Tagged: Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Labour say they will end sanctions targets

Rachel Reeves ,the shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Stephen Timms, shadow Employment Minister have said that if labour is elected next year they will end targets for sanctions. But how much difference would this actually make?

According to Reeves and Timms:

“. . . we urgently need to get a grip on the delays and administrative errors that can mean the difference between eating and not eating for people trying to make a few pounds last for days.

As MPs we have had to refer people to food banks because of problems like this. In one case a mother who worked three jobs as a cleaner but ended up living on payday loans because she had been forced to wait months on end to get the tax credits. We should take this kind of system failure as seriously as we do a delay to an important medical appointment or a failure to respond adequately to a crime report.

“We also need to ensure that sanctions are fair and proportionate, and based on transparent procedures and appropriate safeguards. Sanctions have been part of our social security system since its foundation, and the principle of mutual obligation and putting conditions on benefit claims were integral to the progressive labour market policies of the last Labour government, from the first New Deals to the Future Jobs Fund.

“We in the Labour movement have always believed that the right to work goes hand in hand with the responsibility to prepare for, look for, and accept reasonable offers of suitable work.

“That’s why we have pledged that there will be no targets for sanctions under a Labour government so that jobcentre staff are focused on helping people into work, not simply finding reasons to kick them off benefits. We will also ensure that rules and decisions around sanctions are fair and properly communicated, and that the system of hardship payments is working properly.”

But, without a change in the criteria for sanctions and a change in the attitude towards claimants of both politicians and the civil servants at the top of the DWP, how much difference would ending targets that are never explicitly stated in the first place actually make?

Let us know what you think.

You can read the full statement on the Labour List website.

Source –  Benefits & Work,  24 Nov 2014

http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/2948-labour-say-they-will-end-sanctions-targets

Iain Duncan Smith To Be Replaced Following Welfare Reform Fiasco, Claims Tory Insider

David Cameron is preparing to replace Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, according to a Tory insider.

The move comes following the misery caused to thousands of disabled and vulnerable benefit claimants by the highly controversial bedroom tax, as well as delays caused in the rollout of Universal Credit and the £40 billion (plus) in IT software which had to be written off.

 According to a Tory insider, who has spoken to the Sunday People, Iain Duncan Smith will be shifted out of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to become the new Defence Secretary, a position he was offered two years ago but later withdrawn after he threatened to quit the cabinet.

The new position at the Defence Department will be presented to Iain Duncan Smith as a ‘promotion’, to allow the former Tory Party leader to save face. It is understood that the job of Defence Secretary is the only position Iain Duncan Smith is prepared to accept.

> Well, that’s the end of the armed forces, then ! Either that or he’ll start WWIII…

Replacing Iain Duncan Smith at the DWP is the only way to get Universal Credit back on track and open the way to scrapping the hated ‘bedroom tax’, the Sunday People reports.

The Tory insider told the Sunday People:

It’s the only position IDS is prepared to take to abandon his post at DWP – he will save face because it can be presented as a promotion.

“The only way Cameron can change policy at DWP is to change the personnel.”

Rumors first surfaced yesterday, after a commuter overheard a conversation on a train. According to Sarah Quinney, a stage manager from Chichester, she overheard Iain Duncan Smith’s special adviser say IDS was to be moved from the DWP. However, the rumor was later dismissed as “complete fabrication”.

Today’s report in the Sunday People will pile yet more confusion on the fire. Ultimately we won’t know for sure whether IDS is to be replaced until David Cameron announces his cabinet reshuffle on Monday.

Que sera sera (whatever will be, will be).

 

Read more: Sunday People via Daily Mirror.

Source – Welfare News Service, 12 July 2014

http://welfarenewsservice.com/iain-duncan-smith-replaced-following-welfare-reform-debacle-claims-tory-insider/

Lord Freud: Universal Credit £40 Million IT Write-Off ‘Deeply Regrettable’

Speaking in the House of Lords, Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud described the write-off of a failed £40 million IT system as “deeply regrettable”.

He also insisted that the decision to “reorganiseUniversal Credit, which led to the government’s flagship welfare reform being ‘reset’, was taken by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith MP.

 Lord Freud told peers:

“We all know that, when you have a £2.5 billion programme with a high IT content, there are elements that you write that you do not need.

“In the private sector that can be a third of a programme. Clearly, any write-off is always deeply regrettable, but one has to put those things into a context.

