New figures published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show that almost two-thirds, or 63 per cent of councils paid out less than their total Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) allocation to tenants, leaving £13.3 million left over. In addition, around three-quarters of councils did not apply for a £20 million government top-up fund to help claimants adjust to welfare changes, leaving a further £7.1 million unspent.
The new figures also revealed that:
One in five Britons fear having to move out of their local area because of the high cost of housing, according to a new survey conducted by the Chartered Institute of Housing and Ipsos MORI.
The online poll questioned adults aged 16-75 across Great Britain, and found that 20 per cent of people agree they might have to leave neighbourhoods because of soaring housing costs.
Young people are particularly pessimistic, with more than a third (36 per cent) of 16-24-year-olds and a quarter (26 per cent) of 25-34-year-olds agreeing that they might have to move.
The European Commission has published the European Vacancy and Recruitment Report 2014, which found that low-skilled workers encounter increasing difficulties to find a job, face lower job stability and are out-competed by medium-skilled workers even in occupations with lower skills requirements. In contrast, job opportunities are growing in some high-skilled professions.
The shadow work and pensions secretary, Rachel Reeves, has announced that Labour will "pause" the build of the government's flagship welfare reform for three months to allow for a National Audit Office report on it, if it wins the next general election in 2015.
A report by parliament’s public spending watchdog, the public accounts committee has found that the government's handling of personal independence payments (PIP) has been "nothing short of a fiasco" that has caused distress to thousands of sick and disabled people.
Leaked internal documents have revealed that the government could breach its self-imposed cap on welfare spending as a result of the cost of the main sickness benefit.
The memos suggest Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) costs are rising with few cost-cutting options.
In March, MPs agreed a 2015-16 welfare cap of £119.5bn, excluding the state pension and some unemployment benefits. The Treasury said it was "confident" of remaining within the cap, saying delivery of ESA was "back on track".
The leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband has announced that under a Labour Government, young unemployed people who refuse to take training courses to gain key skills could lose benefits as part of a series of measures aimed at "making work pay".
A cross-party review of Universal Credit (UC) is being launched amid new evidence that funding for the project has been cut so severely that its original aim to provide incentives for people to get into work could be undermined.
The scheme, which has created deep cynicism as a result of technology flaws, implementation delays and Whitehall infighting, is due to be fully implemented in 2017-18 and will cover as many as eight million households.