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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

Sanctions under scrutiny

22 January 2015
When MPs on the Commons Work and Pensions Committee sat down to take evidence in the second instalment of their inquiry on sanctions yesterday, two media stories hung in the air.

New evidence shows people use food banks due to the negative effects of welfare reform

08 December 2014
"What is driving food bank use in the UK? Answering this research question is something of a challenge. There is no official data on food bank use – although the Trussell Trust does collect data on the numbers using their network, alongside reasons for referral – and no systematic evidence base telling us why people are referred for support.

Autumn Statement: the prospect for children’s benefits looks no brighter

02 December 2014
Today’s the day that speculation about the content of the Autumn Statement reaches its peak. Will the Chancellor announce new spending cuts in light of lower-than-expected tax receipts? Or conversely, be in the market for some pre-election giveaways?

Sanctioning hunger

26 November 2014
If I need to take a day off work, I don’t usually lose one month’s salary as a result. However, if you’re claiming jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) and delays to your bus journey mean you arrive ten minutes late for an interview at the Jobcentre, you could well find yourself having your benefit stopped for four weeks or more through a sanction.

Save our safety net

20 November 2014
Four children are left home alone for five days. Social services step in to move the kids out to live with their father. But there’s a problem: the council have found a flat for the newly formed family, but it is unfurnished.

The road to the food bank is paved by failures in the benefit system

19 November 2014
Food banks have become a political football. Some say demand is driven by supply: if you build it, they will come. Others point to the rising cost of living, especially food price inflation, or benefit cuts as the key drivers of demand (or need).

Fair for who? Child maintenance and family tests

18 August 2014
Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that he wants to see all domestic government policies subjected to a ‘family test’ in future, apparently to ensure that families aren’t undermined or made worse off financially.  But does the ‘family test’ itself pass the test?

‘Having kids shouldn’t be a luxury’ - Mumsnet response to cost of a child research

14 August 2014
New research has revealed that families on minimum wage are 18% short of the amount needed for a basic standard of living. Here, MN blogger Catherine Mann argues that parenting must not become the preserve of the rich.

The dark side of localism: when boroughs want to keep "council tax tourists" out

14 August 2014
In the 1949 Ealing comedy Passport to Pimlico, residents of the London borough set themselves up as a separate state with predictably comic results. When Pimlico’s governing committee lifts post-war rationing, shoppers flood to the new dominion only to find themselves trapped when its borders are later closed.