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Work and Pensions Committee Launch Inquiries

The Work and Pensions Committee have launched two inquiries - the first is a re-launch into Universal Credit, the second is an inquiry into the benefit cap.

SFHA would like to ask for member input in order to draft evidence for these inquiries. 

With so much going on at the moment in relation to Welfare Reform, it is probably little wonder that the Work and Pensions Select Committee has a substantial workload at the moment.

Tasked with scrutinising the work of the UK Government, select committees are cross-party groups of MPs or Lords given a specific remit to investigate and report back to the House that set it up. 

Select committees gather evidence from ministers and officials, the public and organisations outside Parliament.

The Work and Pensions Committee, chaired by Frank Field MP, has recently launched two inquiries important to SFHA members:

  1. Inquiry into Universal Credit (UC) (re-launch)
  2. Inquiry into the Benefit Cap

UC Inquiry

The Work and Pensions Committee are particularly interested to explore:

  • How long are people waiting for their Universal Credit claim to be processed, and what impact is this having on them?
  • How are claimants managing with being paid Universal Credit monthly in arrears?
  • Has Universal Credit improved the accuracy of payments?
  • Have claimants reported making a new claim for Universal Credit, and then found that the system has not registered their claim correctly?
  • What impact is Universal Credit having on rent arrears, what effect is this having on landlords and claimants, and how could the situation be improved?
  • Would certain groups benefit from greater payment process flexibility and, if so, what might the Government do to facilitate it?
  • Does Universal Credit provide people in emergency temporary accommodation with the support they need, and how could this be improved?
  • What impact is Universal Credit having on the income and costs of local authorities, housing associations, charities and other local organisations?
  • How well is Universal Support working, and how could it been improved?
  • What impact has the introduction of full Universal Credit service had in areas where it has replaced the live service?

The closing date for evidence in relation to the UC Inquiry is the 20 March 2017.

Benefit Cap Inquiry

The Work and Pensions Committee are particularly interested in exploring the following

  • the cap is intended to incentivise behavioural change amongst claimants and secure savings for the Exchequer. To what extent is it achieving that?
  • To what extent has claimant behaviour responded to the cap, through moving into work, moving house etc? What effect does the lower cap have on incentives, what are the barriers to behavioural change and how can they be overcome?  
  • Does the cap address high underlying rates of housing benefit and child maintenance in a fair way?
  • What are the consequential costs of the cap for other public spending, such as that by local authorities?

The closing date for evidence in relation to the Benefit Cap Inquiry is the 7 April 2017.

We would like to hear from you

SFHA would like to invite members to feed into the draft evidence for these Inquiries. Get in touch with Jeremy Hewer or Zhan McIntyre if you would like to find out more, or if you have examples or case studies you would like to share.

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