tax credits, the concerns are widespread; nearly one in two (44%) will struggle to pay bills, one in three (29%) don’t know if they will be able to continue pay their rent or mortgage, and one in five (20%) will not be able to stay out of debt.

The financial consequences of the cut are leading to a worsening mental health crisis for people relying on social security to survive:

  • 47% are experiencing anxiety about the cut
  • 32% are experiencing depression about the cut
  • 30% are experiencing loss of sleep about the cut
  • 46% are experiencing stress about the cut

Thomas Lawson, Chief Executive at Turn2us, said:

“A decade of caps, cuts and freezes to the UK’s social security payments has left it one of the least generous in Europe. Many of us already struggle to pay for the bare essentials. If the government forges ahead with its cut to Universal Credit, it could plunge many more into hunger and debt. It’s just not right that families are left unable to afford to put food on their tables and are having to turn to food banks so they and their children don’t go hungry.

“We urge the government to not just keep the £20 benefit increase, but to make it permanent and extend it to legacy benefits. Failure to do will have a detrimental impact on people’s lives and livelihoods – and their ability to contribute to our recovery.”

The charity is working in partnership with a coalition of other organisations and lived experts as part of the #KeepTheLifeline campaign. Previous findings from the campaign show that the vast majority of the British public (59%) want the uplift to be made permanent.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 1, 2021 at 5:19 pm

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