“We remain within our budget of £2.5 billion — not £12 billion — and we are looking at an overall net benefit of £35 billion from this programme. The NAO (National Audit Office) has said that it is taking a regular interest in the programme; we will continue and will see more reports on it from the NAO.

“However, as regards the way in which we are doing it, it is somewhat misleading to think of this as a twin-track system, because we have a single plan for universal credit.

“We are finding what works through the rollout we have; it may be small, but you do not need huge numbers to find out what works. It is important that we do this testing.

“At the heart of the programme is what we call the “test and learn” process, in which we take what is happening and assess and measure it against other things, aiming to find out how it works. That informs what we call the end-state build, which is thoroughly under way and is in agile.

“The first Warrington programme was trying to be agile, which I think is the best way; this end-state solution — the fully digital one, the interactive digital one — is being done on an agile basis.

Lord Freud also commented on Universal Credit being classed as ‘reset’ by the Major Projects Authority:

“What does reset mean? What happened, as noble Lords will remember, is that Ministers, the Secretary of State in particular, took a decision that the programme was not going properly and took a view to stop it and reorganise it — reset it.

“It is not a new category; it is a description of a process. If one is in charge of a programme, rather than blundering on with it regardless, I would hope noble Lords would agree that it is the job of the Ministers in charge to take that kind of decision, work out how to rebase it — reset it — and make sure it is done safely and securely, which is what we are aiming to do. That is everything that we are doing.”

> Yeah, all deeply regretable… but hey, its only public money, and you’ve got to spend big in order to be able to cut benefits, which we cant afford.

What’s that ?  Stop wasting money on mad unworkable schemes and we wouldn’t need to cut benefits ?

Ho ho ho, you obviously just don’t understand how politics works… next you’ll be suggesting that IDS and myself should take personal responsibility for  failures.

Source –  Welfare News Service, 25 June 2014

http://welfarenewsservice.com/lord-freud-universal-credit-40-million-write-deeply-regrettable/

South Tyneside – Food banks and advice services feel brunt of welfare reforms

Rising rent arrears, increased use of food banks and soaring demands for advice services are revealed in a shock new report focusing on the impact welfare reforms are having in South Tyneside.

 The Coalition Government’s welfare reform programme represents the biggest change to the welfare state since the Second World War with a raft of changes to benefits and tax credits to help cut spending and streamline services.

A new report by Helen Watson, South Tyneside Council’s corporate director for children, adults and families, outlines the human impact reforms are having in the borough.

It says that, within six months of the bedroom tax being introduced, rent arrears in the borough rose by 19 per cent – £81,000.

In total, South Tyneside Homes rent collection rates have fallen by 21 per cent over the last year, resulting in a loss of £331,000.

There has also been a 20 per cent increase in the demand for advice services since April last year.

Over the same period there has been a big rise in people using the borough’s three food banks, with a 50 per cent hike in referrals over the last 12 months.

There are 2,770 residents affected by the bedroom tax, with Tyne Dock, Victoria Road and Laygate, all South Shields, and The Lakes and Lukes Lane estates, in Hebburn, most affected.

Meanwhile, the number of out-of-work benefits being paid in the borough has been reduced in recent months, with a 22 per cent fall in claims for Jobseekers Allowance since April – 1,556 claimants.

The report makes grim reading for Coun Jim Foreman, the lead member for housing and transport at South Tyneside Council.

Coun Foreman believes the welfare reforms are having a “tsunami effect” and says the Government is “burying its head in the sand” by denying any direct connection between rising rent arrears and food bank usage and the welfare reforms.

He said: “The Government says there is no correlation between benefit cuts and the rise in food banks but they are just burying their heads in the sand.

“People don’t go to food banks out of choice. They go there because they are living in poverty. Having to use them is an attack on their pride and their resilience.”

Coun Foreman also expressed admiration for the “phenomenal work” being done by borough Citizens Advice Bureau staff and the South Tyneside Homes’ Welfare Reform team in a bid to minimise the impact of reforms.

He added: “It is not just a matter of the benefit cuts themselves but also the sanctions that are imposed if claimants turn up five minutes late for an appointment or don’t fill in a form or don’t make 15 applications for work in a week.

“All this is having a massive impact on the ability of people to provide for themselves and their families.”

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith, the driving force behind the welfare reforms, has claimed increased publicity over food banks was the reason for their rising popularity.

He said: “Food banks do a good service, but they have been much in the news. People know they are free. They know about them and they will ask social workers to refer them. It would be wrong to pretend that the mass of publicity has not also been a driver in their increased use.”

