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House of Lords Library

Changes to Benefits: Impact on Vulnerable People

Published Thursday, June 20, 2019

This House of Lords Library Briefing has been prepared in advance of the debate moved by Baroness Janke (Liberal Democrat) that "this House takes note of the impact of recent benefit changes on vulnerable people" which is due to take place in the House of Lords on 27 June 2019.

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There have been a large number of changes made to benefits in the UK since 2010. Many of these have been complex and have included the replacement of previous benefits with new benefits or the amendment of rules for claimants on existing benefits. The Money Advice Service (now part of the Money and Pensions Service), which provides advice on finances and debt to the public, provides the following examples of recent changes: the introduction of universal credit (UC); the replacement of the disability living allowance (DLA) with personal independence payments (PIP); the introduction of the benefit cap; the removal of the ‘spare room subsidy’; and the replacement of community care grants and crisis loans with support provided by local authorities in England or the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales.

In a speech delivered in January 2019, Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, announced changes to UC. These included piloting the managed migration of those on ‘legacy benefits’. In her speech she described UC as “by far the most important and crucial reform” made to the benefits system. In March 2019, she made a further speech announcing changes to PIP assessments, with the Department for Work and Pensions stating that it was part of a package of reforms that signalled “a shift in the Government’s support for disabled people”.

This briefing focuses on those changes announced to UC and how they relate to vulnerable claimants. It goes into further detail through recent reports from the National Audit Office, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, and the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee on the roll out of UC and its support services. Further sources of information are provided in section 4.

Lords Library notes LLN-2019-0081

Author: Charley Coleman

Topics: Benefits administration, Benefits policy

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House of Lords Library

The House of Lords Library delivers research and information services to Members and staff of the House in support of parliamentary business.