Housing fraud costs councils £16m each year


People who claim to live alone in order to get a council tax discount cost the local government sector nearly £16m a year, a new study has found.

Rudd orders ‘evaluation’ of benefits for people with terminal illnesses


Amber Rudd has asked the DWP to set up an 'honest and in depth evaluation' of how the benefits system supports people nearing the end of their life.

UC payment delays should be no more than a week, MPs say


Two independent MPs have called for Universal Credit payments to begin within a week of registering for the benefit.

Most councils warn benefit freeze will make more people homeless


Nine out of 10 councils believe the housing benefit freeze will push more people into homelessness, a new survey has revealed.

Universal Credit ‘key driver’ behind increase in foodbank use


The number of food parcels given out across the UK has gone up 73% in five years, according to a major charity.

Child benefit value at ‘record low’


The value of child benefit has fallen to a record low, a think tank says 40 years after the benefit was established.

Benefit assessors convicted of £1m housing benefit fraud


Seven benefit assessors in London have been convicted of a housing benefit fraud worth over £1m.

Campaigners continue legal battle over two-child benefits


Poverty campaigners are continuing their legal battle over the Government's two-child benefits policy in the Court of Appeal this week.

Council signs £65m deal with Capita


Westminster City Council has renewed its contract with Capita in a deal worth around £65m over a decade.

Disability benefit sanctions ‘arbitrarily punitive’, MPs say


The existing regime of benefit sanctions for those with disabilities or other health conditions is ‘arbitrarily punitive’ and needs reassessing, MPs have warned.

Councils cheated out of £1m by housing benefit assessors


Lambeth, Kingston, and Barking and Dagenham councils were cheated out of £1m by a group of housing benefit assessors who used dummy claimants, court has heard.

Charity to provide DWP-funded Universal Credit support


The charity Citizens Advice is to start providing Government-backed support to help Universal Credit claimants navigate the new welfare system.

What are councils spending on discretionary housing payments?


Local authorities are spending record sums on emergency payments to households that otherwise face eviction by private or social landlords. Neil Merrick investigates.

Court rules bereavement benefit restrictions breaches human rights


Denying bereavement benefits to unmarried, cohabiting partners with children is incompatible with human rights law, court rules.

Letting agents discriminate against tenants on benefits


Several major letting agents are discriminating against tenants on housing benefit, according to campaigners.

UC claimants lose ‘hundreds of pounds’ due to assessment timing


Many Universal Credit claimants are losing hundreds of pounds each year because their payday falls too close to their assessment date, a charity has revealed.

Universal Credit is a ‘flawed’ system, housing organisations warn


A group of housing organisations yesterday warned that Universal Credit is ‘flawed’ and is causing debt, suffering and hardship for millions.

Charity warns councils are depriving four million older people of benefits


Nearly four million older people are being denied access to key benefits because they do not use computers, according to campaigners.

Call for more support for young people living independently


The Government must do more to support young people who are living independently, MPs say.

Carers face benefit ‘cliff-edge’, MPs warn


MPs have called on the Government to remove the ‘cliff-edge’ in the benefit calculation that could see many carers lose their allowance.

Whitehall extends Universal Credit support to ‘kinship carers’


The Government has announced it would be extending support under Universal Credit to families looking after children who might otherwise be in the care of the local authority.

Residents miss benefit payments due to ‘system error’


A system error last Friday left around 1,000 residents of West Dunbartonshire without housing benefit.

Only 4.3% of government housing subsidy spent on new homes


More than 95% of the government’s housing subsidy was spent on housing benefit and support for mortgage interest, new analysis has revealed.

Government cuts force over a million children into poverty


One and a half million more children will be in poverty by 2022 due to the Government’s austerity agenda, commission reveals.

Scottish households on low income ‘missing out’ on tax exemption


Fewer than 4% of Scottish households eligible for council tax exemption are claiming the new benefit, research reveals.

MPs warn of 'pervasive lack of trust' in way disability benefits are assessed


Failures in the way major disability benefits are being assessed have led to a loss of trust in the system, MPs have warned today.

Child poverty charities call for end to benefit freeze


Child poverty charities are calling for an end to the benefit freeze as new figures reveal in some areas over half the children are growing up in poverty.

