Recent Posts

Are Council Tax hardship funds an effective means of support?

No Poll Tax 2We recently updated our page on Council Tax Support schemes in London to reflect several changes made for 2015/16, you can view the page here. As part of the update we have included information on whether councils that operate a minimum payment scheme have a hardship fund to which people who are struggling to pay can apply to receive extra support.

In London 11 authorities have or are in the process of setting up such schemes. A number of other authorities instead allow applications to their Local Welfare Assistance Schemes for help with Council Tax. Continue reading

Mandatory ‘community work’ and keeping the voluntary sector voluntary

cameronDavid Cameron announced proposals last week to force school leavers into community work or risk having their benefits cut.

This comes on the coattails of a welfare reform agenda designed to target young people out of work. The Conservatives have already committed themselves to abolishing housing benefit for claimants under 21. This has been explained largely on the premise that young people should not move out from living with their parents just because they feet like it, ignoring the number of under 21s who are parents themselves or are simply unable to live with their parents.

The Coalition’s ‘Help to work’ programme launched in April last year to an almost sector-wide boycott by voluntary organisations, who saw the scheme as a punitive measure designed to stigmatise benefit claimants. The scheme added new conditions to out of work benefits, including attending the jobcentre on a daily basis. Amongst the many legitimate reasons why someone may miss an appointment (health, financial, family or transport), the automatic benefit suspension demonstrated, at the very least, a very poor understanding of people’s day to day lives. Continue reading

  1. Blog London Council Tax Support in 2015/16
  2. Blog Working with a local Primary School
  3. Blog Is localisation really the way to achieve ‘responsive welfare’?
  4. Blog The Coalition’s Social Policy record 
  5. Blog PIP waiting times come down
  6. Blog The PIP assessment nightmare
  7. Blog Case Study: working to support ‘intentionally’ homeless families