Benefits policy

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The page will automatically redirect to Benefits Policy Research Briefings produced by the Commons Library, Lords Library and POST

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  • This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on Social Security benefits policy. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

    Commons Briefing Papers

    07.11.2016Carer's Allowance
    This Commons Library briefing looks at Carer's Allowance - a non-contributory, non-means-tested benefit paid to people who care full-time for someone who is severely disabled. It covers the background to the benefit and issues frequently raised by people claiming it, including the level of the benefit, its interaction with other benefits including the Retirement Pension, and the difficulties recipients face when seeking to combine their caring duties with paid work or studying. Reforms to Carer's Allowance have been discussed, but there have been no significant changes to the benefit in recent years, and Carer's Allowance will remain a separate benefit under the Universal Credit system. Responsibility for Carer's Allowance and related disability benefits is to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament, and all the major parties in Scotland are committed to increasing Carer's Allowance to at least the level of Jobseeker's Allowance.
    04.11.2016Abolition of the ESA Work-Related Activity Component
    This House of Commons Library briefing paper provides an overview of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and details the changes to the Work Related Activity Component that will be introduced from April 2017. The paper also includes information on the mitigating support announced by the Government.
    07.10.2016The future of Attendance Allowance
    This House of Commons Library Briefing Paper covers developments since the Government's announcement in December 2015 that it would consider 'giving more responsibility to councils in England, and to Wales, to support older people with care needs - including people who, under the current system, would be supported through Attendance Allowance.' It gives background information on Attendance Allowance, and such information as is available on the Government's plans. It also summarises reactions to the proposals from local government bodies and other stakeholders.
    28.09.2016Paying for supported housing
    This House of Commons Library briefing paper explains the impact of the Government's policy of requiring rent reductions, and also the application of Local Housing Allowance caps, on the supported housing sector. The sector has argued that the measures threaten its viability. On 15 September 2016 the Government announced that LHA caps will apply in 2019/20.
    23.09.2016Welfare savings 2010-11 to 2020-21
    The House of Commons Library Welfare Expenditure and Savings Tool combines multiple sources of expenditure and savings data into one easy to use, up-to-date analysis tool. Users can track changes in welfare expenditure over time, analyse savings as a proportion of expenditure and identify key policy measures by benefit announced since June 2010. Total spending on UK social security and tax credits will be 218.4 billion in 2016-17, 28.3% of total managed expenditure. Measures announced since 2010 will save around 26 billion in the same year, roughly 10% of what welfare spending might otherwise have been.
    12.09.2016Social Fund Funeral Payments
    This Commons Library briefing looks at Social Fund Funeral Payments scheme, under which claimants of means-tested benefits and tax credits may get help with funeral costs. The adequacy of payments has long been a source of complaint. The complex eligibility criteria have also been criticised for creating confusion, frustration and further emotional distress.
    07.09.2016Rough sleepers: access to services and support (England)
    Rough sleepers are one of the most vulnerable groups in society, many with high levels of complex and interrelated needs. This paper provides an overview of the support and services - including accommodation, health, welfare, training, employment and voter registration - that are available for rough sleepers, and the challenges rough sleepers can face in accessing them.
    08.07.2016Personal Independence Payment and the March 2016 Budget
    This House of Commons Library briefing paper looks at controversial proposals put forward at the March 2016 Budget to change the criteria for Personal Independence Payment (PIP). The proposals were subsequently abandoned and the Government said it would not be seeking to make alternative offsetting savings, or further savings from the welfare budget not already legislated for.
    07.07.2016Early Intervention
    Information and analysis on early intervention policies aimed at parents and children from conception to age five, covering health, education, social development and financial benefits. This paper also looks at broader arguments around early intervention as a policy approach.
    05.05.2016Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) scheme
    This Commons Library briefing paper explains the assistance available for certain households with their mortgage interest payments. Help with mortgage costs is available to claimants of certain means-tested benefits for people not in full-time work. The schemes are collectively known as Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI). Payments are made towards mortgage interest payments and are generally made direct to lenders.

    Lords Library Notes

    10.11.2015Welfare Reform and Work Bill (HL Bill 69 of 2015-16)
    This Library Note provides background reading in advance of the second reading in the House of Lords of the Welfare Reform and Work Bill on 17 November 2015.
    16.07.2015Debate on the Budget Statement
    This Library Note provides background information on the Budget Statement which was delivered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, on 8 July 2015. The Note provides a brief overview of some of the key Budget measures, before outlining the immediate reaction to the statement as expressed by members of the House of Commons and by a selection of organisations and commentators. It has been written to support the debate in the House of Lords on this subject scheduled to take place on 21 July 2015.
    06.02.2013Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill (HL Bill 78 of 2012-13)
    The Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill implements an announcement by the Chancellor in the 2012 Autumn Statement that increases in certain working-age welfare benefits and tax credits would be limited to 1 percent, rather than increasing them in line with inflation. This Library Note is intended to provide background information in advance of the Bill's second reading in the House of Lords on 11 February 2013.


    30.03.2015Measuring Living Standards
    This POSTnote outlines different approaches to setting and measuring thresholds and their strengths and limitations. It also summarises research on recent trends in living standards and the key factors that influence them.
    08.08.2014Alternative Currencies
    This POSTnote outlines the different types and aims of these currencies. It also sets out how alternative currencies are being used and highlights regulatory and policy challenges regarding consumer protection, financial crime and taxation and benefits.
    25.10.2012Mental Health and the Workplace
    This note summarises how the workplace affects mental health and vice versa.

    Select Committee Reports

    16.01.2012Government response to the fifth report of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee on
    Government response. Communities and Local Government Select Committee report [Commons]
    15.12.2010Treasury Minutes on the the Public Accounts Committee, first and second reports of session 2010-11 (HC...
    Government response. Public Accounts Committee report [Commons]

    Early Day Motions

    That this House notes the Government's proposal to use the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rather than the Retail Price Index (RPI) for the price indexation of benefits, tax credits and ...
    That this House welcomes a new report by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, The Cost of Living with Muscle Disease, which highlights the extreme financial hardship faced by many families ...
    That this House notes that British citizens living in Spain can claim the winter fuel allowance; believes this defeats the point of the winter fuel allowance; and calls on the Government ...
    That this House expresses deep concern over the sudden, unexpected announcement of the removal of education maintenance allowances (EMAs) from 16 to 19 year olds; notes that EMAs have ...
    15.07.2010REPORTING OF FRAUD
    That this House notes that there are multiple bodies to which fraud may be reported but that it is unclear which body should be approached in any particular circumstance; believes that ...


    • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
    • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
    • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
    • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
    • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses