A trio of official publications in late 2007 and early this year provide further detail of the increasing compulsion - or conditionality - being applied to benefit claimants, with the accompanying threat of sanctions (and resulting poverty) for non-compliance. Simon Osborne describes the announcements.
New housing benefit (HB) rent restriction rules - the 'local housing allowance' (LHA) rules - are due to be introduced nationwide from 7 April 2008. Far from simplifying the HB rules, a new layer of complexity will be added. An additional difficulty is that, until 6 April 2009, there will be two versions of some of the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 and the Housing Benefit (State Pension Credit) Regulations 2006. Carolyn George sets out the detail.
In the wake of the creation of the new, cross-governmental Child Poverty Unit and the implementation of the Children’s Plan, the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families Ed Balls MP is optimistic about the future.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has recently given an important judgement - Commission of the European Communities v the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union (C-299/05, 18 October 2007). The effect of the judgement is to allow for the exportation to any other European Economic Area (EEA) of States Attendance Allowance (AA), Carers Allowance (CA) and the care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA). Pamela Fitzpatrick provides some background and details of this decision.
Two years on from her first report on the administration of tax credits, Tax credits: putting things right, the Parliamentary Ombudsman Ann Abraham has produced a second report, Tax credits: getting it wrong? Beth Lakhani outlines the report's main findings and recommendations.
All the main parties agree that child poverty must be eradicated. But recent reports reveal a lack of common ground on the right level of state intervention. Lisa Harker analyses the different political approaches.
On 25 July 2007, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Jane Kennedy MP, issued a statement relating to administrative errors concerning some finalised awards for 2003/04, 2004/05 and 2005/06. The finalised award is a conclusive award and can only be revised under certain legal provisions. However some finalised awards were corrected – following information passed to the Revenue – using an incorrect procedure. Beth Lakhani looks at what this means for the awards concerned and provides some detail of the enquiry process.