Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Crabb’
Sacked Work and Pensions Secretary, Stephen Crabb: “Plan to Slash Benefits Offends Everyone’s Sense of Social Justice”.
Reports the Independent, just now.
Former Conservative cabinet minister has said a plan to slash welfare “offends everyone’s sense of social justice” and called on the Government to help those affected.
Stephen Crabb said Chancellor Philip Hammond should introduce measures to “soften the blow” of cuts to Universal Credit, when he makes his Autumn Statement speech this week.
The former Work and Pensions Secretary also said the Government will have to review the pensions triple lock introduced by David Cameron, which guarantees payments rise each year, if it wants to do more to help working families.
Mr Crabb, who himself presided over cuts to some benefits while pensions secretary, told BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour there was a “problem” with plans to reduce the Universal Credit.
He said: “When you look at the distributional impact for the changes from the Budget in March, there is an S-curve on the graph which basically shows that people on the lowest incomes effectively lose money from the changes, people on the highest incomes effectively gain. I think the Chancellor is going to have to have something to say about that.
“I think looking at that graph to see that people on lower incomes will be losing money offends everyone’s sense of social justice. But it doesn’t mean he needs to ‘reverse ferret’ on those proposed cuts. There are other things he can do to soften the impact of that.”
The Huffington Post adds,
Just what, if anything, Hammond will do about welfare cuts this week is a pressing issue. On Radio 4’s Westminster Hour last night, former Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb pointed out the Chancellor will already have to explain where he’s going to find the £4bn lost (but not forgotten) in his own personal independence payment reforms axed after IDS’s departure.
On the vexed topic of Universal Credit cuts – cuts that critics say will hit many ‘just managing’ people in low-income work – Crabb said ‘I think that offends everyone’s sense of justice”. But he suggested Hammond would address it with broader help for people on low incomes rather than by reversing another welfare cut.
Continuing his rational approach to policy, Crabb also became the latest senior Tory politician to suggest that the state pension ‘triple lock’ could end after the next election. It has “served its purpose” and “there will be a case after 2020 to look again at that”. Damian Green has Work and Pensions Questions today – will he offer up similar thoughts?
One Tory MP leading calls for welfare cuts to be eased is Heidi Allen. But on Pienaar’s Politics she went perhaps a step too far for her colleagues. Asked if she’d ‘snog, marry or avoid’ Ed Balls, she replied “Maybe snog…I like a man who can move to music.” Viewers’ votes meant the former Shadow Chancellor survived again on Strictly last night despite the judges’ disdain. Popular with the people, unsupported by the experts…how very 2016.
Reported the Independent on the 8th of November.
Ex-Work and Pensions Secretary urges the Government to ‘fix’ the assessment process for Personal Independence Payments (PIPs).
A former Cabinet minister who was responsible for a controversial disability benefit test has admitted it is “traumatic” for applicants.
Stephen Crabb, who was sacked as Work and Pensions Secretary in July, said the Government needed to “fix” the assessment process for Personal Independence Payments (PIPs).
In a TV interview, the former Conservative leadership contender said there had to be system of benefit tests “when you’re giving out taxpayers’ money”.
But he added: “The way it has been done – I see this in my surgeries, every single MP in their surgery sees this – people who felt that the assessment procedure has been traumatic, intrusive, hasn’t been a comfortable experience at all. And that’s what we’ve got to fix.
Stephen Crabb on October the 5th.
Work and Pensions Secretary in March 2016.
The BBC reports.
Stephen Crabb has launched his bid for the Tory leadership promising no snap election and no second EU referendum.
The Preseli Pembrokeshire MP and work and pensions secretary said stability was his aim, warning that fresh polls would simply create more uncertainty.
Mr Crabb rejected claims he was prejudiced against gay people, after his opposition to same-sex marriage.
The contest was triggered when Prime Minister David Cameron announced he would resign after the Brexit vote.
This is believed to be his biggest rival:
Though an as yet undeclared outsider is expected to make a strong showing:
I suspect that many of the people who read, and comment on Ipswich Unemployed Action, not to mention those of us who are active in campaigns on these issues are not “young”.
