Impact of welfare reform

The Equality and Human RIghts Commission have published their final  cumulative report on the impact of government Welfare Reforms.  The report suggests that children will be hit hardest with an extra 1.5 million being pushed into poverty.

In addition, the report finds that the child poverty rate for those in lone parent households will increase from 37% to over 62% and households with three or more children will see losses of around £5,600.  They also identify significant and disproportionate impacts on disabled families, on women and on Bangladeshi households.

The report concludes that these negative impacts are largely driven by the freeze in working-age benefit rates, changes to disability benefits, and reductions in Universal Credit rates.

David Isaac, the Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which is responsible for making recommendations to Government on the compatibility of policy and legislation with equality and human rights standards, said:

“It’s disappointing to discover that the reforms we have examined negatively affect the most disadvantaged in our society. It’s even more shocking that children – the future generation – will be the hardest hit and that so many will be condemned to start life in poverty. We cannot let this continue if we want a fairer Britain.”

The Commission calls on government to reconsider existing welfare policies and to review the level of welfare benefits to ensure that they provide an adequate standard of living.

The full report can be downloaded here.


NAWRA meeting in Stockton on 9 March 2018

Our quarterly meetings are held around the UK and include keynote speakers, workshops and a range of networking and professional development opportunities.

Here are details of the next NAWRA meeting:

Date: Friday 9 March 2018
Time: 10am – 4.15pm (registration from 9.30am)
Location: Stockton Tabernacle, The Square, Stockton on Tees, TS18 1TE

The meeting is kindly hosted by Stockton on Tees Borough Council Welfare Rights Service.  Our guest speakers will be Alex Cunningham MP and Tracey Herrington of the Poverty Truth Commission.  There will be workshops on the benefit cap, benefits for children and local welfare assistance schemes. This meeting is also our AGM.

Download the full agenda along with information about travel, accommodation and our social evening.

NAWRA meetings are free for members to attend. There is no need to book a place. Please contact Kelly Smith (NAWRA secretary) you have any access requirements or questions about the meeting.


Would you like to join the NAWRA committee?

The committee directs the policy and general management of the affairs of NAWRA.  It consists of representatives from each of the English regions plus two from Wales, one from Scotland, one from Northern Ireland and one nominated by CPAG. This gives a total of 14 representatives.  The committee meet at least three times a year, either a day before a main NAWRA meeting or by telephone conference call.

The representatives of the English regions and Wales must be elected every two years at our AGM.  Our meeting in Stockton-on-Tees on 9 March 2018 acts as our AGM this year.

The regions are as follows:

  • South East England
  • London
  • North West England
  • East of England
  • West Midlands
  • South West England
  • Yorkshire and the Humber
  • East Midlands
  • North East England
  • North Wales
  • South Wales

If you work in one of these regions and would like to stand for election to the committee then please complete the nomination form and return it by Friday 16 February 2018.

Do get in touch with Kelly Smith (NAWRA Secretary) with any questions.


Letter to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions about income related ESA

NAWRA members have identified many former Incapacity Benefit/Severe Disablement Allowance claimants who have been migrated to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), and only been awarded contributory ESA.  This is because the Department for Work and Pensions have failed to apply the regulations and their own guidance and undertake a financial assessment to check entitlement to any top up of Income Related ESA.

In July 2017, we wrote to the secretary of state for work and pensions, David Gauke MP to raise our concerns.

Update 10 Oct 2017: We have received a letter from David Gauke, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.  He confirms that officials are currently investigating this matter and will be in contact once they have completed this work.

Update 14 Dec 2017: David Gauke made a written statement  acknowledging the government’s error.

Update 9 Jan 2018: Esther McVey has been appointed Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in a cabinet reshuffle. We have written to her to follow up this matter.

Update 23 Jan 2018: We have received a reply from Esther McVey.

Update 9 Feb 2018:  NAWRA has replied to point out that section 27 of the Social Security Act 1998 does not apply in this situation.