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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Barrow and South Lakes MPs views on welfare reforms

THE coalition government has introduced a programme that will bring about a radical overhaul of the welfare system.

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In April, benefit claimants will begin to see changes in the amount they receive every month.

The drive to change the system has stirred much political debate, and Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock believes the government has got its priorities wrong.

He said: “Next month will see the Conservative-led government’s true priorities laid bare.

“From the start of April, they will be freezing most of the benefits paid to working families, costing seven million households nationally on average £165 per year – while also cutting the maternity pay that hundreds of thousands of mums rely on.

“Meanwhile, the bedroom tax will hit the disabled, carers and service families hard. Yet on the same day in April, ministers are slashing the income tax rate for millionaires.

“Of course the government has to make tough choices – but these are the wrong priorities for hard-working families.”

But South Lakes MP Tim Farron says a tax cut will help many families.

He said: “In April thousands of people on middle and low incomes will receive a tax cut. This is good for local families and good for our economy. It means people have more money in their pocket and that will help our high street. We will also see nearly 20,000 Cumbrians taken out of paying income tax altogether.

“I am lobbying the government hard on other welfare issues and will continue to do all I can to support the most vulnerable members of our community.”

The government has staunchly defended the reforms, saying they are needed to get people back into work.

Last week, work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith defended the introduction of a benefits cap.

He said: “I think this will be a tremendous success story.

What councils are doing is learning along with us but if they incur any extra costs or expenses, we would support them through that.’’

Below, the Evening Mail examines what the main changes are and who they will affect.

WELFARE REFORMSBENEFITS CAP

The government is introducing a cap on the total amount of benefit that working-age people can receive.

The limit will be set at £350 per week for a single adult with no children and £500 per week for a couple or lone parent, regardless of the number of children they have. Those entitled to disability benefits will be exempt, as will those unemployed for less than 39 weeks. The scheme will be rolled out from April 15.

UNIVERSAL CREDIT

The system of working-age benefits and Tax Credits is to be gradually replaced by a new benefit called Universal Credit. It will see claimants be paid one single amount rather than separate payments for benefits such as income support, Job Seeker’s Allowance or Child Tax Credit. The payment will be made directly into the bank account of claimants.

THE SPARE ROOM SUBSIDY

Dubbed “the bedroom tax”. Housing benefit claimants will lose a proportion of their benefit if their house is deemed ‘under-occupied’. Under the new rules, children under 16 of the same gender will be expected to share a room and children under 10 will be expected to share regardless of gender.

TRANSFER TO PIPs

A new benefit called Personal Independence Payment (PIP) will be introduced from 2013 to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people of working age. PIPs will be split into two parts, with a daily living component and allowance for mobility provided. To receive the payment, people must meet the government’s assessments, which are means tested.

OTHER

Council tax benefit changes will mean local councils will be responsible for collecting the tax. Changes will also be made to bereavement benefit and the state pension ages will rise to 66 for men and women by 2026.

Have your say

Great News to me!! I had to put up with 3 terms of labour
Governments and I'm a devpout Tory and I'm so happy
To finally see some conservative policies being implemented
And hopefully this new agadnds should make people realize that
Us Tories are sick of scrounging Left winger's who think they should
Have the same as what the hard working Tory voter should have!!

Posted by John Solomon Fisher on 19 March 2013 at 07:41

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