Pensions and Benefits

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Universal Credit

  • Jan.16.2019: The A to Z of Universal Credit. Since it was announced in 2010, the project to transform the benefits system has been beset by problems. What is going wrong? It was intended to roll the 6 main benefits into one monthly payment to simplify the process and “make work pay”. Its origins are in a 2008 white paper by New Labour’s work and pensions secretary James Purnell. Universal Credit delays payment for 5 weeks by design, but often the wait is longer. It can also disincentivise parents from working because there is no money coming in for childcare or because they won’t receive as much as previously, despite working more hours. “They [the govt] make decisions on what works for them, not for us.” Anoosh Chakelian, The Guardian.
  • Jan.05.2018: Threat of revolt forces rethink of ‘catastrophic’ universal credit. Amber Rudd, work and pensions secretary, is to scrap plans for an imminent parliamentary vote allowing 3m existing welfare claimants to be transferred to the controversial universal credit system. Rudd will now seek approval from MPs only for a pilot scheme that transfers just 10,000 people from the old to the new system. Only after the pilot has been assessed will MPs be asked to approve the full roll-out. The move is expected to be part of a major rethink designed to quell concerns about the programme’s roll-out and avoid a damaging Tory rebellion. Michael Savage, The Guardian.
  • Nov.12.2018: Universal credit will cost more than system it replaces, study shows. Resolution Foundation research suggests 600,000 families could be worse off. Changes to the benefit system were intended to incentivise work after the govt argued that the current system discouraged people from increasing their hours spent in work. However, the Resolution Foundation has claimed that the new universal credit system is similarly flawed. Its architect Iain Duncan-Smith has urged the govt to reverse the cuts that have been made to welfare spending. A DWP spokesman said "Word Salad". Mattha Busby, The Guardian.
  • Nov.08.2018: Universal credit: Whitehall wars ‘strangled Iain Duncan Smith benefits reform at birth’. George Osborne argued strongly against the introduction of the benefit as chancellor in the coalition government, but he was overruled by David Cameron. Ian Duncan Smith wanted to be known as the great man who saved Britain by solving benefits. Lord Freud, who was the welfare reform minister between 2010 and 2016, believes the rows undermined the implementation of universal credit. Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat former deputy prime minister, says that he repeatedly tried to protect the welfare budget in the coalition but once the Conservatives got into power on their own it was slashed. more Rachel Sylvester, The Times.
  • Nov.07.2018: Universal credit: Scrap ‘immoral’ freeze on benefits, leading Tories tell May. Theresa May is warned by senior Tories today to end the benefit freeze for 7m people or see her party suffer at the next election. The freeze, introduced by George Osborne in 2015, means a real-terms cut in income for millions of people and is due to continue until Apr.2020. Five former cabinet ministers, including Justine Greening and David Davis, are leading the call for benefits to be raised now, in line with inflation. The £1.4 bn move is also backed by Nicky Morgan, chairwoman of the Treasury select committee, the former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith and the former universities minister Lord Willetts. Some low-income households on universal credit are still likely to lose up to £7,500 a year, according to a study by the data analytics company Policy in Practice. The research also found that 40% of families would be poorer under universal credit compared with 30% who would gain. About 2.8m families would be worse off, losing an average of £58 a week or £3,016 a year. The self-employed, the disabled and those with more than two children would be hit hardest, with some households losing more than £7,500 a year. Six Tories who lead select committees also raise their own concerns about growing deprivation. They are: Mrs Morgan; Tom Tugendhat (foreign affairs); Rob Halfon (education); Sarah Wollaston (health); Bob Neill, (justice); and Damian Collins (culture). Mr Duncan Smith, the architect of universal credit, said that he would be “very happy” if the freeze were scrapped. Rachel Sylvester, Alice Thomson, The Times.
  • Oct.06.2018: Families lose £200 a month in universal credit switch. Esther McVey, the work and pensions secretary, confirmed privately to colleagues that millions of families would lose £200 a month under the new system. Ms McVey told cabinet colleagues that half of lone parents and about two thirds of working-age couples with children would lose the equivalent of £2,400 a year. Charities such as the Trussell Trust have warned that plans to move the three million people who are receiving tax credits and disability benefits on to universal credit from April will trigger a vast increase in demand for food banks. Former chancellor George Osborne slashed the investment in universal credit shortly before he left office in order to achieve big welfare savings of £12 billion. The Resolution Foundation, an independent think tank, said that the govt should own up to the fact that decisions made in 2015 and 2016 were about to cause misery for millions of people. Sam Coates, The Times.
