Low income households can, potentially, mitigate the impact of reductions in benefits income by increasing their earning and reducing their outgoings. In practice this may entail a complex range of solutions including housing, employment, social care and financial inclusion.
- With responsibility for delivering over 800 services to their communities, councils are uniquely placed to support families to live the lives they want to lead. This includes helping low income households to adjust to changes brought about by wider welfare reforms. It is vital that they are given the flexibility and resources to do this work.
- Low income households can, potentially, mitigate the impact of reductions in benefits income by increasing their earning and reducing their outgoings. In practice this may entail a complex range of solutions including housing, employment, social care and financial inclusion. Councils are best placed to understand family circumstances and bring services together.
- We are concerned by evidence that shows that some households in England, are being pushed into more precarious circumstances as result of the cumulative impact of welfare reform, and that this is felt most severely among vulnerable households.
- We appreciate the Government’s ‘test and learn’ approach to the implementation of Universal Credit. We are pleased that the Government has listened to the concerns raised by local authorities and had committed to both a gradual implementation and additional funding to support the next phase of Universal Credit implementation.
- The National Audit Office (NAO) and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have both identified that Government, local government and households could all benefit from improved partnership working between DWP and councils. They have also identified the risk of welfare reforms pushing additional unmet costs on to local authorities as they manage both the administrative and wider policy consequences of welfare reform. The LGA has asked the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to ensure that some of the additional funding announced in the Budget goes towards enabling councils to continue to deliver their vital role in administering benefits and supporting households.
- Government must continue work with councils and their partners to understand whether the reforms are achieving overarching policy intentions and deliver welfare reform in a way that takes account of the interaction of wider socioeconomic factors and policy-drivers. For example, the NAO recommended in its report on homelessness that DWP should do more to understand the interaction between homelessness and reductions in support for housing costs. An example of this is the number of households in Temporary Accommodation.