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Managing money: the importance of autonomy

16 December 2019
From time to time, we all get into difficulty managing our money. A boiler breaking, a car needing repair, a bigger heating bill than expected. These things can hit us hard and always seem to be poorly timed, particularly if money is already tight. We all have different methods of coping, and different ways of ensuring we keep on top of all the other bills and rent. Some people try to manage by taking the hit in one go; whereas others do the exact opposite, choosing to cut back less but over a longer period. Some will use savings and replenish these over time; others will try to cut back on their living expenses.

Too simple: the failure of universal credit assessment periods

08 August 2018
In the ‘simple’ world of universal credit, monthly assessment periods are the supposedly ‘neat’ way of judging what financial support families should get based on their earnings and circumstances.

It’s time to start listening: what the Department for Work and Pensions needs to learn about universal credit

12 July 2018
In the Commons last week, Work and Pensions ministers responded to concerns about universal credit by offering to look at individual constituency cases MPs were raising, where things might not be going quite right.

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

07 November 2016
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.

Promoting fairness? Lowering the benefit cap will push more families into poverty

25 July 2016
This autumn the benefit cap will be cut, squeezing low-income families even further and pushing more people into poverty. The Welfare Reform & Work Act 2016 lowers the cap to £23,000 per annum for families (or £15,410 for single claimants) in London and £20,000 for families (or £13,400 for single claimants) outside of London.

Supreme Court to decide on ‘unlawful’ bedroom tax

23 February 2016
Following last month’s victory in the Court of Appeal, the battle continues for Paul and Sue Rutherford and their severely disabled grandson, Warren. The Court held that the ‘bedroom tax’ (or under-occupancy penalty) is in breach of the Human Rights Act 1998.

Bedroom tax: time for a dishonourable retirement

28 January 2016
The bedroom tax (or under-occupancy penalty, as the government prefers), after smashing through so many families’ carefully balanced budgets, has finally hit a legal wall.

What is happening to discretionary housing payments?

16 March 2015
If you had heard the Minister for Disabled People, Mark Harper, reassuring MP on Monday this week about future funding levels of Discretionary Housing Payments, you would be forgiven for believing that, on this issue, the Government was making adequate resources available to meet needs

The Future of Judicial Review

26 June 2014
It’s hardly surprising that politicians tend not to like having the lawfulness of their decisions questioned by the Courts. Like any frustrated litigant, when a Minister loses a judicial review case he or she is more likely to blame the judge than their own decision-making, whereas when they win, they’re quick to criticise the Claimant for bringing the case in the first place.