  • Jun.07.2018: Universal credit tips poor into hardship, says charity. Joseph Rowntree Foundation says cuts, debts and housing costs push poor over the edge. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation says a “tangled combination” of benefit cuts, delays and sanctions, together with harsh debt-recovery practices and high housing rental costs pushed people already in poverty over the edge into extreme deprivation. Frank Field recently argued that for “the first time in postwar history, the state has become a generator of destitution”. A DWP spokesman said "Word Salad". Patrick Butler, The Guardian.
  • 160,000 Children To Miss Out On Free School Meals Thanks To Universal Credit Plans. Some children currently receiving free lunches WILL miss out. Owen Bennett, HuffPost News.
  • Jan.29.2018: Little-known Universal Credit change for the working poor is happening soon - and it's got experts worried. If you're self-employed, part time, zero-hour or a 'gig economy' worker, your earnings change from one month to the next. That's a problem - because it means in a good month, you might earn too much to claim Universal Credit, and be kicked off it. Earnings over this threshold are called surplus earnings. When you reapply for UC, you'll now have any surplus earnings you've racked up in the previous 6 months taken into account. Say you have a bumper month in May and earn £3,000 over the threshold. But then in June you're £300 under it. You still won't get UC. That's because when you put the two months together, you're still over the threshold by £2,700. What has happened, however, is £300 of your surplus pot has been 'erased' - and that'll keep happening as the months tick by. So if you have a really bad month in July, and you're £2,800 under the threshold, you'll start being able to claim benefits again because you've dipped £100 under the threshold. The Mirror, Dan Bloom
  • Jan.10.2018: One million callers to Universal Credit helpline 'abandoned' before receiving help. Jim McMahon MP cited reports claiming staff manning the helpline were struggling to cope due to the volume of calls. "Everything we hear about UC suggests that it is failing in its purpose to provide help and support to vulnerable and low income claimants". iNews, iTeam
  • Oct.24.2017: Ten scandals since 2010 that show Britain is ruled by the loony right. Universal credit was another big idea – a good paradigm of this govt's mismanagement of just about everything. From the start Iain Duncan Smith was never open about its intent or effect: for all his promise of its strong work incentives, the taper rate was always going to see claimants lose 63p from every extra pound they earned. (If 63p were a top tax rate, they would call it an outrageous disincentive to hard work.) The six-week payment delay for this new benefit may be cut to four, but that still leaves those without savings debt-ridden and trapped in rent arrears, as the new Smith Institute report from the London boroughs Southwark and Croydon proves. At vast cost, what started as a minor administrative improvement leaves all families that are moving on to universal credit heavily out of pocket, many of them forced to rely on food banks. Seven years after it was conceived, the system is worse, not better. ExecReview, Polly Toynbee
  • Oct.09.2017: Universal Credit - 80% Tax Rate in 2017. Some householders who get the new means-tested Universal Credit will keep just 20p of every £1 extra they earn – an effective tax rate of 80%. In some parts of England it could be more - up to 82.4p in every £1 that is earned, leaving them with barely 17p for every extra £1 they earn. Those losses could undermine the work incentives which the new system is designed to create. For graduates on incomes above £17,775 but low enough to get Universal Credit, the deductions would be more, adding about 2.5% to those figures. Worst case would be earn £1 keep 15.3p. Paul Lewis Money, '
  • Oct.2016: Safe as houses: The impact of universal credit on tenants and their rent payment behaviour in the London boroughs of Southwark and Croydon, and Peabody. In October 2016, the Smith Institute was commissioned by the London Borough of Southwark, in partnership with the London Borough of Croydon, Peabody and Family Mosaic to undertake research into the impact of Universal Credit (UC) roll out on tenants, with specific regard to rent payment behaviours and the support tenants were receiving. The Smith Institute + Britain Thinks, Paul Hunter
  • Mar.19.2016: The Iain Duncan Smith legacy? Universal credit will not transform welfare. In his first budget in Jul.2010, George Osborne promised to “balance the books” by 2015. The Department for Work & Pensions was by far the largest spending department – but not only had the govt, via the “triple lock”, pledged to increase spending on pensioners, but Iain Duncan Smith's “big idea” – rolling six benefits into one universal credit – meant more spending on low-paid working people, too. After acrimonious negotiations, a deal was reached. He could have his universal credit, but the trade-off was very large cuts in disability benefits. ... Having an original, consistent vision for the transformation of the benefit system was not a fault, ... But when confronted with evidence or data that challenged his world view, he ignored it or twisted and misrepresented the statistics. When his advisers told him to slow down, he refused to listen. The Guardian, Jonathan Portes
  • Nov.2010: Universal Credit: welfare that works. Universal Credit marks the beginning of a new contract between people who have and people who have not. At its heart, UC is very simple

