A new report entitled Beyond the Barriers, which was entirely researched, written and supported by disabled people, aims to kick-start a significant new debate about the failure of sickness and disability support in the UK. Topics covered include what must be done to improve it and why, and how current systems should be re-designed so that all members of society can achieve their goals and aspirations.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has cut the number of employees its new Health and Work Service (HWS) will be able to support back to work by more than a third.
The service offers non-compulsory medical assessments and treatment plans for people who have been off work for more than four weeks. However, as part of its aim to limit the number of workers accessing the service, the DWP has admitted that it may restrict employer referrals or extend the early intervention period to beyond four weeks.
New analysis of wage levels completed for the TUC, has found that almost four in five, or 79 per cent of those employers on zero-hours contracts receive less than the average national rate of pay.
Labour leader Ed Miliband has delivered a speech and written to council leaders setting out his plans for devolution of economic powers. Mr Miliband has said that under Labour’s proposals; cities, counties and LEPs will take control of local economic plans, investment in infrastructure, skills budgets and the Work Programme.
He said, “each and every authority which can bring forward plans of this sort in the first year of the next Parliament, will receive powers and access to resources from Whitehall the like of which we have not seen in living memory.”
A new report by the London Assembly Housing Committee entitled ‘Assesing the consequences of welfare reform’, has found that landlords across the capital are increasingly more reluctant to rent to housing benefit tenants, which is affecting one-third of claimants.
Employers can expect more job applicants through Jobcentre Plus as the government has outlined tougher rules for anyone hoping to receive Jobseekers Allowance (JSA). These requirements will build on the ‘claimant commitment’ that began rolling out last year, whereby claimants must sign a commitment to take certain actions, such as regularly applying for a minimum number of jobs, to find work.
Despite the government increasing the money available to local authorities, many councils had already exceeded their budget for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) in February, several weeks before the end of the financial year on 31 March. Consequently, thousands of people are at risk of being “driven into destitution”, as the emergency funds set aside to help those worst affected by the measure become increasingly sparse.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Committee have warned that the changes to housing benefit that were implemented in Scotland, England and Wales in April are having a “severe” effect. MPs explained that this is because the reduction of payments for social tenants deemed to have a larger home than they need have hit vulnerable people not intended as targets.