Saving our Safety Net Latest news

More and more workers need help with their rent

It’s getting harder and harder for low-paid workers and their families to find the money for the rent. Official figures published today show that rents charged by private landlords rose 2.1 per cent; wages on the other hand had risen just Read More

Local government cuts are hitting the poorest areas hardest

Back in 2010, the Spending Review announced that funding for local authorities, fire and police services would be cut by more than a quarter by April 2015. The same day, Eric Pickles wrote to local authority leaders, promising them Read More

Taxing disability benefits would hit hundreds of thousands of low-paid disabled workers

There’s something (horrible) for everyone in the list of possible benefit cuts leakedto the BBC last week. In this column I want to concentrate on the proposal that people would have to pay income tax on their disability benefits if their incomes including these benefits were over the minimum threshold.
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Front line Jobcentre workers aren’t responsible for benefit sanctions

Could this be the month when the general public start to worry about benefit sanctions? The Methodist church reported that approximately one hundred thousand children were sanctioned in 2013/14. This followed earlier work revealing that more than 100 people per day with mental health problems are having their Employment and Support Allowance sanctioned. Indeed, they showed that people with mental health problems are substantially more likely to be sanctioned than other claimants: Read More

58 per cent of benefit cuts will hit working families

As we come up to the election, the government’s plans for benefit cuts are going to be a vital issue. The reality of this policy is that most of these cuts have hit families in working poverty, but the politics of this debate mean that the key issue is whether the government can persuade voters that the typical victim is someone who could get a paid job, but doesn’t. Read More

85% of tax and benefit ‘savings’ have been at the expense of women

Yesterday the Independent Inquiry Into Women and Jobseeker’s Allowance published Where’s the Benefit. Chaired by Amanda Ariss of the Equality and Diversity Forum and co-ordinated by the Fawcett Society, the Inquiry reported important findings about how JSA indirectly discriminates against women. Read More

Most Remploy workers never got another job

When the government ended the subsidy for disabled workers at Remploy, Maria Miller, then minister for disabled people, said: “We are absolutely committed to supporting Remploy employees.” Most of those made redundant never got another job. So much for commitment… Read More

Cross-party MPs say benefit delays cause hunger

A cross-party group of MPs have been conducting a wide ranging inquiry into hunger in the UK, and their report is out today. Amongst their findings is that delays in the payment of benefits to newly unemployed claimants have become a major reason why people have to turn to food banks in such numbers in recent years.

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Jobseekeer’s Allowance costs 0.3% of GDP

A strong welfare state is one of the pre-conditions for higher living standards for working people. We won’t make progress until we recognise that unemployed people and working people need to support each other and not let ourselves be picked off one by one.

Read the full blog from Read More

£1.5 billion of cuts to benefits for pregnant women and babies

Maternity is a time when workers need to know the welfare state will be there for them. And babies can really be harmed by parents’ poverty, damaging their future health and life prospects. Support to people raising young children is one of the minimum standards we expect from any benefits system. That’s what makes the nearly £1.5bn of cuts that we’ve seen to maternity benefits and support for babies so scandalous.

Read TUC’s Richard Exell’s blog at Read More