and will ensure that work always pays and is seen to pay. UC will mean that people will be consistently and transparently better off for each hour they work and every pound they earn Department for Work & Pensions,

Personal Independence Payments

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) replaced the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) system.

  • Jan.15.2019: Changes to disability benefits cost £4bn in extra welfare payments. OBR’s figures will bolster disability groups’ calls for overhaul of PIP system. A saving of £2bn was expected by 2018, but that has since been revised to an over-spend by £1.5bn to £2bn, leaving an estimated £4.2bn gap in the public finances. The PIP system has been described as a “vicious attack” on disabled people. Phillip Inman, The Guardian.
  • Feb.01.2018: PIP fiasco should have been avoided. Baroness Thomas says the Lords should have stopped personal independence payment regulations last March, and Dr Stephen Pacey, a former judge, who for decades heard appeals from DWP decisions, says the govt should take full responsibility for the cost of the review. Letters, The Guardian.
  • 2018.01.19: Written Statement by Esther McVey. On 21st December 2017 the High Court published its judgment in the judicial review challenge against regulation 2(4) of the Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 S.I. 2017/194. The Regulations reversed the effect of the Upper Tribunal judgment in MH. I wish to inform the House that, after careful consideration, I have decided not to appeal the High Court judgment.
  • 2018.01.18: Watchdog orders DWP to publish secret reports on Atos and Capita PIP failings The Information Commissioner has ordered the Department for Work & Pensions to release documents that are likely to expose the widespread failings of two of its disability benefit assessment contractors. DWP has been attempting to prevent the documents being released since receiving a Freedom of Information Act request from campaigner John Slater in Dec.2016. Disability News Service, John Pring

Employment and Support Allowance

Sponsored by Ian Duncan Smith and Lord Freud. Cut ESA WRAG benefits for sick and disabled people by £30 per week.

Benefit Sanctions

  • May.22.2018: We KNOW benefit sanctions are ineffective and dangerous – so why do the Tories REALLY inflict them on us? There is nothing in the report that we did not know already. It is the govt’s reaction that requires study. The comment from the Department for Work & Pensions makes it clear that the Conservative govt will continue with its regime of sanctions, that has been proven to cause serious harm to many claimants. "Benefit sanctions are ineffective at getting jobless people into work and are more likely to reduce those affected to poverty, ill-health or even survival crime, the UK’s most extensive study of welfare conditionality has found." ... Mike Sivier, Vox Political.
  • Mar.21.2013: Jobcentre was set targets for benefit sanctions. The govt has launched an inquiry after it was forced to admit that Jobcentres have been setting targets and league tables to sanction benefit claimants despite assurances to parliament this week that no such targets were being set. A leaked email shows staff being warned by managers that they will be disciplined unless they increase the number of claimants referred to a tougher benefit regime. The employment minister, Mark Hoban, had assured MPs on Tuesday: "There are no league tables in place. We do not set targets for sanctions. I have made that point in previous discussions." The league table could only have been drawn up through information provided by senior managers in the Department for Work & Pensions. The Guardian, Patrick Wintour
  • Screenshot of email here: @PhillipTrestain

