A Civitas report released on 2 Jan called ‘for more ambitious solutions’ to extreme rent increases. Unregulated rents have pushed 1.7 million tenants into housing benefit dependency since 2003/4, which the report said has further boosted rent inflation.
Investigations into claimant suicides and the rise in food bank numbers, have bought sanctioning into question. The work and pensions select committee is holding an inquiry into benefit sanctions which began this week.
George Osborne’s 2014 Autumn Statement has been criticised for failing to meet deficit targets, announcing disappointing borrowing forecasts and proposing, what the OBR has identified as, a further £14.5 bn cuts to public spending. The IFS has warned that these projections could change the role of the state ‘beyond recognition’.
Human rights lawyers have sent a pre-action letter challenging the DWP to publish information detailing the eligibility criteria for its Access to Work scheme. The law firm Leigh Day describes the lack of available information surrounding the scheme as ‘inconsistent, unlawful and opaque’, reports Welfare Weekly.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have published a report which shows that increases in income inequality are linked to falls in economic growth. This challenges the notion that policies which encourage wealth creation produce a ‘trickle-down effect’ which benefits low-income groups.
A new cross-party report exploring the causes of food poverty in the UK has found that coalition welfare changes, ‘heavy handed’ benefit sanctions and benefit delays are amongst the complex factors which have led to the rise in food bank usage over the last three years.
A report released on 9 December by the Office of National Statistics showed that the number of working families in the UK were at their highest in 2014 since records began. This increase has largely been amongst lone parent families with dependent children. Click here to read the report in full.
The government has responded to the Committee’s report on Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) which was published in July this year. The response puts forward recommendations for speeding up, redesigning and improving the ESA and WCA processes.