Election and benefits
Are we going to see more cuts proposed or a giveaway Tory manifesto? They’re already trailing cuts to older people’s benefits but, I suspect, that wouldn’t be a vote catcher.
Apparently today’s Commons debate on PIP cuts has been pulled because of the debate on an early election under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act ...
Trailed on Monday ahead of the election announcement:
Around 1 million carers would receive an extra £10 a week under plans for a significant rise in the value of the carer’s allowance being announced by the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, on Tuesday.
Don’t forget the oldies Shawn, Labour haven’t…
Introduced today, 12 April 2017, the Card will outline the Party’s four key promises in the interests of UK pensioners. These are: legislating to continue the triple-lock policy on state pensions until 2025, (five years past the Conservative government’s plan), an end “Tory unfairness” on the women’s pension age and compensating those worst affected, the protection of UK citizens living overseas pensions and fourthly, the maintenance of the Winter Fuel Allowance and free bus passes for pensioners.
Some manifestos from the third sector and elsewhere -
- Citizens Advice: Citizens Advice has 5 big asks for the next government
- CPAG: Election 2017 manifesto
- The Law Society: Law Society unveils election manifesto for Brexit Britain
According to the Independent Theresa May has refused to rule out making further cuts to disability benefits in the next Parliament if the Conservatives are returned to government.
Asked by The Independent at a campaign event in Mansfield whether she would rule out any further cuts to support, the Prime Minister avoided giving a direct answer.
Benefit highlights from the Labour Manifesto-
- state pension ‘triple lock’ guaranteed throughout the next Parliament.
- protection for the pensions of UK citizens living overseas in the EU or further afield.
- winter fuel allowance will be guaranteed as universal benefits.
- transitional protections for women born in the 1950s who have had their state pension age changed without fair notification.
- legislation so that accrued rights to the basic state pension cannot be changed, but future benefits can.
- a new review of the pension age, specifically tasked with developing a flexible retirement policy to reflect the contributions made by people, the wide variations in life expectancy, and the arduous conditions of some work.
Working age -
- ‘punitive’ sanctions regime will be scrapped.
- bedroom tax will be abolished.
- reinstatement of housing benefit for under-21s.
- cuts to bereavement support payment will be scrapped.
- reform and redesign of universal credit, ending six-week delays in payment and the ‘rape clause’.
- double paid paternity leave to four weeks and increased paternity pay.
Incapacity and disability benefits -
- increase ESA by £30 per week for those in the work-related activity group, and repeal cuts in the universal credit limited capacity for work element.
- increase carer’s allowance by £11 to the level of JSA.
- implement the court decision on personal independence payment so that there is real parity of esteem between those with physical and mental-health conditions.
- scrap the work capability and PIP assessments and replace them with a personalised, holistic assessment process that provides each individual with a tailored plan, building on their strengths and addressing barriers.
- end the privatisation of assessments.
- end the pointless stress of reassessments for people with severe long-term conditions.
- commission a report into expanding the Access to Work programme
- a new Child Poverty Strategy.
- changes to how Jobcentre Plus staff are performance-managed.
Also spotted these elsewhere in the Labour manifesto ...
- to safeguard homeless hostels and other supported housing from cuts to housing benefit;
- to extend maternity pay to 12 months.
And from the Plaid Cymru manifesto -
- seeking devolved powers over social security for Wales;
- using devolved power to ban private firms from carrying out benefits assessments for profit;
- scrapping the bedroom tax;
- challenging the ‘rape clause’ in the two child policy;
- challenging changes to bereavement support allowance;
- removing the threat of sanctions for disabled people being supported into employment;
- fighting planned closures of job centres;
- a guarantee of the state pension ‘triple lock’; and
- opposing increases in the state pension retirement age.
Lib Dems today -
- Uprate working-age benefits at least in line with inflation.
- Abandon the two-child policy on family benefits and abolish the ‘rape clause’ where a woman has to declare children that are born as a result of rape in order to access benefits.