Social Care Policy

  • Aug.20.2018: The only way is ethics: a new approach to outsourcing social care. Outsourcing public services, especially to the private sector, has been the model of choice in the UK for around 30 years. Nowhere has this been more the case than in adult social care, where private companies account for the vast majority of provision in both the care home and homecare market. There is scant evidence from any sector that the outsourcing model works, and social care is no exception. From the collapse of Southern Cross Healthcare in 2011 to the handing back of contracts, the model is struggling. In addition, scandals such as Winterbourne View, the Morleigh Group in Cornwall and Mendip House are far from isolated incidents. ... Much less attention, however, has been given to the ethics of decision-making among public services commissioners – and the need for an ethical commissioning strategy. This could cover a range of requirements... Bob Hudson, Professor, Centre for Health Services Studies, Kent University, The Guardian.

Old Age Care

  • Feb.14.2018: Adult social care: is privatisation irreversible? The privatisation of adult social care is a 30-year process that has grown unchecked, made worse by austerity politics. Should the private sector lose interest and leave the market, the consequences will be grave. Bob Hudson writes that, whilst it is not feasible to eliminate a model that has become so deeply embedded, improvement is possible. He explains how this would include a combination of better funding and smarter commissioning. Bob Hudson, The London School of Economics and Social Science.
  • May.20.2018: Before the golden years begin to tarnish, set up a lasting power of attorney. Families are being urged to set up lasting powers of attorney for their loved ones to help protect against the financial impact of being diagnosed with dementia. This week is Dementia Action Week, organised by the charity Alzheimer's Society, which is calling on people to take steps to help those living with dementia, or their carers, as well as for communities to become more dementia-friendly. About 850,000 people in Britain have the condition, according to the charity, with a new diagnosis made every three minutes. Quilter Cheviot, an investment firm whose clients have an average age of 64, has at least one “dementia champion” in each of its 12 offices. Wealth management firm James Hambro & Co told Money it was starting to include planning for dementia within its financial advice process for clients. According to experts, the best way to help sufferers with their finances is to use a lasting power of attorney (LPA), but this must be set up while the person has the mental capacity to do so. Ruth Emery, The Times.
  • May.20.2018: Happy 100th — only 17 more years till you’re mortgage-free. Damian Green gave a hint of this last week when he claimed ministers are considering plans for a National Care Fund. Using just a “very small amount” of the £1.7trn could “solve a lot of this crisis”, Green said. We will have to wait until the publication of a green paper due this summer to see how such a system would work — and indeed whether Jeremy Hunt, the health and social care secretary, risks proposing it, given the mess the Tories got themselves into during last year’s election with what critics branded the “dementia tax”. Peter Conradi, The Times.
  • Mar.20.2018: Jeremy Hunt confirms individual costs for social care to be capped. Any new system of funding social care will be capped, Jeremy Hunt has confirmed, in his first policy speech since he took responsibility for social care reform in January. He also pledged to find new ways to support councils struggling to meet the demands of a rapidly ageing population in the Green paper on Social care for older people due this summer. The paper will be limited to the govt's plans for improving care and support for older people and tackling the challenges presented by an ageing population. The govt has invited a number of people to advise on the paper, including Paul Burstow, chair of the Social Care Institute for Excellence; and Caroline Abrahams, charity director of Age UK. However, no user or care worker representatives have been invited. At GE-20187, the Tory manifesto provoked fury after it proposed making people meet all the costs of care until they had assets of less than £100,000. After a weekend of angry criticism, particularly from Tory candidates, Theresa May announced there would be a cap on the amount anyone would have to pay from their personal assets. This month Sir Stephen Houghton, the leader of Barnsley council in South Yorkshire, said the postcode lottery was turning a historic economic divide into a serious social one. The Local Government Association, which represents all local authorities, said appropriate funding had to be the “overriding priority” for the green paper. The Association of Directors of Social Services echoed the call for a long-term, sustainable funding solution. Anne Perkins, The Guardian.
