The Welfare Reform and Work Bill 2015 unison briefing July 2015

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The Welfare Reform and Work Bill 2015
UNISON Briefing July 2015
The Welfare Reform and Work Bill 2015 continues the governments emphasis on the freeze, cuts, removals and reductions of benefits and tax credits entitlements along with the abolition of important key measures to target a reduction in poverty.
The Bill has already been rushed through its second reading in the House of Commons on the 20th July within just over a week of it being announced in the Summer Budget on the 8th July.
What’s in the Bill?
1. A duty to report to Parliament on:

  • Progress towards achieving full employment.

  • Progress towards achieving 3 million apprenticeships in England.

  • Progress with the Troubled Families programme (England). 

2. The repeal of almost all of the Child Poverty Act 2010:

Replaced with a new duty for the Secretary of State to report annually on “life chances”, children living in workless households and educational attainment at age 16 (England). The name and remit of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission is changed so that it becomes only the Social Mobility Commission removing the focus on Child Poverty.

3. Extensive changes to welfare benefits, tax credits and social housing rent levels:

These will account for around 70% of the £12-13 billion in welfare savings identified in the Summer Budget 2015. The welfare/housing measures include: 

  • Lowering the benefit cap threshold (£26,000) and varying it between London (£23,000) and the rest of the UK (20,000)

  • A four year benefits freeze

  • Limiting support through Child Tax Credits/Universal Credit

  • The abolition of Employment and Support Allowance Work-Related Activity Component

  • Changes to conditionality for responsible carers under Universal Credit

  • Replacing Support for Mortgage Interest with Loans for Mortgage Interest

  • Reducing social housing rent levels by 1% in each year for four years from 2016-17.

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