Social security

  • Who loses what from tax credit cuts?

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    Today the Lords vote on government policies to cut tax credits, the extra support people on low wages receive to ‘top up’ their incomes. With over two thirds of children growing up in poverty living in a working family, tax credits are a vital tool to help families make ends meet. Many independent experts have already pointed out the impact these cuts will have on families: £4.4 billion will be taken from low-paid families next year alone, an average of £1350 per family.

  • Why we need a 'triple lock' on children's benefits


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    Four in ten Londoners in families aren’t able to afford a minimum standard of living. For lone parent families, this rises to two thirds.

    These were the findings of new research as part of the Minimum Income Standards (MIS) project from Loughborough University, funded by Trust for London. This work is based on a series of focus groups where members of the public reach a consensus on what is needed, not only to ensure survival, but “in order to have the opportunities and choices necessary to participate in society.”

  • Widening the net and twisting the knife: the benefit cap gets worse

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    Today sees the benefit cap – the limit on total benefits which households can receive if no-one works at least 16 hours a week – fall from £26,000 a year to £20,000, or £23,000 in London. The 20,000 or so families currently capped will see their housing benefit reduced overnight by £500 or £250 a month, starting from today. That’s a huge amount to expect people to find from their other income, but most will have to do that or risk losing their home. For new households, the cap will be introduced in phases starting with local authorities with the fewest affected households and finishing with those with the most (such as Birmingham) in February 2017.

  • Win £50 to spend on CPAG's books and training

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    This week, we're delighted to launch our latest Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handook (2016/17). Known as the 'advisors' bible', it contains everything you needs to know about benefits and tax credits in the UK. It's quite simply indispensable for getting the best outcomes for clients.

  • You can’t reduce poverty without an adequate welfare state

    No one denies that Rachel Reeves, as Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary, has one of the toughest gigs in town. Fiscally, it seems a Labour government would cap spending on social security. Politically, at a time when highly punitive policies such as the benefit cap attract broad public support, Labour is sensitive to proposing any reform that could be spun as "soft on scroungers". Getting the politics and the economics right will not be easy.

  • ‘The scales of justice can seem very unbalanced’ – an interview with barrister Tom Royston

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    We were delighted to learn last week that Tom Royston, a barrister who specialises in social welfare law, won the prestigious Legal Aid Newcomer Award at the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards. We put Tom forward for the award because of his tireless work with us on key cases. These include the Rutherford case last year, in which we challenged the ‘bedroom tax’ in the Supreme Court and won. The Court ruled that the Government had discriminated against Paul and Susan Rutherford and their severely disabled grandson Warren, who needs overnight care.