  • Feb.04.2018: We need to talk about ageing – and it’s about far more than the NHS. By 2050, 25% of the population will be over 65 – many living in solitude. Loneliness is becoming one of our biggest problems. Far too many of us refuse to consider the prospect of our own advancing years – or, worse still, give any attention to people already dealing with theirs. According to Age UK, half a million people over 60 usually spend each day in complete solitude, and nearly half a million more tend not to see or speak to anyone for at least five days in any given week. Half of all people aged 75+ live alone, 70% of them women. Loneliness and isolation, increase people’s risk of developing many of the conditions we now see as synonymous with old age, and which might require residential care. There is an alternative. Cohousing was invented in Scandinavia, and is now slowly being popularised elsewhere. There are reckoned to be 19 cohousing projects in the UK that are up and running, with another 60-odd in development. John Harris, The Guardian.
  • Dec.03.2016: The Home Care Business. As more and more people are failed by the UK’s home care system, a Corporate Watch investigation into the biggest five home care companies has found: Poor quality care, Underpaid staff, Huge payouts to owners. Allied Healthcare; Mears Care; City & County Healthcare; Sevacare; Carewatch, MiHomecare. Only one of the top five companies – Sevacare – remains a family-owned business. The rest have been bought by a diverse range of investors from around the world. Note: CW has profile pages on these + more companies + do a search. Corporate Watch.
  • Nov.21.2016: Nursing Homes Undercover Care Quality Commission, Chief Inspector, Adult Social Care: "The Regulatory framework is a very important aspect of how we make sure that people get the care that they have every right to expect. If we say 'a service requires improvement', that what it means. It also requires people who are commissioning those services, the local Council and the Clinical Commissioning Group, to think about what are they doing in terms of commissioning from a service that we've said requires improvements." BBC Panorama.
  • Apr.04.2016: Britain's Pensioner Care Scandal: Channel 4 Dispatches. Sevacare, a leading home care provider, has been forced to close its Haringey branch. Secret filming reveals concerns about home care provided to older people in the borough and to others around the country. Sevacare, which looks after more than 8,500 people in their homes around the UK, was ordered to close down the service by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) on Thursday. Jackie Long examines the crisis in home care for older people. New research reveals hundreds of thousands of missed visits and millions of late visits along with evidence of pensioners not being washed or dressed for days, waiting hours for dinner and mistakes being made with medication. Almost 300,000 older people in this country receive home care and our findings suggest many are facing serious difficulties with the quality of the care that they receive. The UK Home Care Association (UKHCA) warns that the market is increasingly unviable. Council funding has been cut by around £20bn in the last 5 years, which means that council spending on Homecare for the over 65s has fallen by £436mn. Dispatches looked at the accounts of 8 major care providers and discovered that the CEOs earn ca. £300,000+ per year, with 3 earning £500,000+.
  • Nov.05.2012: Who owns the care homes - and why are they so in debt? The size, ownership and residents of elderly care homes have changed during the past 30 years. Around 430,000 elderly and disabled people live in long-term residential care in the UK, but only 1 in 10 are now in council or NHS-run institutions. Voluntary and for-profit companies account for 57% of the independent sector compared with only 5% in 1989. Buyouts, bond issues, refinancing and inter-company loans contribute to the complex and sometimes risky financial arrangements of some private investors and companies, making it difficult for councils to keep track. Justin Bowden, a national officer at the GMB union: "Despite what was promised after Southern Cross Healthcare, transparency, overleveraging, tax havens, and debts all remain fundamental unresolved issues in this sector." Sarah Pickup, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said the last thing local authorities needed was for another major provider to fail. The Independent and Corporate Watch examined Britain's 10 largest care home providers: Bondcare Nilerace Ltd, Four Seasons Health Care, HC-One Ltd, Barchester Healthcare Ltd Nina Lakhani, Richard Whittell, The Independent.

