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Social security should be reasonable and sympathetic - but it is not
Universal Credit administration takes a hard line, even with measures that are supposed to make allowances for people in difficulty. Work from Advice NI has exposed another fault line in the system, leaving vulnerable people in hardship.
Questions remain on extension of Welfare Reform mitigations
March 2020 sees the end of Welfare Reform mitigations in NI. The newly-reformed Stormont has promised to extend this important service, yet some uncertainty remains.
Welfare Reform mitigations must continue
A Westminster committees inquiry has concluded that NI’s mitigations package should continue beyond next March’s benefits cliff edge – action is required now.
Northern Ireland in no position to take a one-two-three punch
Brexit, Welfare Reform and the health service – each is at a major moment for NI policy. But these are not independent issues. Any failures will compound. This could be disastrous.
If you want to improve the benefits system, speak up
The IFS says Universal Credit will lower the incomes of millions of people and that the welfare reform “hits the persistently poor the hardest on average.” But change is possible.
Welfare Reform mitigations have problems that could be helped by an Executive
An Audit Office report has highlighted huge Welfare Reform underspend. Several NI organisations say bigger problems are coming. With no Assembly, we are rudderless – but Stormont struggled to deal with this first time round.
How NI relies on Europe for employability schemes
The European Social Fund represents a small amount of EU money – but supports a huge proportion of the schemes in its sector. Westminster’s delay on developing a replacement is worrying.
Christmas is the busiest time of year for foodbanks
Another Christmas, another busy month for foodbanks. For most people, they are an abstract concept – that’s because most people never have to use them.
There will be unfortunate irony if Brexit is terrible - but the UK already had real problems
Some major issues that drove Brexit could worsen after we leave the EU. This says some interesting things not just about the UK's decision - but also about the status quo we are leaving behind.
Children in NI face plenty of problems (part two)
The second half of our look at NICCY’s Statement on Children’s Rights in NI focuses on safeguarding – including protections from child sexual exploitation and bullying, and fair treatment for those subject to immigration control.
Children in NI face plenty of problems (part one)
The Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) has just released a comprehensive report on the problems faced by local children right now. It deserves close attention.
Universal Credit: more reasonable in Northern Ireland
Welfare Reform faces plenty of controversies, but the Department for Communities has taken a more sympathetic approach than is seen in GB. Scope speaks to Law Centre NI about their DfC funded guide to avoiding sanctions.
Sanctions have been a dystopian farce but there are wider problems for social security
A major report from Welfare Conditionality, released this week, slammed the sanctions programme that is a key strut of Universal Credit. Scope takes a look.
Hand to mouth: Northern Ireland’s poverty outlook
Employment is no guarantee against poverty, and lack of qualifications makes things harder still. A new Joseph Rowntree Foundation report shows Northern Ireland is not well equipped to tackle this issue.