Crisis of confidence in Universal Credit

Yesterday’s Parliamentary double-header on Universal Credit amounted to the biggest challenge to the Government’s flagship “welfare reform” so far.  First, the Work & Pensions Secretary, David Gauke MP, and his officials were given an early-morning grilling by the Work & Pensions select committee.  After a brief respite during Prime Ministers Questions, when Mrs May took the flak herself, Mr Gauke was back under sustained fire during an Opposition Day Debate calling for the “roll-out” to be paused.  Under threat of widespread rebellion from its own ranks, Government Whips went for a collective abstention – handing victory to the Opposition parties. Continue reading

NextDoor Project – Five Years On

 

Z2K’s NextDoor Project was launched in July 2012, anticipating a surge in demand for decent, affordable housing in the private rented sector, a direct consequence of the Coalition Government’s “austerity measures”.

One of the first of the cuts to be announced was a reduction in Local Housing Allowance Rates of Housing Benefit in the private rented sector.  This had the effect of greatly constricting the supply of properties that low-income renters could afford; with the result that many quickly fell into arrears and ended up being evicted. Continue reading

Campaign for Council Tax Support goes to Labour Party Conference

Arriving at my first party conference, I was full of questions. Would our event run to plan, would the room be ready, would the speakers be any good and, most importantly of all, would anyone actually turn up to hear them?

Council tax doesn’t tend to draw in the crowds, and council tax support certainly doesn’t. Yet it’s something that affects us all, through the amount we pay and the revenues available for essential services. And sadly, as with so many current welfare reforms, government cuts are having a hugely damaging impact on the poorest members of our society. Continue reading

Case Study: Transition from DLA to PIP

Having come from a background in frontline support work before starting with Z2K in July, I was already aware of the systematic challenges faced by claimants claiming sickness and disability benefits and the inaccuracies of the DWP’s assessment process. Notwithstanding this, it is still shocking to see the volume of cases we take on at Z2K of people whose health conditions have been completely overlooked at their assessments. Continue reading

Press Release: Z2K Slams Hackney’s Plans to cut Council Tax Support

London-wide anti-poverty charity, Zacchaeus 2000 Trust (Z2K), today attacked Hackney council’s plans to increase its tax on the Social Security benefits of the borough’s poorest residents.  The plans, which were announced in a consultation launched last week, include a proposal to increase the charge for disabled and unemployed residents from 15 per cent of Council Tax to 20 per cent. Continue reading