Child Benefit

  • Apr.06.2018: Scrap two-child limit on benefits, say UK's religious leaders. Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders have joined forces to call for a policy limiting benefits to families with more than two children to be scrapped. The “two-child policy”, introduced a year ago, allows families to claim child tax credits or universal credits only for their first two children unless there are special circumstances. But religious leaders say the policy will lead to a rise in child poverty and abortions. “The policy is expected to tip an estimated extra 200,000 children into poverty. It also conveys the regrettable message that some children matter less than others, depending on their place in the sibling birth order,” they say in a letter to the Times. "There are likely to be mothers who will face an invidious choice between poverty and terminating an unplanned pregnancy." Last year, the Child Poverty Action Group launched a legal challenge to the policy, saying it was in breach of human rights and discriminatory. It estimated that more than 250,000 children would be pushed into poverty as a result of the measure by the end of the decade, representing a 10% increase in child poverty. Jewish, Muslim and Catholic organisations have said the policy would disproportionately affect families in their faith groups, some of whom have large numbers of children. Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian.

Healthy Start Scheme

Free Food Vouchers

  • May.25.2018: Third of poorer families in England missing out on free food vouchers. One in three low-income families are missing out on government-funded vouchers for free fruit, vegetables and milk that are intended to improve the diets of pregnant women, babies and children. Out of 402,384 people on low incomes in England who are eligible to receive Healthy Start vouchers, 135,671 (33.7%) are not doing so, figures show. The vouchers were brought in UK-wide in 2006 by Labour in an effort to improve the diets of poorer families and narrow the nutritional gap between rich and poor. Labour MP Frank Field, a former welfare minister and veteran anti-poverty campaigner, said "too many of the most disadvantaged families remain exposed to malnutrition because they are not registered for the scheme.” Failure to register could be linked to not knowing the vouchers exist, the system’s complexity, and stigma of exchanging them for food. Research published last week by academics at Bristol and Manchester universities found that the vouchers had produced “significant nutritional improvements” in poorer families’ diets. It found that such families now bought 15% more fruit and vegetables then before. A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “The Healthy Start scheme provides vital assistance to help children from lower income families access free fruit, vegetables, milk and vitamins. While participating is a personal choice for eligible families, we publicise it widely to encourage uptake. It is also promoted at a local level through midwives and healthcare professionals, and we are exploring how digital technology could make it easier to receive Healthy Start benefits in the future.” Denis Campbell, The Guardian.

State Pension

  • Dec.01.2018: Women win first battle over pension age discrimination. Older women were unfairly discriminated against by a £5 bn Treasury reform that increased the female pension age from 60 to 66, a court was told. In a case that could have significant implications for the Treasury if successful, the claimants told the High Court that they did not have time to adjust to the later pension age. Jonathan Ames, The Times.
  • Apr.22.2018: Expats warned over state pension freeze. 75% of people are unaware their state pension will be frozen if they move to one of more than 120 countries in retirement, a survey by the International Consortium of British Pensioners suggests. The poll was commissioned to coincide with last week’s Commonwealth leaders’ summit, as the countries affected include Australia, Canada and India. Retirees moving to other EU states and countries such as America do receive the annual pension increase. The Times.
  • Jan.08.2018: In coalition with the Liberal Democrats from May.2010, the Conservatives capped working-age benefit increases at 1% from 2013 (benefits were frozen altogether from 2016). A cap on total benefits payments was introduced and set at £26,000 per household, while the maximum Housing Benefit was set at £21,000. Pensioners were spared social security cuts. From 2010 onwards, the coalition protected the “triple lock” on the state pension (so that it rose by inflation, average earnings or 2.5%, whichever was highest), as well as the means-tested Pension Credit and universal benefits such as winter fuel payments, free bus passes and free TV licences. In recent decades, pensioner poverty has fallen significantly, but the gap between rich and poor pensioners has simultaneously widened. George Eaton, New Statesman.

