Weekly Round up 02/03/2012

News in Brief

Welfare Reform

The Welfare Reform Bill finally became law this week and was hailed by David Cameron with predictably robust language:

‘These reforms will change lives for the better, giving people the help they need, while backing individual responsibility so that they can escape poverty, not be trapped in it. ‘Past governments have talked about reform, while watching the benefits bill sky-rocket and generations languish on the dole and dependency. This Government is delivering it. ‘Our new law will mark the end of the culture that said a life on benefits was an acceptable alternative to work.’

A letter to The Guardian earlier in the week had pointed out that ‘over the last 40 years unemployment benefit has been cut by 50% as a proportion of average earnings, to just 10%’ and that, out of 27 EU countries, only Estonia had a higher level of poverty amongst unemployed people than the UK and the BBC reported that the welfare reforms would mean an extra 6,000 children living in poverty in Wales next year alone.

Next week sees the launch of a report to Save Child Benefit, organised by CPAG.

Childcare costs

The Daycare Trust published the findings of a survey in a report on Monday looking at the rising cost of childcare that received widespread media coverage including in The Telegraph, The Huffington Post and The Independent.

Child poverty measure

It was reported that Nick Clegg and Sarah Teather had to block plans by senior Conservatives to scrap the 60% relative poverty measure. Downing Street suggested that measuring poverty using a relative measure was ‘a narrow approach that can fail to tackle deep-seated problems’

Employment

The CIPD suggested that there was no need to cut employment rights to stimulate the labour market, in direct contrast to a claim made in The Telegraph last week and Daniel Knowles identified that low pay was as much of a problem as unemployment, also in The Telegraph. Meanwhile, David Cameron suggested that business could help ‘smash poverty’

Signpost(s) of the week

A special pullout in the New Statesman from last week, looking specifically at different approahces to tackling child poverty is now available on the Webb Memorial Trust wesbite.

A very interesting post looking at the impact of stress on parenting, especially in low-income families

An article in The Week suggested 3 ways to fix America’s child poverty problem

Graphic of the week

The DWP published figures for the cost of fraud and error earlier this month and this graphic shows the relatively small amount lost to benefit fraud (in pink in the image) in comparison to fraud elsewhere in the system. Benefit fraud accounts for approximately £1 billion out of a total of approx £21 billion, with tax evasion costing approximately £7 billion. The midweek post next week will be on the portrayal of benefit fraud and error and we may be asking for your help with some suggestions for a social marketing campaign.

Breakdown of Public Sector Fraud Loss

Best wishes,

Steve

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