The welfare report is due to be presented to the council’s Riverside Community Area Forum at South Shields Town Hall at 6pm on Thursday.

Source – Shields Gazette  22 April 2014

David Cameron Think’s He’s The Messiah – Poor And Disabled Left Waiting For A Miracle

 The life of PM David Cameron has just become a little bizarre. During his Easter Reception at Downing St, he reportedly said he was simply continuing the work of Christ when he launched the “Big Society” initiative of volunteering and civic responsibility.

“Jesus invented the Big Society 2,000 years ago, I just want to see more of it and encourage as much of it as possible.” Cameron said, adding  that the Government should seek to improve the “spiritual and moral state” of the nation and be unashamedly “evangelical”.

If that wasn’t bizarre enough, he then went onto compare himself to a company that unblocks drains. Offering his services to help the Church keep up its commitments to Jesus’ Big Society concept, he said: “If there are things that are stopping you from doing more, think of me as a giant Dyno-Rod”.

So has the PM, as one voter tweeted, “…gone mad”? Or is this the end result of what the PM has called a “difficult week” and why he had to fly off to Lanzarote? Either way, his bizarre comments do not reflect Coalition policy, and here is why.

 Dyno-Rod proudly state on their website: “Our priority is to deliver the best service we can, working to the highest standards – we know it’s what our customers expect”.
Unfortunately for Cameron, his coalition government has delivered the worst. Brutal welfare reform and spending cuts has seen living standards fall and the cost of living to rise. His priority is the wealthy – shown by tax cuts and bonuses. In addition, with George Osborne promising a year of “hard truths” and further spending cuts, people can expect things to get even tougher.

However, no matter how tough things get, the people of Britain can be assured that their suffering is all part of the continuation of Christ’s work – well, that is if Cameron is to be believed.

His assertion that he is simply doing God’s work is a refreshing change from blaming Labour, but his policies are far removed from anything Jesus ever said or did.

For instance, his claim that Jesus invented the Big Society cannot be found in any version of the bible. So, it would appears that Cameron, who claims to have a ‘strong faith’, hasn’t been reading his bible, or as he? Indeed, if Christ had created the idea behind the ‘Big Society’, that idea would have been very different to Cameron’s vision.

If Cameron is the Messiah that would make his cabinet – by default – the Twelve Apostles; who, according to scripture, were all early followers chosen to become Christs closest disciples, advance his kingdom and carry the Gospel message to the world. It’s not difficult to see the similarity between that and Cameron’s Cabinet – earlier classmates chosen to become close allies and so on. Ironically, the chosen disciples were neither scholarly nor had any exceptional skill. Indeed none were religious. Compare that, for example to Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, yet he only has a single degree in history.

That is where the similarities end. The bible has generosity and helping the poor as one of its major themes, stretching from the Old Testament to the New. Whilst Cameron has got the generosity part right with his tax cuts and bonuses for the rich, when it comes to helping the poor he has done nothing.

Cameron once said: “Let us look at the issue of dependency where we have trapped people in poverty through the extent of welfare that they have”.

Rather than helping, he has embarked on some of the biggest cuts to welfare support since the formation of the welfare state, which has led to a five-fold increase in poverty-stricken families turning to food banks.

Yet, Cameron is still insisting that he is helping. When the Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, criticized the cuts to the welfare state which had left many facing destitution and hunger, Cameron responded by saying it’s “simply not true” and that welfare reform was part of his “moral mission” for the country. Moreover, in his response – written in The Daily Telegraph – he said:

“Our welfare reforms go beyond that alone: they are about giving new purpose, new opportunity, new hope – and yes, new responsibility to people who had previously been written off with no chance. Seeing these reforms through is at the heart of our long-term economic plan – and it is at the heart, too, of our social and moral mission in politics today”.

In my view, Cameron’s policies are immoral. His long-term economic plan has created unprecedented demands on food banks, has subjected people who are disabled to degrading assessments and has caused unnecessary hardship and homelessness.

Yet he continues, ignoring the fact that his reforms are not giving new purpose, new opportunity or new hope. His disciple, Ian Duncan Smith (AKA – Secretary of State for Work and Pensions) blindly follows. Writing in The Daily Telegraph, he rejected claims that welfare reform will condemn thousands to a “Dickensian” way of life. Adding:

“If you’d listened to the scaremongers, you’d be forgiven for thinking we were ripping up the welfare state and telling people to fend for themselves. In fact, what we are doing is returning the welfare state to what it was meant to be: a safety net, not a way of life”.

