Universal Credit roll-out leading to ‘a vicious cycle of debt and despair’

SNP MP calls for the roll-out of Universal Credit to be ‘halted now’, as mounting evidence shows the new benefit is causing significant hardship.

Universal Credit is pushing vulnerable claimants into “a vicious cycle of debt and despair”, says an MP who is calling for the roll-out of the Government’s flagship welfare reform to be halted with immediate effect.

SNP MP Stuart McDonald says Universal Credit, which is replacing a number of existing social security benefits with a single monthly payment, is forcing some people to turn to loan sharks and food banks to make ends meet.

The new benefit is in the process of being rolled-out across the country but has been beset with numerous delays and IT problems, and has faced heavy criticism over payment delays and an arbitrary six-week waiting period.

read more here: http://www.welfareweekly.com/universal-credit-roll-out-leading-to-a-vicious-cycle-of-debt-and-despair/

Human Rights Commission savages UK government over ‘rape clause’

THE Westminster government has been attacked over the ‘rape clause’ by the the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

In a letter to employment minister Damian Hinds, EHRC CEO Rebecca Hilsenrath describes tax credit changes as “regressive” and called for a rethink.

She insists the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) did not carry out “sufficiently detailed” impact assessments and warns the policy change could breach EU human rights laws.

Campaigners have welcomed the intervention and demanded the DWP scrap the “inhumane” policies. The family cap limits tax credits to only two children per family – unless the mother can prove that a third child was conceived as a result of rape or when she was in an abusive relationship.

Hilsenrath said: “In our view the exception raises serious issues in relation to a child and mother’s right to private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

“The exception, which purports to prevent women from being penalised requires, in our view, invasive reporting requirements of intimate details.

“Children who may not be aware that they were born of rape may well become aware through this process and through the creation of a record.

“We consider that there has been a failure to fully consider the impact of the implementation of this exemption, including the potentially traumatic process for having eligibility assessed and the risk of re-traumatisation upon survivors of rape.

“This system would rely upon women, who we know from statistics are overwhelmingly unlikely to report rape to police, reporting it to Department for Work and Pensions.

“The approach also does not account for children born of an ongoing abusive relationship, where women may not exercise power over decisions on how many children to have – and when.”

Hilsenrath said the impact assessment published by the DWP “was not sufficiently detailed to support proper scrutiny of the legislation”.

Read more here: http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15240334.Human_Rights_Commission_savages_UK_government_over___39_rape_clause__39_/

Sharp rise in rejected claims for disability benefit

Labour raises alarm over number of people being turned down for personal independence payments.

This article titled “Sharp rise in rejected claims for disability benefit” was written by Rowena Mason Deputy political editor, for The Guardian on Sunday 16th April 2017 23.01 UTC

About 200,000 people face seeing their claims for a disability benefit to help with daily living and mobility refused this year, new figures obtained by Labour suggest.

Senior MPs have called on the government to explain an apparent spike in people being turned down for personal independence payment (PIP), which is a top-up benefit with two components related to the extra costs of daily living and limited mobility for disabled people.

Read more here:http://www.welfareweekly.com/sharp-rise-in-rejected-claims-for-disability-benefit/

Homeless Families and Social Cleansing: How Local Councils Are Forcing Vulnerable Households Out of London

Hundreds of homeless households across London are being forced to accept private rented tenancies outside the capital, Freedom of Information requests have revealed.

Last year, 341 vulnerable families were given no choice by local councils but to move to other regions, most often the West Midlands, away from their schools, jobs, and local communities.

Thousands more were made to move out of their borough.

If families refused out of borough, or out of London, offers, they faced being deemed ‘intentionally homeless’, evicted from their temporary accommodation and left with little further assistance, research by Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth found.

by Housing Action Southwark & Lambeth

read more here: http://novaramedia.com/2017/04/12/homeless-families-and-social-cleansing-how-local-councils-are-forcing-vulnerable-households-out-of-london/

Benefit sanctions hit one in seven single parents, research shows

‘Single parents increasingly feel punished for being unable to juggle seeking work and looking after their children’, charity says.

One in seven single parents in receipt of benefits have been hit by the Government’s “inflexible” sanctions regime, while even more are at risk of having their benefit payments slashed in the future, according to shocking new research from the Gingerbread charity.

read more here: http://www.welfareweekly.com/benefit-sanctions-hit-one-in-seven-single-parents-research-shows/

People are exhausted by the cuts and hard-up mums will be hit next: My Wigan Pier Story

Sarah Honeysett, 53, is a benefits specialist from Stoke-on-Trent and has been supporting families in the city since 2003. As she explains to Claire Donnelly, struggling mums are about to be hit again.

People really are exhausted – and terrified – by all this change, especially disabled people and particularly people with poor mental health.

I fear the next group to be very badly hit – with the cut in the benefit cap and the ‘two child’ tax credit limit – will be hard-up mums with young children.

There has been a definite change in the way people who are in the receipt of benefit are viewed.

There used to a lot of sympathy towards people who were out of work for example. The general public seemed less likely to blame them – it was seen as the fault of the government.

Now that has shifted and this idea that people are to blame for what’s happening to them is becoming more the norm.

Apart from the lack of empathy, what shocks me the most is when I hear fellow professionals talking about people in this way, buying into this demonisation of people.

read more here: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/people-exhausted-cuts-hard-up-10172622