A new study by Shelter, has found that a myriad of renters in the UK are facing ‘revenge evictions’ just for questioning the bad conditions in their homes: a deeply concerning issue as the housing shortage has meant more people are renting. For example, in 2013 alone, more than 200,000 individuals faced eviction after asking their landlord to fix a problem in their property. Cases were widespread across the country, with examples cited in Lancashire, Brighton and Norfolk.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is to investigate the way that payday lenders treat borrowers struggling to repay loans when it takes over regulation of the consumer credit sector in April. Several other plans to toughen regulation in the high-cost short-term loans market have already been outlined, as more than a third of all payday loans are repaid late or not at all, according to the FCA.
The government has announced that, from October, the national minimum wage will increase by 19p an hour to £6.50. The Business Secretary, Vince Cable said that he had accepted a recommendation from the Low Pay Commission that the minimum wage should increase by 3 percent. It is expected to benefit one million workers, and is the first time in six years that the rise will be higher than inflation.
The Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Margaret Hodge, has called the changes to Council Tax Benefit ‘fundamentally perverse’ because they have weakened work incentives for up to 225,000 people – the opposite of the government’s intention to ‘make work pay’.
Reforms to apprenticeship funding will cut the number of vocational training places available to vulnerable young people, the Association of Employment and Training Providers (AELP) has warned. It is feared that Government proposals to only part-fund apprenticeships for 16-18 year olds, and make employers pay a contribution towards training, will result in smaller firms (that currently offer 75 percent of apprenticeships) being less likely to offer places.
The European Commission has welcomed the adoption of regulation on the new Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD). The fund will give member states valuable support in their efforts to help Europe's most vulnerable people, who have been worst affected by the on-going economic and social crisis.
Freedom of Information requests have revealed that 24 local authorities have used, or plan to use controversial lie detector tests in attempt to catch fraudulent benefit claimants; despite the government no longer using the technology as it is considered unreliable.
The Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) has published a report calling for the devolution of several aspects of social security provision. The report argues that giving devolved nations more control over certain benefits will improve economic growth and boost social outcomes.