Support for Mortgage Interest

  • Apr.06.2018: Major mortgage benefit is being axed TODAY - here's what you need to know. Support for Mortgage Interest dishes out £170m a year to struggling homeowners who fall on hard times - but it's turning into a loan. The free benefit is being axed and turned into a loan instead by the Tory government. That loan will be secured on your house and billow with interest, a bit like the mortgage itself. It's existed in some form since at least the 1980s and is currently paid for 90,000 people - almost half of them pensioners. To qualify you must be on one of these benefits: Income Support, Pension Credit, income-based jobseekers' allowance or income-based disability benefit ESA. The benefit can only cover interest charged by a bank, not the capital value of a house. It's paid up to a total of £200,000, or £100,000 for pensioners. The free benefit is being turned into a repayable loan from Apr.06.2018, a cut of £150m a year. That means if you accept help, you'll have two loans secured on your home at the same time. One from the bank, one from the govt. The full amount is only due as soon as you die, sell your house or transfer ownership of it to a relative or friend. The exception is if you die and have a husband or wife or civil partner. In that case, the loan only has to be paid back after they die too. Tthis change was actually announced by George Osborne. Serco is responsible for telling people about the new system in the coming months through letters and a phone call. Margaret Greenwood, Advance, Frank Field, Age UK, Kit Malthouse. page is here. Dan Bloom, The Mirror.


  • Aug.09.2018: [v Plans to remove women's refuges from UK welfare system dropped.] Charity says ‘disaster averted’ as housing benefit retained for supported accommodation. Jamie Frierson, The Guardian.
  • Apr.15.2018: Beware the tax-code trap that costs pensioners thousands. A quirk in the tax system means HM Revenue and Customs is wrongly overcharging people thousands of pounds for drawing cash from their pensions. Unless your pension provider has an up-to-date tax code for you, it is obliged to impose an "emergency rate" of tax on any withdrawals of more than £987.50. Ali Hussain, The Times.


  • Oct.10.2017: Blind from birth, epileptic and unable to leave home alone – but Government says she’s fit to work. Hazel Macrae has been told by the Department of Work and Pensions that she must go back to work despite being blind from birth and stricken by a string of disabilities. Hazel Macrae, who also suffers from epilepsy, Type 2 Diabetes and osteoarthritis, was claiming Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and was told she’d have to undertake a back to work assessment. Miss Macrae, who has artificial eyes, will now have to regularly meet with a work coach to discuss how she can get back into work. (Note to me: go through this lot and stick in the relevant Ministries/MPs pages.) Benefit Tales,
  • Nov.23: [John Pring 2017] Benefit assessors ‘must be held accountable’ for report failings, MPs hear. Members of the Commons work and pensions select committee were told repeatedly this week that assessors working for the outsourcing giants Atos, Capita and Maximus were producing reports that did not reflect what they had been told by the disabled people they were assessing. They were hearing evidence from 4 welfare rights advisers as part of their inquiry into the assessment processes for personal independence payment (PIP) and employment and support allowance (ESA)., Black Triangle Campaign
  • Nov.09.2017: A Senior Judge Has Suggested Charging The Govt For Every "No-Brainer" Benefits Case It Loses In Court. Sir Ernest Ryder, senior president of tribunals, said the quality of evidence provided by the Department for Work & Pensions is so poor it would be "wholly inadmissible" in any other court. BuzzFeed News, Emily Dugan


  • 2016: Introduction: In The Expectation of Recovery. Centre for Welfare Reform, Simon Duffy
    • In The Expectation of Recovery, PDF, George Faulkner


  • 2015.01.23: DPAC 2014 Review. DPAC ToDo: go thru the links.


  • Aug.27.2018: Now UN sparks fury after launching human rights investigation into Britain's disability benefit reforms. UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has opened probe. Will check if there has been 'grave violations' of rights of disabled people. MPs tonight branded the investigation 'politically motivated'. Earlier this year a group of UN 'ambassadors' attacked UK welfare reforms. The Mail Online, Jack Doyle
  • Dec.23.2014: DWP caught giving disability propaganda to Daily Mail. Not only have DWP or Iain Duncan Smith been found guilty of providing to some media selective information which were not supported by statistics or were not evidence based, but also that ‘the statistics do not comply fully with the principles of the Code of Practice… and that they were shared with the media in advance of their publication’. Disabled People Against Cuts, '