The poor, sick and disabled are left waiting for a miracle and used as scapegoats for our country’s economic ills, whilst David Cameron’s government continues to look after the interests of the greedy and most richest – the same people, who some may argue, caused the ‘economic crisis’ to begin with.

 By Jenny Howarth for the Welfare News Service (WNS).

Source – Welfare News Service  12 April 2014

http://welfarenewsservice.com/david-cameron-thinks-hes-the-messiah-poor-and-disabled-left-waiting-for-a-miracle/

Iain Duncan Smith – Welfare cheats must sell their homes

Welfare cheats will face higher fines for duping the system and could even be forced to sell their homes to reimburse the taxpayer, under new attempts to tackle benefit fraud.

Ministers are set to announce a package of plans this week which will highlight a crackdown on fraudulent claims and outline action to be taken against benefit cheats.

It will also be announced that pensioners who fail to declare their full earnings from private pension schemes will be targeted as fraud investigators cross-check HM Revenue & Customs records.

Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said the reforms will potentially save taxpayers £50billion over the course of the Coalition’s five years in power.

> Hang on – the amount of benefit fraud is said to be a whopping 0.8 % – how much are these less than 1% alledgedly fraudulent claims worth each ?!

Or is IDS playing fast & loose with the figures. Again.

Meanwhile tax avoidance and evasion is estimated at anywhere from £30bn to £120bn.

He said the reforms ‘strike a fair deal between claimants and the taxpayer, help more people into work and help us build a strong society’.

> Claimants are taxpayers, taxpayers are claimants – I do wish he’d stop these crude  divide & rule tactics.

Writing in The Telegraph, he said: ‘If you’d listened to the scaremongers, you’d be forgiven for thinking we were ripping up the welfare state and telling people to fend for themselves.

‘In fact what we are doing is returning the welfare state to what it was meant to be – a safety net, not a way of life.’

He said the number of people claiming the main out-of-work benefits was already down by more than 630,000.

It is understood ministers will now set about recovering debts owed by benefits cheats and will work with private debt collection firms in an attempt to recover around £414million of the money owed.

> will work with private debt collection firms  – ah, I think we can see where this is going…

There will also be higher fines brought in for cheats caught committing fraud, tougher checks on current claimants and a new benefit fraud division set up in the Department for Work and Pensions to pursue those who make false claims.
> a new benefit fraud division set up in the Department for Work and Pensions to pursue those who make false claims – presumably they will work closely with the private debt collection firms, and on the general premise that anyone claiming benefits is probably out to defraud.

In addition, a publicity campaign will be launched to try and urge claimants to ensure their details are correct and they are not accidentally receiving too much money.

> How about if mistakes are made by the DWP ? Will the house of the person who made the mistake be at risk ?

Mr Duncan Smith said: ‘The incontrovertible truth is that we are building a system that makes work pay, is fairer to taxpayers and claimants, and sets the strong path for a better future for Britain.’

> Eh ?  and sets the strong path for a better future for Britain. What is that supposed to mean ?

He also said the ‘revolutionary’ reforms which are ‘work-focused, responsive and economically literate‘ bring the welfare state into the 21st century.

The Telegraph reported how the Government spent £166billion on benefits and state pensions to more than 20 million people last year but ‘lost’ £3.5billion to fraud and payments made in error.

> Hang on – earlier we were told Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said the reforms will potentially save taxpayers £50billion over the course of the Coalition’s five years in power.

Well, for a start, they’re most of the way through those five years… is he going to instigate retrospective seizing of property or something ?

Even if it was for 5 years, £3.5 billion x 5 = £17.5 billion. Where does IDS get £50 billion from ? Surely he’s not anticipating making a big profit on seized goods and houses ?

Also,  £3.5billion to fraud and payments made in error – payments made in error are not fraud, so the actual amount of fraud is smaller – probably much nearer  the 0.8% normally quoted.

It seems that once again IDS is out with his sledgehammer to crack a nut, but probably the real intention is to spread his vile lies and bolster his reputation (what’s left of it) as a champion of the striving taxpayer against the skiving benefit fraudsters.

Mind you, while we’re on the subject…

Source – Daily Mail, 06 April 2014

 

 

Bedroom tax is a disaster, MPs warn Ministers amid Newcastle Council complaints

A Commons inquiry has backed warnings from Newcastle City Council that cuts to housing benefit are causing hardship for families with children and disabled people – while failing to free up housing stock.

