South Tyneside : Welfare reforms ‘increasing crime,’ claims council chief

Government welfare reforms may have contributed to a rise in shoplifting in South Tyneside over the last year, councillors were to be told tonight.

Members of the council’s Riverside Community Area Forum are to receive a report on the ongoing impact reforms to our welfare system are having on borough residents.

The report, from Helen Watson, the authority’s corporate director for Children, Adults and Families, says reforms have “possibly contributed” to a 17 per cent increase in shoplifting over the last 12 months that accounts for an additional 60 offences compared to the previous year.

There has also been a significant increase in the use of borough food banks over the same period – with an extra 50 per cent in referrals over the last 12 months.

The report adds: “The evidence is that the number of residents in South Tyneside subject to benefit sanctions has increased by about 35 per cent since the introduction of a new, stricter regime in October 2012, and that many continue to be affected by delays in payments.

The meeting takes place at South Shields Town Hall at 6pm.

Source –  Shields Gazette,  30 Oct 2014

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