William Eichler 27 April 2016

Welfare cap creates better understanding of Whitehall spending, NAO says

Welfare cap creates better understanding of Whitehall spending, NAO says image

The welfare cap is encouraging a greater understanding of spending across government, according to the National Audit Office (NAO).

The cap, which is a limit on the amount of state benefits a household can claim in one year, has increased departments' oversight of spending on benefits and tax credits, according to the NAO.

The National Audit Office, the body responsible for scrutinising public spending, says the level of attention to spending forecasts has increased across government and at the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

It offers OBR warnings over tax credits as an example. The OBR announced last year that the cap was breached owing to the government's decision to reverse some of its proposed reforms to tax credits.

The NAO does warn, however, that there is a risk the current scope of the cap may create an incentive for the Government to keep claimants on Jobseeker's Allowance instead of encouraging them into work and increasing entitlement to in-work benefits.

The auditors also found several areas in which analysis and forecasts could be improved. At the moment, interactions between benefits are not dealt with systematically and the OBR is not always given enough time to review all forecasts.

Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: ‘Forecasts will always be uncertain but when spending is projected to be close to or over the cap, weaknesses in forecasts may affect policy or operational decisions.

‘All departments involved should therefore move quickly to improve their processes.’

PWLB hike: A rise too far? image

PWLB hike: A rise too far?

What impact will the increase to the Public Works Loan Board rate have on councils’ housing and other capital schemes? Neil Merrick investigates.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Head of HR/OD

Babergh & Mid Suffolk
£60,000 circa
The role will involve working closely with the Senior Leadership Team and Chief Executive to lead our People Strategy and... Ipswich, Suffolk
Recuriter: Babergh & Mid Suffolk

Youth and Community Based Commissioner - Mid Essex

Essex County Council
£18117 - £19106.0 per annum
Annual Salary JNC Scale Points 3-6 £18,117 - £19,106 (1-2 in training) We are currently seeking a Youth and Community Based Commissioner to support t England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Strategic Rent Accountant

Camden London Borough Council
£45,504 - £52,786
The successful candidate will be self-managing, troubleshoot to overcome obstacles and have proven experience of working effectively with a... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Principal Policy and Projects Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£45,504 - £52,786
Successful candidate will be an experienced strategic thinker with experience of delivering large-scale programmes and projects. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Mental Health Social Care Manager

Suffolk County Council
You will play a key part in the Mental Health Service provision in Suffolk, supported by our Mental Health Strategy... Ipswich, Suffolk
Recuriter: Suffolk County Council

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.

Register for your free magazine