1) Housing benefits to face sanction risk for part time workers
Part time workers who are judged as not doing enough to find full time work will face sanctions on their housing benefit in new criteria for Universal Credit.
Up until now, only those on out-of-work benefits faced threat of sanction, but under new rules, those working under 35 hours per week will be monitored and face sanction on their housing benefit, as they do not receive JSA or ESA payments.
Landlords have already been lobbying government worried at the new prospect of housing benefit being paid directly to claimants, and want the housing benefit payment to be free from sanction under any circumstance.
2) Up to 60% of Job Vacancies on Universal Job Match fake
Ministers have revealed that hundreds of thousands of people applying for jobs on the mandatory Jobseeker claimant recruitment system, Universal Jobsmatch, could have been wasting their time, as up to 60% may have been placed by bogus firms.
179 businesses responsible for up to 350,000 of the 600,000 vacancies on Universal Jobsmatch are being investigated. Some of these vacancies asked for money upfront from claimants for fake background checks.
Universal Credit Boss steps down after one year
Andy Nelson, the Department For Work and Pensions Chief Information Officer, who also has overseen the implementation of the government’s flagship welfare overhaul, the Universal Credit system, which condenses several benefits into one payment for the claimant, has stepped down, after only a year in the role.
The Universal Credit system has been plagued with problems since it’s introduction, including IT problems which have seen up to £174m of taxpayer’s money written off.
The system is thought to now cost an estimated £12.5bn – six times as much as first forecast. However, the government maintain that the system will bring £35bn worth of saving to the country.
The DWP is yet to reveal who will replace Andy Nelson.
Government must help 2 million Children stay warm, says charity
The Children Society say that 2 million children from poorer households are missing out on help they are entitled to, to stay warm, because the government are failing to publicise help with bills.
Poorer households could see £135 knocked off their electricity bill, but are not being told, at a time when hundreds of thousands of households are having to decide whether to ‘heat or eat.’
Child Poverty strategies have been attacked by several charities and opposition MPs recently, with one Labour representative highlighting that the number of family households unable to find work since 2010, has soared by 46% to over 600,000 families. Labour suggest this is another sign of the coalition’s weak attempt to tackle child poverty.