MPs are warning that cuts in benefits paid to social housing tenants who are considered to have a spare bedroom has caused “severe financial hardship and distress to vulnerable groups”.

The policy, known by critics as the “bedroom tax”, was designed to free up larger properties for families who need them most by encouraging council or housing association tenants with spare rooms to downsize.

But the Commons Work and Pensions Committee – which has Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem members – highlighted warnings from Newcastle City Council that there simply aren’t enough smaller properties for people to move into.

The Committee published its findings after hearing evidence from a range of witnesses including Coun Joyce McCarty, Newcastle Council’s deputy leader.

The Government has published figures showing that the cost of paying housing benefit in the North East had fallen by £25m as a result of the reforms.

Housing benefit rules introduced last year allow tenants to have one bedroom for a single adult or couple, for any two children under 15 of the same gender and for any two children under nine of either gender.

Housing benefit is cut by 14% of the property’s assessed rent if they have one room deemed to be a spare bedroom and 25% if they have two.

In the North East, 50,000 households had their benefit cut, or 440 households for every 10,000 in the region – a higher proportion than any other part of the country.

MPs highlighted evidence from Newcastle, which told the inquiry that 3,233 of its tenants were on the waiting list for a one-bedroom property but only around 800 one-bedroom properties were becoming available each year, including bedsits.

Referring to the policy as the social sector size criteria (SSSC), the MPs said: “Newcastle City Council questioned whether the SSSC policy was likely to succeed in encouraging better use of social housing stock. It pointed out that in Newcastle overcrowding was not a significant issue”

“Coun McCarty made the point that the SSSC had actually led to very few overcrowded families being rehoused.”

They warned: “We understand the Government’s wish to use social housing stock more efficiently and to reduce overcrowding. However, the SSSC so far seems to be a blunt instrument for achieving this. In many areas there is insufficient smaller social housing stock to which affected tenants can move, meaning that they remain in housing deemed to be too large and pay the SSSC.”

But ministers said housing benefit reforms and the welfare cap – which means no household can receive more than £26,000 in benefits – were needed to manage soaring welfare spending, which grew by 50% in Britain in just 10 years and saw the housing benefit bill exceed £1bn in the North East alone.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith said: “It was absolutely necessary that we fixed the broken system which just a year ago allowed the taxpayer to cover the £1m daily cost of spare rooms in social housing.

“We have taken action to help the hundreds of thousands of people living in cramped, overcrowded accommodation and to control the spiralling housing benefit bill, as part of the Government’s long-term economic plan.”

“And all the stress, debt, homelessness and suicide  resulting from this policy is actually good for them, they thrive on it. I’ve got figures to prove it”,  he might have added…

Source – Newcastle Journal,  02 April 2014

Cowardly Iain Duncan Smith Avoids Protesters

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith MP, has been accused of being a coward after making a quick escape via the back door of a Jobcentre, rather than confront a group of protesters waiting for him outside.

Iain Duncan Smith was visiting a Jobcentre in Bath to see how a trial of his flagship Universal Credit welfare reform, which rolls a number of state benefits into one single monthly payment, was performing in the city.

Around 26 protesters had gathered in front of the Jobcentre hoping to confront the Tory MP after a local council report suggested that coalition welfare cuts were fuelling a housing crisis in the city.

According to the report, Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms had resulted in a surge in social housing waiting lists and an increase in eviction notices being issued against local tenants.

Rather than meet with protesters to answer their concerns, who had formed a human barricade in front of the building to block his car, Iain Duncan Smith decided to wait for his car to be moved to the rear of the building before slipping out of the back door and making a sharp getaway.

George Aylett, a student who had taken the day off to confront Iain Duncan Smith, told the Western Daily Press:

“He ducked down in the back of his car – how pathetic.

“He can’t even be bothered to come out here and hear what we have to say – we don’t want to hurt him, [we just want] him to understand that people are suffering because of his policies.

“He’s being a coward. He’s pathetic. He’s meant to be representing us – yet he won’t even come to hear what we have to say.”

“He obviously doesn’t care. He can’t claim to care about us if he does this.”

Jackie Hunt-Phillips, 44, added: ”If he’s so proud of his policies then why isn’t he walking through the front entrance with pride? If I had done something I was proud of I would walk high with pride, I’d tell everyone what I’d done. He’s obviously ashamed of what he has done – that’s why he is too scared to come and talk to us.”

