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20 13 14 North Lancashire Citizens Advice Austin Staunton The State of our Welfare A CAB View.

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Presentation on theme: "20 13 14 North Lancashire Citizens Advice Austin Staunton The State of our Welfare A CAB View."— Presentation transcript:

1 North Lancashire Citizens Advice Austin Staunton The State of our Welfare A CAB View

2 Question 1 – Agree or Disagree Benefits are an important safety net to support people when they need help.

3 Question 2 – Agree or Disagree We all benefit as a society when support from benefits is available to those that need it.

4 Outline CAB Service Delivery Overview of policy intention and reforms. Where are we now? Where are we going. Issues for clients and advice agencies. A view from the Bureau

5 Citizens Advice Service “We are here with advice when someone needs us, whatever the problem. In person, online and over the telephone.”

6 Lancashire Advice Delivery Headlines 2012/13  32,561Individual clients  100,323 Problems  Benefits 29,956 30%  Debt 37,921 38%  Employment 6,611 7%  Housing 5,683 6%

7 Welfare Reforms Key Government Aims “…the biggest change since Beverage introduced the welfare system…”. Improve incentives to work – ‘making work pay’ Reduced ‘Welfare dependency’ Reduce complexity –’simplification’ Reduce the benefits bill.

8 Achieving those aims Welfare Reform Act – March £14bn cuts annually to Benefits uprating restricted. Structural changes to the benefit system. Localisation of support Benefit cap. Tougher conditionality regime More to come…?

9 Key reforms A New Language – New Rules UC - Universal Credit BC – Benefit Cap ESA – Employment and Support Allowance PIP – Personal Independence Payment HB – Housing Benefit LCTS - Localised Council Tax Support LWA – Localised Welfare Assistance ESA

10 Other changes Child Benefit – Income Tax chanrges Contributory ESA – limited to 1 year Appeals – ‘mandatory reconsideration Benefit rates – uprating capped at 1% pa State pension age - changes from 2016 Overpayments – all recoverable

11 UC The Flag Ship – revised timetable All ‘on track and on budget’? Pathfinders for single claimants (‘simple claims’): April 2013 – Tameside July 2013 – Wigan, Warrington & Oldham October 2013 – Hammersmith and Fulham November 2013 – Rugby and Inverness February 2014 – Harrogate and Bath April Shotton National roll out for new claims: ‘by 2017’ – significant revision of original timetable All existing claimants transferred by ????? Include a caption or strapline here

12 Personal Independence Payments Replace DLA for working age claimants 3.2m people affected Reform led by 20%budget cut All claims likely to be medically assessed Points based criteria Children & older claimants not migrated (yet?) Include a caption or strapline here

13 Employment Support Allowance Fitness for Work Test – Not Fit For Purpose Client Experiences Include a caption or strapline here

14 Employment Support Allowance Fitness for Work Test – Not Fit For Purpose Recommendations o Work Capability Assessments Should be Reviewed o The Mental Health Descriptors should be reviewed o Mental Health assessments - qualified assessors only o Feedback from Tribunal Service o Improve staff training for decision makers o Inform claimants about other benefits o Inform claimants about right of appeal o Address issues of Financial hardship o Address ATOS behaviours Include a caption or strapline here

15 Failed Fitness for Work Test What Happens Now? o Sign on for JSA? o Apply for jobs? o Attend Work Support Schemes? o Appeal? Likely Result Outcomes?  Failure to sign on  Medical condition prevents – actively seeking work  Intermittent health condition demonstrates lack of commitment Outcome- Sanction Include a caption or strapline here

16 Sanctions Include a caption or strapline here 1 st failure2 nd failure3 rd failure High (e.g. failure to take up offer of paid work) 91 days182 days1095 days Medium (e.g. not taking all reasonable action to find work) 28 days91 days Low (e.g. failure to undertake specific activity) Until comply (+ 7 days) Until comply (+ 14 days) Until comply (+ 28 days) Lowest (failure to take part in a WFI) Until comply

17 Housing costs 5 million households claiming HB Single room rent extended to under 35s LHA rates uprated by CPI, not actual rents ‘Bedroom tax’ – under occupancy penalties One bedroom = 14% reduction on the eligible rent Two bedrooms or more = 25% reduction Include a caption or strapline here