But it’s hard not to be aware of the difficulties new generations face, not only the debts that students face for their entire lives, but the enormous cost of housing, the relentless pressures to conform to employers’ expectations, low paid and casual work, and, not least, the way that the Nosey Parkers of the DWP and the various, the endless, ‘providers’ of training can make life very difficult for anybody who doesn’t fit into their boxes.
Young people are not shy about talking of these issues.
Their position has got worse since the Tories came to power.
Last year we signaled the 2015 Budget’s raft of ‘welfare reforms’.
The following items stuck out – aimed at young people.
A “youth obligation” for those aged 18-21 that says they must either earn or learn, rather than going straight onto benefits after finishing school.
These young people will participate in an “intensive regime of support from day one” of their benefit claim”, and after six months will be expected to apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship, gain work-based skills, or go on a mandatory work placement, otherwise they will lose their benefits.
Scrapping the automatic entitlement to housing benefit for 18-21 year olds (with exceptions for the vulnerable and “other hard cases”).
It hasn’t been outlines what these vulnerable and hard cases are, but the clear danger of this policy is forcing young people to live with abusive parents/households they would prefer to escape for reasons of safety and wellbeing. Crisis, the homeless charity, predicts that this suspension of housing benefit will result in an increase in homelessness. Its chief executive Jon Sparkes comments: “Under-25s already make up a third of homeless people and there is a real danger these changes could make things even worse. For many young people, living with their parents simply isn’t an option.”
This followed, (September 2015)
The Youth Obligation and automatic entitlement
We’ve had confirmation from the Department for Work and Pensions that the introduction of the Youth Obligation, with its tougher conditionality, and the removal of “automatic entitlement” to housing support for 18-21 year olds will happen in April 2017. Both will only apply to young people making new Universal Credit claims.
The Youth Obligation will only cover the types of claimants who would currently be claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, so it will not include people who are sick or disabled. The feedback from Government has been that the intention of the new tougher conditionality is to provide greater levels of support to those who need it to help them find work.
The effects if these changes are beginning to filter through – and we would be interested to hear of how this “Youth Obligation” operates in practice as well as the direct effects on youth homeless rates.
Guest blog for Shelter Scotland, by Janice Blenkinsopp.
Changes in the benefits system means for low income members of the older age group of 25-34 years and how this may impact their housing options. Attention has tended to focus on their middle class counterparts who are unable to find well paid and permanent positions following a university degree or unable to afford to purchase a home without the help of parents, grandparents or government subsidy which may have consequences for their later welfare. The focus therefore of this research is on those who are low income, older young adults who are missing from these accounts – focussing specifically on younger adults, aged 25-34 years and their parents, using Edinburgh as a case study.
Of particular concern is the increasing of the age before which young people are treated as being fully adult within the social security legislation since this affects their housing options. Housing Benefit reforms in particular, restrict where low income young adults may live and increase (continued) dependence on parents, and their willingness to support their older children even though they receive no assistance from social security for this purpose. With this in mind, three particular areas of reform are being analysed to gain a deeper understanding of the interconnections between reforms relating to both housing and welfare policy on younger people aged between 25 and 34 years old. The main areas of reform identified for particular analysis are:
- the increases in the non-dependant deduction (NDD) rates from April 2011-14;
- the under occupancy reduction in benefits in the social rented sector from April 2013 (although becoming less relevant in Scotland);
- and the increase in age of those affected by the shared accommodation rate (SAR) applicable in the private rented sector from January 2012 and also being applied to social rented tenancies signed after 1 April 2016, with the entitlement changing from 1 April 2018.
It remains unclear why (other than to reduce the budget deficit) the SAR was extended to 25-34 year olds in 2012. In particular, does it imply that people who are unable to afford their full housing costs should share accommodation or continue living with their parents until they are aged 35? If so, how does wider society actually see people from the age of 25 to 34 years old? I would argue many would concur with David Cameron’s view which recognises that: “a generation of hardworking men and women in their 20s and 30s are waking up each morning in their childhood bedrooms – that should be a wakeup call for us.”
