Recent News

Universal Credit pilots find claimants struggling

Half of Universal Credit claimants in some areas could struggle to use the government’s online system because they lack IT skills and have limited internet access, local government pilots have found.

The findings come in a report by the Department for Work and Pensions about 12 local authority pilots of the new benefits system. It has been published as the Universal Credit system is rolled out to job centres in Oldham and Warrington, having been started in Wigan and Ashton-Under-Lyne earlier this year. 

Councils could get sweeping powers to control landlords

Greater powers for local councils to crack down on bad landlords, a legal requirement to include landlords’ contact details in all tenancy agreements, faster evictions, and a cultural shift towards longer tenancies have been recommended in this morning’s major report into the private rented sector.

The Communities and Local Government select committee makes no fewer than 47 recommendations covering a wide range of issues from Houses in Multiple Occupation to selective licensing schemes. 

Homeless tenants 'will' be forced out of London

A Communities and Local Government select committee report out today on the private rented sector said moving people out of London was the only way councils could mitigate the impact of benefit caps.

Cuts to benefits had left local authorities with too few properties in their boroughs where they could afford to house claimants, the MPs found. 

Osborne mulls further £6,000 cut to benefit cap

Chancellor George Osborne is considering lowering the benefits cap by a further £6,000, one of his aides confirmed today.

The Treasury will base a decision on whether to make the further cut depending on the effectiveness of the current benefit cap, which began its national roll-out on Monday, in reducing the welfare bill. 

Universal credit: National roll-out delayed

The “national roll-out” of Universal Credit will now only see the new system running at a handful of JobCentres across the UK this year, ministers confirmed.

Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, insisted that Universal Credit remains on track and will fully operational by 2017. A more gradual timetable means the reform will be delivered “safely,” he said. 

Numbers of private tenants double as home ownership drops

Census figures newly released show that the number of private tenants has doubled, while the proportion who own a home has fallen sharply.

The figures from the Office of National Statistics show that one in five families in England – equivalent to 1.2 million households – was renting from a private landlord in 2011, a number that has doubled since 2001. 

Households under pressure as minimum cost of living soars

The minimum cost of living has soared by a quarter since the start of the economic downturn creating an "unprecedented erosion of household living standards", according to research published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

The research finds rising inflation and flat-lining wages are two of the key reasons for the additional pressure on families along with increasing childcare, food and housing costs.