Daily Archives: February 17, 2011

This is definitely the most curious policy included in the Universal Credit reforms. Why does IDS want to meddle with the mighty army of stay-at-home mums?

Under his plan, if mothers with working partners want to claim Universal Credit, they will face the same jobseeking regime applying to single-mothers. With a few important caveats, they’ll effectively be regarded as someone claiming Jobseekers Allowance.

This is a big change. It will mean that these mums (or stay-at-home fathers) will in future have to turn up at the Jobcentre to explain how they’re planning to return to work.

Once their children are aged seven, if they don’t turn up for their “work focussed interview”, they could even have their benefit docked.

For, say, the proud wife of a postman who stays at home because it makes economic sense, turning up at the Jobcentre could be quite a unsettling experience.

What is even more peculiar is the fact that IDS will be toughening the rules and threatening sanctions, while at the same time reducing the financial incentive to work.

Around 330,000 second earners will, after these reforms, face a higher marginal deduction rate. That said, these reforms will make it easier to work fewer hours — one of many positive benefits.

But I struggle to see the advantage of extending a conditionality regime on to stay-at-home mothers in working families. This will cost money, use up the scarce time of jobcentre advisors and be unpopular in many households. What is the point? Read more

Iain Duncan Smith declared this morning that “nobody will be worse off” under Universal Credit.

That is quite a claim, particularly given 1.7m households will lose out, at least in terms of their notional entitlement to benefit.

He was referring, of course, to the protection that will be provided so no family loses in cash terms at the point of transition.

This promise is both the midwife to this dramatic reform plan, and one of the most tricky measures to implement. Read more

Here are some of the highlights from the DWP impact assessment:

1) Higher bill: The reforms in total will add £2.6bn to the welfare bill overall. There could be other “dynamic benefits” not included in the model. Read more