- Help young people in need by reversing cuts to housing benefit for 18-21-year-olds and increase the rates of Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit for those aged 18-24 at the same rate as minimum wages.
- Reverse cuts to Employment and Support Allowance to those in the work-related activity group.
- Increase Local Housing Allowance in line with average rents in an area, ensuring that LHA is enough for a family to pay their housing costs no matter where they live.
- Scrap the ‘bedroom tax’, while seeking to achieve the aim of making best use of the housing supply through incentivising local authorities to help tenants ‘downsize’.
- Scrap the discredited Work Capability Assessment and replace it with a new system, run by local authorities according to national rules, including a ‘real world’ test that is based on the local labour market.
- Withdraw eligibility for the Winter Fuel Payment from pensioners who pay tax at the higher rate (40%). We will retain the free bus pass for all pensioners.
- Ensure that those using food banks are aware of their rights and how they can access hardship payments where relevant.
- Separate employment support from benefits administration – making Jobcentres places of training and support into work.
- Take 13,000 children out of poverty by letting both parents earn before their Universal Credit is cut and also reverse cuts to the Family Element.
- Encourage people into work by reversing the cuts to Work Allowances in Universal Credit, enabling people to work for longer before their benefits are cut.
- Raise awareness of, and seek to expand, Access to Work, which supports people with disabilities in work.
- Improve links between Jobcentres and Work Programme providers and the local NHS to ensure all those in receipt of health-related benefits are getting the care and support to which they are entitled.
- Accelerate the roll-out of Individual Placement and Support, a proven approach to getting people with mental ill-health back into work.
- Raise the amount people can earn before losing Carer’s Allowance from £110 to £150 a week, and reduce the number of hours’ care per week required to qualify.
- Maintain the ‘triple lock’ of increasing the state pension each year by the highest of earnings growth, prices growth or 2.5% for the next parliament.
- Reinstate the legally binding poverty targets of the Child Poverty Act.
- Conduct an urgent and comprehensive review of the effects of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act on access to justice, including funding for social welfare appeals.
- Extend free school meals to all children in primary education
Interesting that neither Labour nor the Lib Dems have mentioned the Benefit Cap? In London at least, getting rid of the Bedroom Tax/increasing LHAs will not make a difference to many families as they are already capped.
...getting rid of the Bedroom Tax/increasing LHAs will not make a difference to many families as they are already capped.
The same is true of the 2 child rule as well.
From the Conservative manifesto -
- maintain the triple lock on the state pension until 2020, and then introduce a new double lock where pensions will rise in line with earnings or inflation, whichever is highest;
- ensure that state pension age reflects increases in life expectancy;
- means-test winter fuel payments;
- maintain all other pensioner benefits, including free bus passes, eye tests, prescriptions and TV licences, for the duration of this parliament;
- legislate to give unemployed disabled claimants or those with a health condition personalised and tailored employment support.
From the Green manifesto -
- take steps towards the introduction of a universal basic income, including a government sponsored pilot scheme, as a means to increase security and avoid the poverty trap;
- protect young people’s housing needs by reinstating housing benefit for under 21s and reverse housing benefits cuts;
- abolish the bedroom tax.
From the Alliance Party in Northern Ireland -
- reform welfare assessments so that people with lifelong, debilitating conditions are not required to undergo regular re-assessment;
- implement an easier process for scrutiny and transparency of any private companies responsible for medical assessments for welfare by both legislation and procurement;
- continue to avoid the bedroom tax;
- oppose onerous obligations being placed on people who are in receipt of benefits;
- introduce a ‘yellow card’ system for benefit sanctions which would allow recipients the opportunity for an explanation and the introduction of more stringent requirements before a sanction is considered;
- provide tailored interventions to assist the long-term unemployed;
- oppose a lower rate of benefits for younger people;
- pay housing benefit directly to landlords;
- support the Independent Living Fund;
- move to a position where a pension is paid on the basis of meeting residence requirements rather than solely on the basis of contributory requirements;
- support an annual uplift, which is linked to inflation, prices and earnings, whichever is the highest;
- take independent, objective analysis on the issue of the national pension liability, age of eligibility and how this affects long-term funding arrangements; and
- better promote the uptake of pension credit and other benefits on which older people sometimes miss out.
