CALLOUS benefits axewoman Esther McVey has again snubbed Scotland by refusing to visit Holyrood to defend her brutal policies. The Daily Record can reveal the Tory Employment Minister has now turned down THREE invitations to give evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s welfare reform committee.
McVey sent civil service hatchetman Neil Couling to face the flak for her last April. This time, she said she was too busy preparing to give evidence to a Westminster committee. Work and Pensions Minister Iain Duncan Smith has also turned down four invites, while Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud snubbed one. Last night, political opponents accused former GMTV presenter McVey – nicknamed “McVile” for her defence of the bedroom... [Read More]
Scottish rents have reached an all-time high while tenants' finances are "stuck in a rut", according to a new report. Lettings agent Your Move found the average monthly rent in Scotland rose to £539 in November - 2.2% up on a year ago.
Its buy-to-let index also showed the proportion of tenants in arrears rising by 0.3% to 6.6%. The total annual return for landlords on a typical rental property rose to 8.4% - up from 5.6% in November 2013. While tenants are paying out £6,324 a year - an annual rise of £144 - the average annual return for landlords now stands at £12,913.
This year has been an extremely challenging year for many disabled people and today is a perfect example of just some of those challenges. Figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions have revealed that thousands of people are still waiting to be assessed for Personal Independence Payments and are struggling to access this vital benefit. Alongside this, an opposition debate on the bedroom tax is a reference to yet another policy that has had a hugely negative impact on disabled people.
Today sees the release of the latest personal independence payment (PIP) statistics, giving details of how many claimants are still waiting and how many new claimants and DLA transfer claimants are getting an award. Today also brings the first mandatory reconsideration statistics. These suggest that DWP dirty tricks have managed to cut the number of employment and support allowance (ESA) challenges by more than half. And they still won’t tell us how many of those challenges are successful.
We explain how to beat the dirty tricks, whether your mandatory reconsideration – the new first step in the appeals process – is for ESA, PIP or another benefit.
The DWP have also announced that a new ESA50 questionnaire is due out early next year which will place more onus on claimants to provide supporting evidence.
Meanwhile, it will come as no surprise to readers to... [Read More]
UK Government welfare reforms are "pushing people to breaking point" in communities throughout Scotland, according to a new report.
The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) said cuts are having a "devastating" impact on individuals and the charities that help them.
Benefit claimants face depression, fear and anxiety as a result of changes to the system, a report by the umbrella body for voluntary organisations in Scotland found. Full article here.
A key vote in the Scottish Parliament has removed the last hurdle to lifting the cap on Discretionary Housing Payments and will allow for the full mitigation of the Bedroom Tax.
The Scottish Parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee today passed the subordinate legislation necessary to allow the Scottish Government to do more to support victims of Westminster’s Bedroom Tax.
After extensive campaigning, the Westminster Government earlier this year finally agreed to lift the cap on Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) that had put a limit on the support that local authorities could provide and today’s vote is the final step in enabling increased DHPs. Full article here
Over the course of this parliament, income tax receipts were £66bn less than forecast, National Insurance contributions were £25.5bn lower than expected and welfare spending on those in work was £25bn higher than planned. Meanwhile, the number of working people claiming housing benefit rose by more than 400,000 between May 2010 and May 2014, at a cost to the taxpayer of £1.4bn.
The SNP will always welcome new powers for Scotland. But I am disappointed that today’s report falls well short of the proposals from the Scottish Government – and the promises made by the three Westminster party leaders in the days before the referendum.