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21 October, 2020 Open access

COVID-19 will bring forward the date when pensions triple lock is abandoned, IFS says

Institute for Fiscal Studies recommends that until the lock is 'unpicked', uprating in April 2021 should follow today’s 0.5 per cent inflation figure instead of the triple lock's 2.5 per cent fallback rate

21 October, 2020 Open access

Replacing the pensions triple lock with a double lock could contribute to savings needed for the government to fund its priorities without raising taxes, says Centre for Policy Studies

As part of nine point plan to recover from COVID-19 pandemic, think tank also recommends taxing the winter fuel payment and rolling child benefit into means-tested benefits

20 October, 2020 Open access

Reported cases of universal credit claimed fraudulently by misappropriating identity rose from less than 0.01 per cent of total claims in March 2020 to more than 1 per cent in July 2020

Freedom of Information response also reveals that almost 5,000 fraudulent claims were reported between April and August 2020

20 October, 2020 Open access

Scottish Government gives local authorities flexibility to spend a further £20m of Scottish Welfare Fund resources to support people during the COVID-19 crisis

Additional £10 million has also been made available to fund continuation of free school meals through the winter holiday and Easter breaks

20 October, 2020

Reallocation of calendar monthly payment of earnings to a different universal credit assessment period

New statutory instrument will 'smooth entitlement to universal credit and help maintain a regular payment cycle', says DWP

20 October, 2020 Open access

Equality and Human Rights Commission calls on the DWP to ensure social security system supports the right to an adequate standard of living

COVID-19 pandemic has painfully exposed the fragility of the gains that had been made towards becoming a fairer and more prosperous society, says Commission Chair

20 October, 2020

DWP confirms that the six-month rule for terminally ill benefit claimants is to be changed

Minister says Department is 'working at great speed' to bring forward much-needed changes following a review of special rules for the terminally ill

20 October, 2020

Secretary of State says it is ‘not her intention in any way’ to introduce a grant at the start of universal credit claims

Responding to oral questions in the Commons, Dr Coffey says government 'will not be responding positively in that regard' to Select Committee's report

20 October, 2020 Open access

Universal credit claimants will be given opportunity to ‘review their self-employment status and activity’ before minimum income floor is reintroduced, says Minister

Secretary of State adds that decision whether to extend suspension of the MIF, which is due to expire on 13 November 2020, is 'still under review'

19 October, 2020

First-time universal credit claimants should receive a ‘starter payment’ to help alleviate hardship caused by five-week wait, MPs recommend

In addition, where claimants are migrating to universal credit, Select Committee suggests they should continue to receive their legacy benefits during the first assessment period

19 October, 2020

Disabled people need more security from the benefits system, including longer term awards and the removal of sanctions, says Mind

Mental health charity also calls for creation of new commission, led by disabled people, to be tasked with recommending proposals to reform the WCA and PIP assessments

19 October, 2020

DWP issues new guidance to work coaches in relation to apportioning universal credit housing costs in cases where a joint tenant has left the property

Advice note sent to National Housing Federation says new system will ensure cases are ‘automatically correctly paid each month’

16 October, 2020

Government responds to Peers’ concerns about ‘wholesale transfer to Ministers of power to legislate’ on modifying EU and domestic law in connection with social security coordination

Justification for powers in Immigration and Social Security Bill includes enabling government to address ‘technical matters’ and ‘unintended consequences’ arising from changes made to retained EU coordination regulations

16 October, 2020

House of Lords Select Committee expresses surprise at DWP’s ‘perfunctory replies’ to urgent recommendations for reform of universal credit

Letter from Chair of Committee to Work and Pensions Secretary calls for more detailed response to recommendations including that DWP should make increase in standard allowance permanent

15 October, 2020

Government confirms it will extend ability to depart from retained EU case law to a limited list of courts, including the Court of Appeal

Response to consultation on post-Transition Period reforms for British courts says extension will 'help achieve our aim of enabling retained EU case law to evolve more quickly than otherwise might have been achieved'

15 October, 2020

Scottish Affairs Committee launches inquiry into the impact of welfare reform in Scotland

Committee seeks views on the effectiveness of Scottish Choices, Scotland-specific issues raised by universal credit policies, and the impact of advance payments on increasing claimants' debt problems

14 October, 2020

New research from End Child Poverty reveals that in some parts of the country the majority of children are living in poverty

Highlighting that the COVID-19 pandemic will 'only sweep them further into danger', coalition calls for urgent government action

14 October, 2020 Open access

Removal of waiting days for ESA extended for a further six months in Northern Ireland where a person is affected by coronavirus

New statutory rule

14 October, 2020

Government remains ‘wholly unconvinced’ of the case for universal basic income, says DWP Minister

Dismissing the concept on grounds of cost, delivery and impact, Will Quince says that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that universal credit is the right approach for the UK