At this stage of their life most people are maturing and able to, or would wish to, support a mortgage and perhaps be settling down with partner. It is possible that too much is being read into these changes and the only reason that governments have actioned these policies could relate to nothing other than cost saving by restricting benefit entitlement.
Meanwhile it is clear that these people are not happy with their stay-at-home condition, or the threat to the toe-hold that they have in their own accommodation by their changes in housing benefit.
Many fear that they will never escape it, and that the only people laughing are the kind of criminals who cheered on Iain Duncan Smith and now, his successor, Stephen Crabb.
Stephen Crabb Scuttles into DWP Rocks.
Staff at the DWP have been telling people, often, really often, that Universal Credit will help us.
That we can make a rapid re-claim, for example, if we are in part-time work and our hours change.
This may well be the case, in theory. It would be a good thing, as anybody who’s had to make a Rapid Reclaim (information here, and:Reclaim JSA (‘rapid reclaim’) You can make a quicker claim for JSA online if you’ve had JSA in the last 26 weeks), knows.
The new system will allow the bundle of claims (Housing Benefit etc) to go together.
Some of us remain sceptical, particularly about Council Tax Benefit.
Our scepticism is increased with this story in the Indy today:
Delays in processing benefit payments left tens of thousands of people exposed to hardship in the past year, with some waiting weeks on end without state support, newly released official figures show.
Between March 2015 and February 2016, 154,309 people waited more than 10 days for a Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) claim to be processed, according to stats released by the Government in response to questions from the Labour MP Frank Field.
Officials also admitted they did not know how many new claimants of Universal Credit, which replaces six existing benefit payments with a single monthly payment, were having to wait longer than the normal processing time of one month.
Among the thousands left waiting for JSA in the past year, 44,104 waited more than 16 days, according to answers to Parliamentary questions submitted by Mr Field.
Delays in accessing benefits are one of the most common reasons given for using a food bank, according to the Trussell Trust, which runs more than 400 food banks throughout the UK.
Maybe all this will be magicked away when Universal Credit gets running.
Well, that’s the story of Stephen Crabb, and he’s sticking to it (or should that be clawing to it?).
The newly-appointed Work and Pensions Secretary has signalled that he will not cancel the Government’s flagship Universal Credit welfare reform plan.
In his first speech in the role Stephen Crabb said he as “committed” to the plan, which was the pet project of his predecessor Iain Duncan Smith.
Mr Duncan Smith stepped down in March after the most recent Budget, warning that the Government was balancing its books on the back of society’s most vulnerable with cuts to welfare.
Universal Credit, which seeks to integrate most welfare benefits into a single payment and reduce disincentives for people to move into work, has been the target of steep cuts by the Chancellor George Osborne.
Among elements slashed before it has been rolled out include work allowances and in-work benefits set to replace tax credits.
The programme has also been beset by delays, with the Government’s Major Projects Authority watchdog treating it as an all-new project in 2014 after a “reset”.
On the Politics sitewho’s becoming a must-read commentator on these issues, says today,
When Stephen Crabb replaced Iain Duncan Smith as the work and pensions secretary last month, there was hope among many disability campaigners that he would take the department in a new direction.
Crabb has first hand experience of life on welfare. Brought up in a council house by a single mother who at times relied on benefits, his appointment made a refreshing change to a Cabinet made up largely of millionaires.
The early signs were encouraging. The Sunday Times reported that he planned to cut ties with problematic welfare assessment contractors and had ordered DWP staff to come clean with the public about problems with Universal Credit. As we reported this week, documents relating to the flagship project, which IDS fought for years to keep hidden, have now been released. He also told his local paper, the Western Telegraph, that he only accepted the position at the DWP on the condition that cuts to the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) would be dropped.
But listening to his maiden speech on welfare reform yesterday, it was clear that while the person delivering the message has changed, the message itself has not. Just compare some of the key points he made to extracts of a speech by IDS in 2014.