NEW - Briefing Note for Stage One Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill.

31 May 2017

 A new briefing note has been published for MSPs for the Stage One Debate on the Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill taking place on Thursday 1st June.

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Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill - Stage One Briefing Note

May 2017

Read CPAG in Scotland's briefing note for MSPs on the Social Security Committee's Stage One Report on the Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill.

New blog: Turning Principles into Practicalities - Welfare Rights Conference 2017

24 May 2017

Catch up on the key themes discussed at our annual Welfare Rights Conference, held on Friday 19th May, in this blog post by Policy and Parliamentary Officer, Jenny Duncan.

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Welfare Rights Conference 2017

Turning principles into practicalities

Translating political commitments into practical realities was a theme which dominated many of the contributions to CPAG in Scotland’s annual conference.  

Navigating the complexities of the forthcoming  Scottish social security system can seem a daunting prospect, even to a room full of welfare rights advisers well versed in benefits regulations,  but the contributions of panellists and participants helped unpick some of the challenges which lie ahead.

Two child limit challenge

Last updated: October 17, 2017

Update - 17 October 2017 - permission has been granted for CPAG to apply for judicial review of the two child limit and the case will now go forward to a full hearing.

On 18 August 2017 CPAG issued a claim for judicial review in the High Court against the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (SSWP) to challenge the two child limit, introduced by the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016.

On 6 April 2017, new rules came into force limiting the child element of child tax credit (CTC) and universal credit (UC) awards to two children. In CTC, this limit only applies to a third or subsequent child born on or after 6 April 2017; in UC the limit applies from 6 April 2017 (irrespective of when the child was born) though transitional protection applies to third or subsequent children born before 6 April 2017. There are a limited number of exceptions to this 2 child limit meaning that it does not apply to a third or subsequent child in the following circumstances: multiple births, adoption from local authority care, kinship care and children likely to have been conceived as a result of rape or a coercive or controlling relationship.

Bedroom tax where a room is too small to share

Last updated: September 25, 2017

Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council v Hockley & SSWP CH/1987/2016.

This case concerns the removal of the spare room subsidy, widely referred to as the ‘bedroom tax’, in cases where a bedroom is too small for two children to share. The bedroom tax came into force on 1 April 2013 and made amendments to the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 placing restrictions on the amount of housing benefit that can be claimed by tenants in the social sector. Where the number of bedrooms in the household exceeds the number of bedrooms the claimant is entitled to in accordance with the regulations, the housing benefit is reduced by 14% for one ‘spare’ bedroom or 25% for two or more ‘spare’ bedrooms. Regulation B13(5) prescribes who is entitled to a bedroom in a household. It prescribes that two children, regardless of their sex, who are less than 10 years old and two children, regardless of their age, of the same sex are able to share a bedroom.

Tax credits and appeal rights

Last updated: September 25, 2017

Update - 25 September 2017 - on 14 June 2017 a three-judge panel of the Upper Tribunal decided that -

'As soon as the Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs have made a decision under section 18 of the Tax Credits Act 2002 for a tax year, any decision made under section 16 for that tax year ceases retrospectively to have any operative effect, any appeal that has been brought against that section 16 decision therefore lapses, the First-tier Tribunal ceases to have jurisdiction in relation to that appeal and that tribunal must strike out the proceedings.' (paragraph 1)

Past presence test and aggregation rules

Last updated: May 23, 2017

 Kavanagh v Secretary of State and Pensions CDLA/373/2016

This appeal concerns the application of the ‘past presence’ test that requires disability benefit claimants to be resident in Great Britain for 104 weeks out of the 156 weeks prior to the claim. However, for claimants to whom an EU regulation applies, the past presence test is disapplied if they can establish a genuine and sufficient link to the UK social security system. Alternatively, they can seek to satisfy the 2 year rule by aggregating qualifying periods spent in another EU country under Article 6 of EU Regulation 883/2004. EU Regulation 883/2004 coordinates social security systems in the EU and Article 6 provides that certain periods of time spent in one member state can be aggregated when considering presence tests in another.

Right to reside for the self-employed

Last updated: June 22, 2017

 MH v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions C3/2015/2886

Refusal to accept late mandatory reconsideration requests

Last updated: September 25, 2017

Update - 25 September 2017 - on 4 August 2017 a three-judge panel of the Upper Tribunal decided that, where a claimant makes a mandatory reconsideration request at any time within 13 months of the original decision, s/he will, if dissatisfied, subsequently be entitled to appeal to a First-tier Tribunal.