Appeal to strengthen social security

18 January 2016

The House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee is urging the government to find a solution in its welfare safety net and prevent citizens from suffering severe poverty.

According to a new report, The local welfare safety net, the Commons Work and Pensions Committee asks that there be better co-ordination between central and local government, especially in regards to councils’ power in giving out emergency welfare payments – which MPs have dubbed a ‘postcode lottery’.

The committee request that the government act to protect people from unintended effects of national welfare reforms such as the Benefit Cap and the removal of the Bedroom Tax, further measures that affect the circumstances of local people.

In another report, the National Audit office have similarly suggested that the future of local welfare provision is uncertain as they say councils have “acted cautiously” in providing support due to their own concerns for high demand and funding levels.

But the government have justified their actions to in distributing the Department of Work and Pensions cash as they believe councils understand local needs a lot better.

A spokesman from DWP has said that the government’s welfare reforms were designed to instil “fairness” to the system and affirmed that they were working closely with local authorities, charities and landlords to ensure people received support.

Rt Hon Frank Field MP, chair of the committee, said: “As the old saying goes, a stitch in time saves nine: emergencies that are not dealt with early will escalate. Some councils are doing great work and realising the potential of localised emergency welfare—tackling the underlying causes of their residents’ needs, where possible promoting self-sufficiency and ultimately saving public money.”

“But localisation of welfare is the most radical departure in welfare since the Attlee government laid down a minimum income throughout the entire country for what would otherwise be the destitute poor.”