The Industrial Communities Alliance, a local authority organisation campaigning for economic development and regeneration of Britain’s industrial areas, has published a new report: Welfare-to-work isn’t Working. The report says: “Welfare-to-work policies have nearly always been based on the false premise that there are plenty of jobs available throughout the UK. And welfare reform is often justified by the claim that there are insufficient financial incentives to get a job.
But despite the recent economic recovery, much of industrial Britain still has a weak labour market. Here, and elsewhere, the traditional basis of welfare-to-work is fundamentally at odds with reality.
The Coalition government’s Work Programme adds little to employability, especially for those with poor skills or poor health. Hounding the unemployed delivers no extra jobs and is deeply distressing for too many men and women. Devolving the same policies and practices down to local partners – the approach now being touted – misses the point.
What is needed is a clearer focus on growth and jobs in Britain’s weaker local economies and a strategic re-think about the purpose of welfare-to-work, with a new commitment to addressing the obstacles of low skills and poor health.”
21st July 2014
Other organisations, including the centre-right think-tank Policy Exchange, are beginning to call for holistic support and more choice for the individual over which service they use. A report released today by Policy Exchange argues that the JobCentre should be replaced with a Citizen Support centre, which provides advice for multiple areas and supports individuals to choose the provider that best meets the individual’s needs.
8 July 2014
A report from CAB Wales investigates the cumulative impact of the welfare changes:
“This report examines the cumulative impact of welfare reform on benefit claimants in Wales. It is based on evidence from across the Citizens Advice Bureaux network in Wales as well as bespoke qualitative research commissioned by Citizens Advice Cymru to explore the ‘lived experience’ of the recent benefit changes.
The latter research looks in detail at how the changes are affecting important areas of claimants’ lives including their physical and mental health, living arrangements, work and job seeking behaviour, and personal relationships. It also investigates what coping mechanisms people have adopted to help them manage the changes; their knowledge and understanding of future changes, including the introduction of universal credit, and their perceived capacity to cope in the future.”
2nd May 2014
Disabled People’s Organisations may be struggling to come together to produce one ‘shadow’ report to the UN on how well the UK is implementing the UN disability convention. Limited time, budget and resources combined with several different groups working on a report means the UN may receive more than one report. Inclusion London says, “This is the first scrutiny of the UK Government since ratification of the UNCRPD in June 2009. So a well evidenced parallel report, written by Disabled and Deaf people, is essential because it is an opportunity to benchmark how well (or not) the Government is doing in implementing the Convention and meeting its UNCRPD obligations.”
24th April 2014
Labour’s Poverty and Disability Taskforce has submitted its report to Labour. The report, Breaking the link between poverty and disability, covers a range of areas including disability-cost benefits, employment-replacement benefits and the cost of living.
Labour’s Shadow Minister for Disabled People, Kate Green, said, “The taskforce has produced a wide-ranging report that makes a powerful case: These pressures help create a vicious circle that means poverty and disability are mutually reinforcing. Labour is determined to break that link.”
9th April 2014
The Spartacus Network today releases its biggest report yet, Beyond the Barriers, analysing the failings of and alternatives to ESA and the Work Programme. Drawing on over 1200 responses to five consultations, combined with evidence from ESA, other countries and the academic literature, Beyond the Barriers provides the most comprehensive review yet of how disability support can be done better.
7th April 2014
In an unexpected move, the DWP announced that the often-complimented Disabled Students Allowance is to be cut. The DWP suggest that Higher Education Institutes should pick up the tab, although it remains to be seen if HEIs have the funding to do so on a level comparable to what DSA used to provide.
The DWP will no longer provide ‘standard specification’ computers, or higher specification where the reason it is needed is the inaccessibility of the course provided. Only the ‘more complex’ and ‘most specialist’ support will be provided, and specailist accommodation will only be provided in ‘exceptional’ cases.
The changes will come into effect from 1 September 2015.
You can read more on our guest post from Sarah Campbell
2nd April 2014
The Supreme Court has granted two single mothers who fled domestic violence permission to pursue their legal challenge to the benefit cap. The mothers faced substantial financial difficulty because the cost of their temporary accommodation subsumed most of the £500/week cap.