The coalition government announced that child benefit payments for all those households in which either parent paid a higher rate of income tax would be clawed back with effect from 2013. It also announced that, with effect from 2013, total benefit payments for each household would be capped on the basis of median earnings after tax for working households.
Source: Speech by George Osborne (Chancellor of the Exchequer), 4 October 2010
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An audit report said that the community care grants scheme (part of a wider package of Social Fund loans and grants) had an important role in helping vulnerable people to establish themselves in the community and in easing exceptional pressure on families: but in its existing design it did not deliver value for money.
Source: The Community Care Grant, HC 286 (Session 2010-11), National Audit Office/TSO
A report examined claimants' understanding and experiences of the Social Fund, particularly the discretionary elements – crisis loans, budgeting loans, and community care grants. Clients' views were sought on alternative ways in which the discretionary Fund might be administered. Claimants were in favour of a simpler Fund structure.
Source: Ashfa Slater, The Social Fund: Customer Experiences and Perspectives – Qualitative research with Jobcentre Plus customers, Research Report 625, Department for Work and Pensions
The government began consultation on a package of reforms to the Social Fund in England, Wales, and Scotland. It said that the proposals were designed to create a scheme that was 'active rather than passive'; that made it more straightforward for claimants to get one-off or occasional financial support; that provided more support to frequent users of the Fund to help them tackle the underlying problems they faced; and that provided better value for money for taxpayers. Proposals included 'encouraging' people who used the Fund to take more responsibility for managing their finances and planning their future; reducing frequent applications to the Fund; providing 'goods and services' instead of cash for community care grants; examining ways to increase social fund debt recovery; and examining the possibility of access to affordable credit for low-income households.
Source: Social Fund Reform: Debt, credit and low-income households, Cm 7750, Department for Work and Pensions/TSO