Prepaid cards: Delivering dividends for councils


Alastair Graham explains how prepaid schemes can help councils save money, reduce digital exclusion and increase security.

‘Under pressure’ HMRC threatens welfare claimants, MPs warn


MPs have warned HMRC’s attempts at modernising amount to a ‘precarious high-wire act’ that threatens welfare claimants.

300,000 ‘forgotten unemployed’ missing out on benefits, think tank reveals


An estimated 300,000 people are ‘falling through the cracks’ of the welfare system and missing out on the financial support they are entitled to, new research reveals.

Benefit cuts set to increase child poverty


The Government’s planned benefit cuts are set to increase child poverty, particularly in the North East and Wales, financial experts warn.

Councils welcome PM’s U-turn on local housing allowance freeze


Council chiefs have welcomed the Government’s decision that the local housing allowance (LHA) freeze will not apply to supported or social housing.

Fraudster jailed for stealing identity to get council job


A fraudster who used another man’s identity to gain a council job and home as well as thousands in benefits has been jailed, a London council has reported.

Four out of five landlords would refuse to rent to Universal Credit tenants


Only one in five landlords are prepared to let their properties to people on Universal Credit or housing benefits, according to the latest poll.

Discretionary housing payments: the under-spenders


Figures have revealed that local authorities are failing to spend millions of pounds for discretionary housing payments. Neil Merrick investigates the reasons why.

Council reviews over 500 benefit applications after ‘unacceptable’ delays


Bradford council has agreed to review more than 500 benefit applications after the local government Ombudsman found delays in the authority’s appeals process.

Universal basic income enjoys high level of support, poll finds


New polling data has revealed the idea of a universal basic income (UBI) enjoys support from the public - until benefit cuts or tax rises are mentioned.

Over 90% of charity’s supported housing under threat from Whitehall reforms


The Salvation Army has warned Government plans to base supported housing allowance on private rates threaten over 90% of its homelessness accommodation.

New benefit launched in Scotland to cover cost of funerals


A 10-point plan to help people struggling with funeral costs has been launched by Scotland's equalities secretary Angela Constance.

Raising pension ages leaves women worse off


Changes to the state pension age have left women aged between 60 and 62 years old worse off by an average of £32 a week, according to a new report.

Hardship payments extended to protect more jobseekers


Homeless people or those with a mental health condition are to be offered financial support from the Government if their benefits are sanctioned.

MPs call for plans to base supported housing allowance on private rates to be 'scrapped'


The Government should scrap plans to base rent allowances for supported housing tenants on rates used for claimants in the private rented sector, MPs say.

Gov plans to cut welfare to impact ‘poorest families’


Planned Government cuts will have a bigger effect on the entitlements of the poorest families than those made by the coalition, analysts say.

Elderly missing out on over £3bn in benefits


Older people are failing to claim £3.5bn in benefits despite figures showing 1.9 million pensioners living below the poverty line, a charity is warning today.

Benefit sanctions applied ‘inconsistently’, MPs warn


Benefit sanctions have increased in ‘severity’ and are applied ‘inconsistently’, MPs say – and the Government doesn’t know why.

Impact of benefit sanctions on public purse ‘unknown’, auditors warn


The Department for Work & Pensions must carry out a review of how sanctions imposed on benefit claimants are working, spending watchdogs have demanded.

MPs urged to support take up of free school dinners


Councils should be free to share benefit data with schools to enable children to be automatically signed up for free meals, school leaders have said.

Late intervention costing councils £6.4bn a year finds research


It costs local councils £6.4bn a year to deal with damaging social problems affecting children and their families, new research has revealed.

Troubled Families scheme had no 'discernible impact' claims 'suppressed' report


A leaked report has claimed the government’s flagship Troubled Families programme has had ‘no discernible impact’ on employment rates, offending or benefit take-up.

Rollout of Universal Credit to be delayed


Local authorities will continue to deliver housing benefit for pensioners beyond 2020 following a delay in the rollout of Universal Credit, the Government has announced.

Campaigners hit out over lack of reform in bereavement payments


Thousands of bereaved families will suffer continuing confusion and stress because of the Government's failure to push through reforms to support payments, campaigners have warned.

Benefit changes worrying for those ‘experiencing financial hardship’, charity finds


Over four-fifths of social tenants who claim benefits are concerned about future changes to the welfare system, a national charity has found.

