About Sam Ashton

Sam is the Campaigns Officer at Z2K. He is a politics graduate from the LSE and used to work at the Greater London Authority.

Review: Dispatches on the lower Benefit Cap

Earlier this week Channel Four broadcast a new Dispatches documentary on the impact of the lower Benefit Cap. Despite the fact that the new lower level affects a much broader group of people than the initial cap, including many more single people, the programme largely focused on lone parent families with a large number of kids. To truly reflect the impact of the lower cap it would’ve been better to show a broader group of those affected. Continue reading

The need for bailiff reform

Z2K is joining AdviceUK, Christians Against Poverty, Citizens Advice, Money Advice Trust, StepChange Debt Charity and The Children’s Society, to launch a new report on the need for fundamental bailiff reform. The report finds that the new bailiff regulations brought in in 2014 are failing to protect people in financial difficulty from unfair treatment.

New research conducted for the launch of Taking Control found that of 1,400 people who had been visited by a bailiff in the last six months, 24 per cent had tried to arrange repayment over the phone but found the bailiff insisted on visiting anyway, most likely so they could charge a higher fee. In addition, nearly a fifth say they were not contacted by the bailiff before they visited. Both of these are examples of non-compliance with the 2014 regulations. Continue reading

Z2K board appoints new Chief Executive

Raji Hunjan has been appointed by Z2K’s board of trustees as the Trust’s new Chief Executive. Raji brings with her extensive experience of combining services with policy and campaigning to bring about greater changes in systems to improve the lives of communities. She is looking forward to bringing this expertise to bear at a time when the need for Z2K’s services is greater than ever before. She comes to Z2K from Inquest, where she served as Operations Director. Prior to this she was the Director of North Kensington Law Centre.

Raji said: Continue reading

Government withdraws proposal for single member tribunal panels

In September last year the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) published a seemingly innocuous consultation entitled Transforming Our Justice System. Contained within it was a proposal to abolish the existing requirements for tribunal panel composition and make panels consisting of just a judge the default position for all tribunals. This would have meant that for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) appeals it would no longer be mandatory for the appeal panel to have a medical expert, or a medical and disability expert in the case of PIP. We were highly concerned by these proposals as, in our experience representing appellants, the non-legal experts often play a key role in ensuring the tribunal reaches a correct decision. Continue reading