SNP today -
- continue to argue for a complete halt to the roll out of universal credit until it is designed to treat everyone with fairness and respect, and for it to be fully devolved to Scotland;
- support the re-instatement of the universal credit work allowance to all benefit claimants;
- press for the abolition of the two child cap on tax credits and the removal of the family element of universal credit;
- oppose the ‘rape clause’;
- vote to ensure that benefits increase at least in line with CPI inflation;
- call for the current work capability assessment to be halted, and a new system put in place which treats everyone with fairness and respect;
- urge the UK government to follow the lead of the Scottish Government to review personal independence payment, ensuring assessments, descriptors and award times are appropriate and rooted in respect and dignity;
- demand that the UK government follows the lead of the SNP Scottish Government by ruling out the private sector having any involvement in assessments for Scotland’s social security benefits;
- abolish the bedroom tax in Scotland completely, when Scotland has the powers to do so;
- continue to call for the current sanctions regime to be scrapped;
- support restoration of housing support for 18 to 21 year olds across the UK;
- support the reversal of cuts to bereavement benefits;
- vote to protect the pensions Triple Lock, ensuring that pensions continue to rise by inflation, earnings or 2.5 per cent whichever is the highest;
- continue to support the WASPI campaign, standing up for the women in Scotland, and across the UK, who have been affected by the accelerated timetable for increases in the women’s state pension age;
- call on the UK government to reintroduce UK-wide targets to end child poverty, and work with devolved administrations to establish a Poverty and Inequality Commission that provides expert advice on tackling poverty, and monitors and regularly reports on progress;
- call for an end to charges for parents seeking support from a former partner through the Child Maintenance Service;
- urge the UK government to abandon planned Jobcentres closures and work with the Scottish Government to bring forward proposals for joint governance of Jobcentres with the Scottish Government, as recommended by the Smith Commission; and
- continue to fight for an end to premium-rate telephone charges faced by those seeking advice on or claiming benefits from the DWP.
So, just to bring them all together:
If we end up with a Tory / DUP agreement, isn’t there a convention that, as NI has a separate benefits system (in theory at least), the DUP won’t vote on social security issues? That could be very interesting.
These are people who believe that God hates homosexuals, Gareth - and who picket gay events to say so publicly. They are the lockers-up of children’s playgrounds on a Sunday - I doubt ‘convention’ will bother them overly.
More interesting will be watching how the same people who vilified Corbyn during the election campaign for his having ‘talked to terrorists’ now justify getting into bed with a party that could rightly be described as the political wing of loyalist terror groups…....
This reshuffle could prove something of a blast from the past with both Michael Gove and Iain Duncan Smith hotly tipped for a comeback.
Here we go ... no changes in the top five jobs ....
More announcements tomorrow apparently ...
Damian Green has just been appointed ‘Deputy Prime Minister’ -
Here is the first appointment. This is from Number 10.
“The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of Damian Green as first secretary of state and minister for the Cabinet Office.”
A move to the Cabinet Office is never normally a promotion, but this is one for Damian Green. As work and pensions secretary he was in charge of roughly a quarter of government spending. But first secretary of state is the deputy prime minister in all but name.
David Gauke has been appointed work and pensions secretary .... he was chief secretary to the Treasury
New Justice Secretary is .... David Lidington
New Work and Pensions Secretary’s voting record on welfare and benefits:
..and his previous record of impeccable financial probity…
New Justice Secretary is .... David Lidington
And new Justice Minister, replacing Oliver Heald (who says ‘Have been asked to make way for a younger person’) is Dominic Raab
And here’s Mr Raab’s voting record: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/24815/dominic_raab/esher_and_walton/votes
Damian Hinds and Penny Mordaunt are both reappointed as Ministers of State for Work and Pensions -