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Localisation of social security: what can the advice sector tell us?

11 March 2019
In the last few years, a slew of reports have been published focusing on the impact of the coalition government’s decision to localise various elements of the national social security system, including council tax benefit (now council tax support) and the discretionary social fund (now local welfare assistance).

Protecting the vulnerable – how to keep 100% Council Tax Reduction in your area!

25 October 2017
As the elected Mayor of Bedford Borough, in 2013 I faced 40 per cent cuts in local government financing, a new localism agenda and welfare reform.

Children of austerity

13 April 2017
Thanks to the UNICEF Office for Research a book has been published today tracing what happened to children in rich countries following the financial crisis.

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.

What do experts and professionals think of the ‘local welfare safety net’?

17 November 2015
Does local discretion on social security deliver ‘localism in action’ or a postcode lottery? That’s one of the questions being asked by the Commons Work and Pensions select committee in looking at the interaction between the national benefits system and locally-run schemes.

London costs: raising children in the capital

08 September 2015
"It will come as little surprise that raising a child is expensive, and that in London it has the potential to be more expensive than other parts of the country. However, new research from Child Poverty Action Group on the extra costs of children in the capital has brought up some intriguing findings that are relevant for the whole country."

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 importance of local welfare assistance

22 January 2015
Maria is one of thousands of parents up and down the country who have received support from their council through local welfare provision funding. She was living with her abusive partner and her child, with no access to the household’s money, and no family in the country.

"The last backstop for the most vulnerable": what now for local welfare schemes?

19 December 2014
Announcing the provisional local government finance settlement yesterday, Kris Hopkins made things sound just rosy for local welfare provision. A £129.6 million allocation for the successor schemes to the social fund next year? Happy Christmas, one and all.

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.