It is no secret that Universal Credit is behind schedule and battling set-backs. However, with an election looming, it seems the government is determined to generate some positive press for its flagship benefits reform.
Lord Freud, the Minister for Welfare Reform, recently announced a series of pilot projects designed to help claimants prepare themselves for Universal Credit. In reality, the implementation of these schemes over the coming months will do little to support poorer residents. Why? Continue reading
The first independent review of the Personal Independence Payment assessment process is underway and Z2K has submitted evidence based on our experience supporting claimants. You can read our submission here.
PIP is the new benefit that began to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) from April 2013. Like Employment and Support Allowance claimants must undergo an assessment to see if they qualify, but that’s not where the similarities end because in large parts of the country these assessments are also carried out by the notorious ATOS Healthcare. As if that wasn’t enough to set alarm bells ringing, the government has made clear that they expect PIP expenditure to be 20% less than DLA, leaving many concerned that eligible claimants may be denied the benefit in order to meet savings targets.
The experience of our clients thus far has left us concerned that many of the problems with the Work Capability Assessment that we documented are being repeated with PIP. Just like ESA there are huge delays in the process with many claimants waiting upwards of 6 months for an assessment, meaning they experience severe impoverishment and in some cases a worsening of their conditions.
Those of our clients ‘lucky’ enough to have received an assessment aren’t necessarily better off as they have been left in tears having felt they were ‘interrogated’, while invariably receiving an incorrect decision.
That the government has manifestly failed to learn the lessons of the WCA disaster is a scandal and urgent action is required to prevent PIP going the same way.
Last week’s revelation that the London Investment Property Group is exploiting the Right to Buy to purchase what is left of council housing in central London is desperate news for those homeless and overcrowded families suffering at the sharp end of the Capital’s housing crisis.
In truth, the return of these predatory companies was an inevitable consequence of the Prime Minister’s ideologically-driven decision to inflate Right to Buy discounts to £100,000 and cut the qualifying period to three years. Continue reading