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Poor children are invisible in this election

17 March 2015
Back in the early 2000s, ‘child poverty’ was the term on every politician’s lips. The lead up to the Child Poverty Act in 2010 achieved cross-party consensus on the necessity of eradicating child poverty by 2020. These days, enthusiasm to give children in poverty the attention they deserve seems more muted.

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 limits of Universal Credit

06 March 2015
Since 2010 the Government has overseen an ambitious, large-scale programme of income redistribution. From poorer to richer groups. That’s the striking conclusion to be drawn from the most comprehensive analysis to date of the Government’s social policy record published recently by the LSE and the universities of Manchester and York.

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.

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.

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.