Source – Welfare News Service,  08 March 2014

http://welfarenewsservice.com/cowardly-iain-duncan-smith-avoids-protesters-bath/

Government Squabbles Over Child Poverty Definition While Parents Struggle To Find Full-Time Jobs

The number of children whose parents cannot find full-time work and are forced to work one or more part-time jobs has soared by 46% since the coalition government came to office, latest figures show.

Figures obtained by Newcastle Labour MP Catherine McKinnell show that between 2010 to 2013 the number of children whose parents were working part-time hours rose from 443,000 to 646,000, which Labour claim is a significant blow to the government’s child poverty strategy.

She said:

“While Ministers have been squabbling about how poverty is defined, these figures show how much tougher life is for families under David Cameron’s government.

“Getting parents into work should be the key step towards increasing their standard of living and reducing the number of children living in poverty. But for far too many families at the moment being in work just isn’t enough to meet the basic cost of living.

“Labour will back families and help to make work pay. We will expand free childcare for working parents, strengthen the minimum wage and crack down on exploitative use of zero-hours contracts. And we also want to introduce a lower 10p starting rate of tax, to help 24 million people on middle and low incomes.

“But while ordinary families are struggling with a cost-of-living crisis, David Cameron has given a £3 billion tax cut to the top one per cent of earners. We’d reverse that after the election as part of our plan to get the deficit down in a fairer way.”

The government has been forced to shelve plans to redefine the definition of child poverty which is currently defined by a households income. Children are said to be living in poverty if their parents total income is less than 60% of the national average.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith MP, wanted to change the way child poverty is measured, by taking a child’s family life into account as well as a family’s income, such as a child’s education and whether or not they come from a workless household.

Iain Duncan Smith was close to securing a deal with the Liberal Democrats, but it is understood that the plans were vetoed by George Osborne at the Treasury Department.

Liberal Democrat Education Minister David Laws, told the BBC:

“I can’t get into the entrails of why the Conservatives have been unable to agree and come forward with a serious set of measures. They will have to explain that.

“What I’m not willing to do is to allow this key debate over measures which are so important in driving the right policies in future to simply be vetoed by one party.”

“I can’t get into the entrails…”  That’s a weird and rather unpleasent scenario. Bet that’ll be appearing in a future edition of  Private Eye.

He added: “The Liberal Democrats have a very clear idea of what the new measures should be, and we’re not going to allow the Conservative Party simply to end discussion of this.”

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves MP said:

“Child poverty is set to rise by 400,000 under David Cameron’s government, while ministers squabble over the way poverty is defined.

“The row between George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith does nothing to help working people who are £1,600 worse off a year because of the cost-of-living crisis.

“If David Cameron was serious about cutting child poverty he would scrap the bedroom tax, introduce a compulsory jobs guarantee, strengthen the minimum wage, incentivise the living wage and extend free childcare for working parents.”

The former Labour MP who chairs the current government’s Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, Alan Milburn, said: “A strategy which cannot be measured is meaningless.

“Despite taking more than a year to think about it, the government has drawn a blank, apparently unable to reach agreement on what a new set of measures should look like.

“The government has ended up in a no-man’s land where it has effectively declared its lack of faith in the current measures but has failed to produce an alternative set. This is beyond Whitehall farce.”

> The last few years have been a Whitehall farce… it’s just a pity Labour didn’t feel the need to start kicking up before. I’m sure the proximity to the next General Election is purely coincidental…

Source – Welfare News Service,  04 March 2014

http://welfarenewsservice.com/government-squabbles-child-poverty-definition-children-parents-working-part-time-soars-46/

Unemployment higher than reported as bungling government omits Universal Credit claimants from official figures

“The truth is that independent statistics show that unemployment is falling significantly and 1.3million more people are in work than in 2010.”

And come April, they’ll fall even more with the start of Workfare. Before long, there will offically be no-one unemployed, so they’ll feel justified in stopping all benefits.

The lovely wibbly wobbly old lady

Reposted from the Mirror

Now, imagine if you will for a minute, that you made cock up after cock up in your place of work. What do you think might happen? written warning? P45? WHY is this incompetent minister still in office. I remember when I was nursing, someone said to me that a ward is only as good as the Sister running it…. I rest my case. Get rid of IDS and the DWP is bound to improve!

Getty
Beleaguered: Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Benefit claimants on the government’s flagship welfare scheme have been kept off official unemployment figures, the government has admitted.

Errors by Iain Duncan Smith’s bungling Department of Work and Pensions have meant those on the new Universal Credit scheme are being excluded from the official “claimant count” figure used to measure the number of people out of work.

The…

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