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12 Nov

Universal credit will cost more than system it replaces, study shows

Universal credit, the government’s flagship welfare policy, will be more expensive than the system it replaces, according to a new report.

The rollout of the reformed system, which brings six benefits into one, has been hampered by delays amid widespread concern that the changes could force people into poverty, while there have also been reports that universal credit, which has undergone phased introductions across the UK, has increased reliance on food banks.

9 Nov

Parole Board has no black people among 240 members

The body responsible for deciding whether prisoners can be released into the community has no black members, it has been revealed.

Caroline Corby, the chair of the Parole Board, has said she fears unconscious bias could be behind the absence of black members and the low number of minority ethnic people.

9 Nov

One in 10 rental homes advertised as excluding benefits claimants

At least one in 10 rental properties in England could be being unlawfully advertised by explicitly discriminating against people on housing benefit, housing charities have said.

Analysis of around 86,000 letting agents’ adverts on the property website Zoopla by the homeless charity Shelter and the National Housing Federation (a trade association for social housing providers) in England found 8,710 posts that ruled out tenants on housing benefit.

9 Nov

Midterm elections: Florida polls face possible recounts

Razor-thin margins in the Senate and governor’s races in Florida are raising the possibility of recounts in two of the most closely watched contests of the US midterm elections.

In the governor’s race, the campaign of the Democratic candidate, Andrew Gillum, said it was preparing for a possible recount. He conceded to his Republican rival, Ron DeSantis, on Tuesday, although the race has since tightened. As of Thursday afternoon, DeSantis led Gillum by 0.47 of a percentage point.

6 Nov

Universal credit leading to rise in food bank use, charity says

Britain’s biggest food bank charity has called for urgent changes to universal credit after unveiling figures that show it gave out more than 650,000 food parcels in the past six months – a year-on-year increase of 13%.

The Trussell Trust said the government’s insistence on making new claimants wait at least five weeks for their first universal credit payment was driving big increases in the numbers of benefit claimants relying on food banks.

6 Nov

Rise in women’s state pension age prompts poverty concerns

The state pension age for women will rise to 65 on Tuesday to match men for the first time, reaching a milestone that has prompted warnings from campaigners that the pace of equalisation has left some female retirees facing poverty.

The equalisation of the state pension age at 65 is the first step towards a rise to 66 for both sexes in two years (October 2020), and a planned further increase to 67 starting from 2026. Another rise to 68 from 2039 was recommended by the official Cridland review this year, which will hit workers currently in their late 30s and early 40s.

5 Nov

Two in five people with learning disabilities not diagnosed in childhood

Two out of five people with learning disabilities are not diagnosed in childhood and, even if they are, they will likely die before they collect their pension, according to a study commissioned by the NHS.

Researchers from the UCL Institute of Health Equity (IHE) found that people with learning disabilities will die 15 to 20 years sooner on average than the general population. That amounts to 1,200 people each year, a figure which chimes with the government’s own estimate. The IHE says it is not a consequence of the underlying condition that led to the learning disability but because they are being “catastrophically” failed by the government.

31 Oct

‘There’s a lot of stigma’: why do so few care leavers go to university?

There are 72,000 children in care in England, and they face far worse life chances than their peers. They face a much higher risk of homelessness, teenage pregnancy and unemployment. And just 6% of young people with experience of the care system will attend university, compared with almost 50% in the general population.

To address this, the government announced a new care leaver covenant last week, aimed at easing the path into independent adulthood. While it acknowledges that universities already do a lot to support care leavers, it’s asking that they step up their efforts. Several universities have since signed up to the covenant.

31 Oct

North-south divide in early deaths deepening, study finds

There has been a “profoundly concerning” rise in early deaths from accidents, suicide, alcohol misuse, smoking, cancer and drug addiction in the north of England, deepening the north-south divide, research has found.

Socioeconomic deprivation has led to a particularly sharp rise in deaths among 25 to 44-year-olds , according to new data analysis from Manchester university.

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