Tag Archives: housing benefit

Welfare reform: enough of the stick, time for the carrot

This coalition has bravely attempted to tackle welfare reform. It’s been controversial, unpopular, but essential – the fact that unemployment has remained surprisingly low throughout this parliament is partly due to the welfare and labour market reforms this government has introduced.

However, there have been far too many losers in the last round of austerity. With the next parliament approaching we must change tact on welfare reform. As Liberal Democrats we believe that politics doesn’t have to be a zero sum game, where one group benefits at the expense of others. That’s why with any future reforms, like a surgeon we …

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Opinion: Tackling Housing Benefit reform

Matilda HouseThe Liberal Democrat policy paper on housing notes that the primary driver of growing housing benefit and Local Housing Allowance bills has been the shortage of housing, leading to higher rents, and increasing number of people unable either to buy or to access social housing. The paper focused on the most pressing issues:

  • Building more homes – providing environmentally sustainable homes where people need them, creating jobs and kick starting the economy.
  • Giving tenants more power and security – making social landlords more accountable and improving standards and security in the rapidly

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 39 Comments

Danny Alexander earns a reprieve after strong performance on Andrew Marr

Danny Alexander went on the Andrew Marr Show this morning to talk about the Autumn Statement and the Liberal Democrats’ contribution to the economic recovery.  If I had to pull him up on anything, it’s not getting in any mention of shared parental leave. No Liberal Democrat interview should be complete without it. It ticks all the stronger economy, fairer society, enabling people to get on in life boxes and is one of the best practical demonstrations of  Liberal Democrat values in action that we’ve delivered in government.

He said that the proposed MPs’ pay rise would be wholly inappropriate when there’s pay restraint in other areas of the public sector.

In terms of differentiation from the Tories, he said that Liberal Democrats wanted more taxes on the wealthy, opposed what he called the tax penalty for unmarried people and opposed the removal of housing benefit from young people, which we had stopped in this Parliament.

He also confirmed that free school meals for younger children was a permanent commitment and reports that it was unfunded after 2015 were not true. He said the money was there but the work had not yet been done to allocate them to individual departments.

I’ve done a quick Storify which covers the main points of the interview.

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Tim Farron “set to vote against the “Bedroom Tax” while Swales, Mulholland, R Williams and Sanders table motion against it

From the Guardian‘s live politics blog (3:15)

Tim Farron, the Lib Dem president, is set to vote against the government on the bedroom tax tonight, I’m told. A friend of Farron’s tells me: “Party conference in Glasgow expressed its will very strongly against the bedroom tax and so Tim is listening to party members and will probably be voting against the government tonight. Tim is the voice of the party members, they have expressed their view and Tim wants to make sure that their voice is heard.”

Here’s the motion on the bedroom tax that the Lib Dems passed at their party

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Clegg: Yes to intensive support for unemployed young people; no to automatic benefit withdrawal

On his weekly LBC phone-in earlier today, Nick Clegg took a call (from Lib Dem activist Linda Jack; see comments) on the proposals mooted at the Conservative Party Conference to remove the automatic entitlement to Housing Benefit from those aged under 25 and require them to be in either work, education or training.

The Guardian’s Patrick Wintour has written up Clegg’s response (which has been slightly unfairly characterised, or at least oversimplified, in the headline):

Clegg said he supported the idea that some claimants who had been on the work programme for two years should work for their dole, the proposal

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Lord German writes… Monitoring the removal of the spare room subsidy

Like many people reading the front page of the Guardian this morning, I was worried by the headline on the pronouncements by the UN special rapporteur on the removal of the spare room subsidy. But it is important to look behind the headline to see that these comments were based on a very brief visit from this adviser, who did not have the time for a detailed discussion with the Department for Work and Pensions to understand the policy. If she had done she would have been able to understand that this policy brings the rules for the social …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 33 Comments

Lib Dems secure £35 million extra funds to help those affected by Bedroom Tax

The arguments over the so-called Bedroom Tax have been rehearsed on this site on many occasions and it’s been in the news today, with the judgement that it does not discriminate against disabled people.

The Department of Work and Pensions has separately announced extra money to help those worst affected. This will be given to Councils to give to those most in need. I understand that ministers did consider further exemptions but felt that it was fairer to allow councils to make the decisions because they were dealing directly with the tenants concerned and knew more about their circumstances.

The extra …

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