18 ‘ Bedroom Tax’ impacts 10% of households affected nationally Households in arrears due to Bedroom Tax up 59% Arrears up by an average of 28% between March – June 2013 Only 2% of tenants affected have moved to alternative social housing 60% trying to ‘pay and stay’ but are already in arrears 8% or households affected in receipt of DHPs but only for 3-6 months 24% of landlords report a rise in empty properties 42% report a drop in demand for larger properties Include a caption or strapline here

19 Localisation – Welfare Support Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans abolished Budgeting Loans replaced by ‘budgeting advances’ SF budget given to Local Authority but not ring-fenced Local arrangements (food banks, furniture schemes) Provision for crisis situations variable Independent Review Service abolished Recent announcement that government grant (£347m) to be abolished in 2015 Include a caption or strapline here

20 Council Tax Support – Decisions Some working age households who have had full help are now paying towards their Council Tax Bill Whatever their income Expected 20 per cent of their bills from 2013 BUT – Big variations –Blackpool – 27% –Peterborough – 30% –Lancaster 0% for this Tax year –Others looked at different options E.g. 0% Band A with different % against each Band Include a caption or strapline here

21 Criminalisation of Claimants Include a caption or strapline here

22 Facts about ‘benefits Britain’ 1.People think around 41% of benefits go to the unemployed. The real figure is 2.6%. 2.42% of the Welfare Bill goes to pensioners, 21% goes to the low paid. 3.Nearly 80% of JSA claimants stop claiming within 6 months. 4.Of the 7.8 million families receiving child benefit, 1.2 million have more than two children. 5.People think around 27% of welfare is lost to fraud – the real figure is only 0.7%, around £1.2 billion. 6.Around £17 billion of benefits go unclaimed every year. 7.Immigrants are 60% less likely to claim than a British-born person. 8.64% of families receive benefits – that’s 20.3 million families. 9.The UK spends 12% less on benefits per head than France and 19% less than Germany % of new Housing Benefit claimants in 2010 and 2011 came from working people - UK housing costs are the 3 rd highest in Europe. Source: oliverjamesopinion.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/10-facts-about-benefits-britain Include a caption or strapline here

23 Reforms – The Personal Impact 400,000 lose £50+ under UC 500,000 fewer entitled to PIP than DLA Less affordable housing Risks for most vulnerable Multiple delivery challenges: ‘digital by default’ Rent no longer paid to landlords Monthly payment Paid to households not individuals

24 Reforms – The Personal Impact –some changes mean people will no longer meet the more restricted eligibility criteria –People having to adjust to a big drop change in income or monthly benefit payments. –Increased borrowing from high interest rate lenders –More people falling into absolute poverty.

25 Longer Term Impact – In to Deep CABx clients –Particularly poor –High % in receipt of means tested benefits –Average monthly income less than half of UK average Many clients teetering on the edge Relatively small change – 10% in income or expenditure turned a manageable situation into debt problems 40 % of clients said the could not cope and felt they were in Crisis

26 Impact of Debt – In Too Deep Over 25% of clients were seeking treatment from their GP for stress, anxiety or depression Half of those being treated for depression felt their symptoms were caused by their debt problems In many cases clients reported that the impact of debt on their lives had been devastating –Relationship breakdown –Feeling of isolation –Long term impact on health –Difficulty of living on a tight budget to repay debts

27 Impact on voluntary and advice agencies Food Banks – People using them , , , , , – ,000 +

28 Welfare Reforms Issues It is not a crime to claim benefits Many will have multiple cuts – benefit links Loss of associated free services Not being eligible does not take away the disability High Interest Rate lenders taking advantage of move to monthly payments More people in Poverty Knock on effects e.g. Health Services Impact on voluntary organisations

29 Benefits – a public view Source YouGov Plc. Online survey of 1955 adults September Benefits are an important safety net to support people when they need help Strongly agree42 Tend to agree39 TOTAL AGREE 81 Neither agree nor disagree10 Tend to disagree3 Strongly disagree2 TOTAL DISAGREE 5 Don’t know 4

30 Benefits – a public view Source YouGov Plc. Online survey of 1955 adults September We all benefit as a society when support from benefits is available to those that need it Strongly agree25 Tend to agree39 TOTAL AGREE 64 Neither agree nor disagree18 Tend to disagree9 Strongly disagree4 TOTAL DISAGREE 13 Don’t know 5

31 Follow us online Follow us on Twitter twitter.com/Citizen Advice Like us on Facebook facebook.com/Citizens Advice Watch our films on youtube.com/Citizens Advice


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