Universal Credit inquiry

NAWRA has sent a formal response to the Work and Pensions Committee Universal credit update inquiry.  Thank you to all the members who responded to our request for information – your help has been invaluable, as always.

NAWRA has serious concerns about Universal Credit – in particular as the full service rolls out.  We have called for a range of changes to be implemented if the full rollout is to have a chance of success.  These include:

  • Allowing alternative payment arrangements on request – allowing flexibility would ease the transition for claimants, ease the administrative burden on the DWP, and lessen the need for such a high level of personal budgeting support.
  • Recognising that for some people getting online on a daily basis may not be possible – alternatives such as phone or face to face contact need to be more readily available.
  • Verifying and paying housing costs much more quickly.
  • Taking payments for temporary housing out of the monthly assessment process so that all costs can be met as they arise and paid promptly.
  • Removing waiting days for all claimants – leaving claimants without money makes it virtually impossible to job seek effectively and put people in debt right from the start.
  • Reinstating implicit consent for advisers – so that problems can be resolved as quickly and effectively as possible.

You can download and read our full response to the inquiry in March 2017 and updates from September and October 2017.

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Sanctions

At our Glasgow conference today we heard an impassioned appeal from Dr David Webster, from the University of Glasgow, for the current sanctions regime to be abolished.

Some links to Dr Webster’s research, his presentation at NAWRA and some further resources that may be of use to advisers are available in the members’ area.

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NAWRA in The Guardian

A quote from our recent paper on the use of benefits sanctions has been reported in today’s edition of ‘The Guardian’ newspaper.

In our response to the Oakley independent review of Jobseeker’s Allowance sanctions, we concluded that:

“As a result of the above claimants are experiencing extreme hardship through no fault of their own. NAWRA members report claimants having to use foodbanks, being unable to top up gas or electricity meters, and falling into rent arrears in some cases leading to eviction. Claimants in this level of hardship are in no position to find or maintain work. There is no money for bus fares and maybe even no hot water to get washed. By far the majority of those claimants sanctioned want to find employment but the application of sanctions is actually making it harder to for them to achieve this.”

Our complete, eight page, report can be downloaded from our ‘new resources’ page. The Guardian story can be found here.

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