'Indisputable link’ between UC and rent arrears, study finds


More than three-quarters (79%) of council tenants in receipt of Universal Credit (UC) are in rent arrears, a new report reveals.

Benefit cuts driving people into despair, report warns


Benefit sanctions are driving people into destitution and despair, according to local government and third sector groups in Salford.

Older pensioners more likely to be living in poverty, warns charity


Older pensioners are thousands of pounds a year worse off than younger ‘Baby Boomer’ pensioners and working age adults, a charity is warning

Half of low income families missing out on benefits


Nearly half of low income households are not claiming the full benefits and tax credits they are entitled to, new research has revealed.

Warning that Universal Credit has 'serious design flaws'


A think tank is warning that recent changes to Universal Credit have left it with ‘serious design flaws’ and major reforms should be made before it is fully rolled out.

Closure of Tata Steel could cost the Government £4.6bn warns think tank


The jobs lost if Tata Steel was to close would cost the Government £4.6bn over the next ten years, according to new analysis by a think tank.

Seven million children will be hit by benefit freeze


A new report has warned four million low-income families will be affected by the freeze in benefits, pushing more children into poverty.

Warning over 'catastrophic' impact of housing benefit cuts


Women escaping domestic violence would be among those hit hardest by plans to cut housing benefit, the Scottish government has warned.

Universal credit will reduce benefits but increase incentives to work, claims IFS


The introduction of universal credit (UC) will help make work pay, but in the long run it will reduce the generosity of the benefit system because of earlier cuts, according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS).

Ombudsman calls for clearer advice on disability payments


Adult social care teams have been urged to ensure they provide clear advice on disability payments following the case of a woman who was left without proper care and support.

Council worker avoids jail after committing £36,000 benefit fraud


A former council employee has been spared jail after fraudulently claiming more than £36,000 in benefits.

Poorest in Scotland face 'double whammy' of cuts warns think tank


Those claiming benefits in Scotland are facing a cut of over £800 per year following last month's spending review, new analysis has revealed.

Benefit sanctions make it harder for people to find work says charity


Benefit sanctions are leaving people homeless, hungry and destitute, and making it even harder for them to find work, according to the homeless charity Crisis.

Government cuts set to hit ‘poor working families’


Low-income working households on Universal Credit will lose £1,300, according to the Resolution Foundation.

Spending Review: Osborne U-turns on controversial tax credit cuts


George Osborne has made a complete U-turn on planned tax-credit cuts, but vowed he would still deliver £12bn reductions to welfare spending.

New data reveals 40,000 children hit by death of a parent each year


Nearly 40,000 children faced the death of a parent last year, according to new analysis of local authority data.

DWP reports £350m fall in benefit overpayments


Latest figures show benefit overpayments as a result of fraud and error have fallen by £350m over the last year.

Cuts to social rents will benefit the exchequer more than tenants, says report


Plans to cut to social housing rents will be of 'little or no direct benefit' to tenants and will reduce income for local authorities, a new report has claimed.

Tax Credit cuts could see roadsweepers and care workers losing £2,000 per year


Roadsweepers and care workers could lose up to £2,000 per year as a result of the chancellor’s proposed tax credit cuts, according to new research from the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG).

Report: link child benefit to take up of pre-school education


Child benefit should only paid to the poorest families if they enrol their children in quality pre-school education from the age of two, according to a new report.

Truancy fines to be docked from parents’ benefits


Councils will be allowed to take unpaid truancy fines from parents’ child benefit payments under new plans to be announced today.

Report: 93% put more into the tax pot than they take out


A new report has found 93% of people pay more in taxes during their lifetime than they take out of the social security system.

Report: minimum wage rise is little more than a ‘con-trick’


Low-income families will be worse off every year between now and 2020 thanks to chancellor George Osborne’s ‘con-trick’ Budget, union leaders have claimed.

DWP admits using fake benefit claimant stories on sanctions leaflet


The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has admitted using fabricated comments from made-up benefit claimants in a sanctions information brochure.

Unemployed youngsters face work 'boot camp' to keep benefits


Unemployed young people will have to attend a work ‘boot camp’ or face losing their benefits, under new measures announced today by the Government.

Budget 2015: Osborne cuts benefits cap amid sweeping tax credit reform


George Osborne has promised to forge a ‘lower welfare, lower tax’ Britain with plans to slash the benefits cap and tighten controls on housing support.

Housing benefit to private landlords set to rise by £440m a year warns GMB


The amount of housing benefit paid to private landlords will increase by £440m a year due to the ‘rapid’ growth in buy to let lending, GMB are warning.

130k children pushed into poverty by childcare costs, warn campaigners


Hundreds of thousands of children have been into poverty thanks to rising childcare costs, campaigners have warned.

Benefits cap to 'make many areas off-limits for larger families'


Many parts of England will become too expensive for larger families on benefits when the benefit cap is lowered, according to the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH).

Jobseeker benefit sanctions fall while blocks on ESA climb two-thirds


Jobseeker benefit sanctions have fallen by 300,000 over the past year yet blocks on Employment Support Allowance (ESA) have risen by almost two-thirds, figures reveal.

Government urged to protect in-work tax credits


GMB has urged the Government not to cut in-work tax credits as part of its reductions in welfare spending, warning this could have ‘devastating’ effects for 3.3 million families.

Labour to scrap ‘bedroom tax’ on day one, says Miliband


Scrapping the 'bedroom tax' would be the first act of a new Labour government, Ed Miliband has pledged.

County launches framework for prepaid cards


Surrey County Council has introduced a framework contract for prepaid cards, which are helping local authorities save up to 10% of their direct payments budget.

Private landlords ‘abusing’ housing benefit says GMB


A list of the 20 private landlords who received the most housing benefit from councils in 2013/14 has been published by GMB.

UK ‘ashamed’ as foodbank use reaches historic high


A record one million people received at least three days of emergency help from foodbanks run by the Trussell Trust last year, figures reveal.

Cuts to local services and welfare linked to soaring foodbank use


A rapid rise in the number of foodbanks across the UK has been linked to cuts in local services and welfare.

Larger welfare payments raise commitment to work, study finds


Generous welfare payouts make claimants more enthusiastic to work and do not create dependency, a pan-European study indicates.

Study shows low-income families struggling with welfare reforms


The Government’s welfare reforms have caused social housing tenants to run up debts or reduce spending on food, according to a new study.

MPs call for review into use of benefit sanctions


An independent review into the use of benefit sanctions is required, particularly to establish if targets for sanctions exist, according to a committee of MPs.

Council promises ‘robust’ investigation into data breach


Colchester Borough Council has apologised and promised a ‘rigorous’ investigation into the breach of benefit claimants’ personal data.

Budget 2015: Welfare cap fits £21bn savings for Osborne


The Government’s welfare cap is on track to deliver £21bn savings through changes to benefit payments and reforms to eligibility, the chancellor confirmed today.

Cutting housing benefit for young jobseekers a false economy, says report


Cutting housing benefit for young people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance would fail to deliver significant savings due to an increase in youth homelessness, a new report is warning.

System of benefit sanctions ‘deeply flawed’ says charity


The use of benefit sanctions are often ‘unfair or inappropriate’ and can increase the risk of someone becoming homeless, a new report is warning.

Unemployed EU migrants face benefit ban


New EU migrants will not be able to claim benefits until they find employment, under new regulations intended to crack down on the abuse of the system.

Charity blames rise in rough sleepers on benefit cuts


A 55% rise in the number of people sleeping rough since 2010 has been linked to Coalition benefit cuts and welfare reforms.

Cuts to council tax support will get ‘broader and deeper’


A new report warns 270,000 low income families affected by the ‘Bedroom Tax’ have also been hit by cuts in council tax support (CTS).

Council approves plans to lease private housing


Hastings Borough Council is to lease up to 100 homes from property owners in a bid to address housing need in the area.

Man commits suicide after council chased him for benefit overpayment


A retired gardener took his own life after alterations to the benefits system left him owing Newham Council more than £800.

Slavery in supply chains image

Slavery in supply chains

Tiffany Cloynes and Clare Hardy explore what responsibility councils may have in the future to eliminate slavery and human trafficking in their supply chains.
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Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

This issue of Local Government News explores how councils can tackle modern slavery and trafficking in their supply chains, finds out more about Cambridge's first cohousing scheme and the launch of a new project to build a shared service pattern library for local government.

This issue also contains a special focus on children's services and how councils are protecting children following local safeguarding children boards being abolished.

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