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This page brings you DWP news and announcements.

Work Programme is getting people working

27 November 2012

Tens of thousands of long-term unemployed are getting off benefits and into jobs through the Government's Work Programme, new figures have revealed.

The Government figures published today show that at least 56 per cent of the scheme’s earliest participants have come off benefits, with 19 per cent spending at least six consecutive months off benefits.

The Work Capability Assessment continues to improve

20 November 2012

Employment Minister Mark Hoban welcomes Professor Harrington’s recommendations to further improve the Work Capability Assessment (WCA).

In his third independent review occupational physician Professor Harrington has made recommendations to further improve the WCA. He found that, as improvements from the previous reviews are starting to have an impact, no fundamental reforms are needed.

Help for disabled people

20 November 2012

Yesterday, Minister for Disabled People, Esther McVey, announced changes to improve the Access to Work scheme.

The programme provides financial help towards the extra costs faced by disabled people at work, such as travel costs, specially adapted equipment and support workers.

Better measures of child poverty consultation

15 November 2012

The Government has launched a consultation calling for a better measurement of child poverty that reflects the reality in the UK today.

The current measures focus on a family’s income and now the Government wants to look at how a wider measurement can be developed, to tackle the root causes of poverty including worklessness, educational failure and family breakdown.

Government responds to November Labour Market Statistics

14 November 2012

The number of people who are unemployed has fallen again and there are more people in work, according to new official statistics published today.

Minister for Employment, Mark Hoban, welcomed the figures from the Office for National Statistics which show that unemployment fell 49,000 this quarter to 2.51 million – 110,000 lower than this time last year.

Youth unemployment has also fallen and the number of people in employment has risen.

Tough new benefit rules

22 October 2012

Jobseekers who repeatedly refuse to play by the rules face losing benefits for three years under tough new rules introduced today.‪

The new rules send a clear message that people receiving benefits have a responsibility to actively seek work in exchange for receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance.

GOV.UK – simpler, clearer, faster

17 October 2012

GOV.UK is the new website that will bring most of the information published by government online in one place and will become the starting point for all government digital services. Its aim is to be "simpler, clearer and faster" for users.

Phase one of GOV.UK will focus on users who currently visit the Directgov and Business Link websites. From 17 October, people looking for business and citizen information and services on these sites will be redirected to the new GOV.UK site. Where people have bookmarked links on Directgov and Business Link, these will be automatically redirected to the relevant page on GOV.UK.

The second phase of GOV.UK will see information from departments (including DWP) and a handful of non-departmental bodies move to GOV.UK. Most DWP corporate and policy information will move over by 31 March 2013, and the process will be finished by December 2013.

The third phase of GOV.UK will involve moving information published by other agencies and non-departmental bodies over to the new platform (with some exceptions). This will take about 12 months and will be complete by March 2014.

Government responds to October Labour Market Statistics

17 October 2012

There are more people in employment than ever before, according to new statistics published today. Unemployment has fallen again and youth unemployment has dropped to its lowest level in a year.

The Minister for Employment, Mark Hoban, today welcomed the news as he met with new employees of Whitbread’s Premier Inn, who used their experience of working and volunteering at the Olympics to secure permanent employment.

Expansion of the New Enterprise Allowance

17 October 2012

33,000 extra jobseekers will be given help to set up their own business under a scheme aimed at unlocking the potential of aspiring entrepreneurs.

The New Enterprise Allowance scheme, which provides expert coaching and financial support, will be extended and made far easier, in a bid to get behind those who have the determination to start up their own business.

WCA and cancer treatment – consultation response published

17 September 2012

More people suffering from cancer will get the unconditional help they need under new proposals. The changes will mean hundreds more people a year who are awaiting, receiving, or recovering from any form of chemotherapy or radiotherapy for cancer will be placed in the Support Group for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), where they will get the long term support they need while unable to work.

New disability action alliance announced to deliver disability strategy

17 September 2012

The Government has announced the formation of a new disability action alliance to help respond to the ideas put forward by disabled people and their organisations on living fulfilling lives.

Convened by Disability Rights UK and supported by the Office for Disability Issues, the alliance will consider thousands of suggestions put forward by disabled people earlier this year as part of the ‘Fulfilling Potential’ discussion.

Celebrity bosses raise awareness of biggest pensions change in over a century

17 September 2012

Well-known bosses – including stars of BBC’s Dragons’ Den and The Apprentice Theo Paphitis and Karren Brady – feature in a new advertising campaign to raise awareness of the biggest change in pensions for over 100 years.

The Government’s major “automatic enrolment” programme, being introduced from October, aims to get up to 11 million more people saving in a workplace pension by 2018.

Government responds to September Labour Market Statistics

12 September 2012

Employment Minister Mark Hoban has welcomed another fall in unemployment as figures showed private sector employment has risen by more than one million since May 2010.

Figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the number of people in employment rose by 236,000 in the three months from May to July compared to the previous quarter – including 100,000 more people in full-time posts. Unemployment fell by 7,000 during the same period.

Government responds to August Labour Market Statistics

15 August 2012

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith today welcomed a fifth consecutive fall in unemployment as official figures showed an extra 201,000 people in employment compared to the previous quarter.

Figures published by the Office for National Statistics showed a fall in unemployment of 46,000 between April and June compared to the previous three months. There are now 2.56million people unemployed – the lowest for almost a year. There was little change in the number of people unemployed for 12 months or longer.

Judge rejects claims that work schemes are forced labour

6 August 2012

Schemes to help unemployed people get work are not slave labour, a Judicial review has ruled. The judgment means the Department for Work and Pensions can continue to help people get the vital skills and experience they need to get into a job.

Childcare Commission call for evidence

19 July 2012

Parents, early years professionals and others with an interest in childcare have been urged by Work and Pensions Minister Maria Miller to come forward with their ideas to help the new Childcare Commission improve the accessibility and affordability of childcare.

Government responds to July Labour Market Statistics

18 July 2012

The Minister for Employment today welcomed a further increase in the number of people in work and a fall in unemployment as he met staff starting work after being recruited through the Government’s Work Programme.

Government sets out proposals to reform bereavement benefits

11 July 2012

New proposals for better supporting people on benefits after the loss of a spouse or civil partner have been set out by the Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud.

The proposals and the publication of a Command Paper, “Bereavement Benefits for the 21st Century: Government Response”, addresses concerns that the current system is too complex and out of sync with the needs of bereaved people. Under the current system, some people qualify for a lump sum payout, while others receive regular payments for up to 20 years with no encouragement or support to return to work – essentially abandoning them to a life on benefits following bereavement.

The Government remains committed to providing financial support after spousal bereavement, but Ministers believe that the payment should provide immediate support, instead of longer term income replacement, which can discourage rehabilitation into mainstream life, and harm long term job prospects.

Minister for Disabled People Maria Miller makes statement on the future of specialist disability employment

10 July 2012

Government responds to June Labour Market Statistics

20 June 2012

New employment figures out today showed a rise in the number of people in work to 29.28million, with unemployment falling by 51,000 to 2.61million. The claimant count rose by 8,100 last month following a 13,000 drop in April.

Responding to the figures, Employment Minister Chris Grayling said the fall in unemployment was welcome but cautioned that the next few months would continue to be difficult given the ongoing economic challenges.

Households Below Average Income 2010/11 statistics published

14 June 2012

The Households Below Average Income statistical report (HBAI) for the period 1994/95- 2010/11 has been published.

Statistics and commentary give an insight into the standard of living of the household population in the United Kingdom, focusing on the lower part of income distribution, for the period up to the end of 2010/11. The latest release updates the statistics previously released on 12/05/2011.

More than 4,500 businesses have been set up under the New Enterprise Allowance

1 June 2012

A tapas restaurant, tattoo parlour, party entertainer and removals company are among 4,560 businesses which have been launched thanks to a Government scheme to help entrepreneurial jobseekers, Employment Minister Chris Grayling has revealed.

The businesses have started up thanks to the New Enterprise Allowance, which partners jobseekers with a mentor to draw up a business plan then gives them financial support to help them through the early months and the number is growing all the time. Hundreds of new businesses are now starting up every week under the scheme.

Work Programme first anniversary

30 May 2012

Employment Minister Chris Grayling has delivered a speech to mark the first anniversary of the Work Programme.

New appointment to Work Capability Assessment independent review scrutiny group

17 May 2012

Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the MS Society, has been appointed to the independent scrutiny group overseeing improvements to the Work Capability Assessment (WCA).

He will provide a voice for the charity sector on the scrutiny group overseeing Professor Malcolm Harrington’s third independent review of the WCA.

Government responds to May Labour Market Statistics

16 May 2012

The Minister for Employment, Chris Grayling, today welcomed further signs of improvement to the labour market.

New figures published by the Office for National Statistics today show another rise in employment, up 105,000 to 29.23 million (ILO measure). Employment has now been rising since last autumn. This is complemented by another fall in unemployment, down by 45,000 on the quarter, to 2.63 million.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling makes statement on A4e

15 May 2012

The Minister for Employment, Chris Grayling, has made a Written Ministerial Statement to Parliament on A4e and Mandatory Work Activity.

Benefit fraudsters warned they face tougher penalties

8 May 2012

Benefit cheats will now face a fine of up to £2,000, with a minimum penalty of £350 without being taken to court. This measure, part of the Welfare Reform Act, is expected to save the taxpayer an estimated £42 million over the next three years. Low level fraudsters will now face these additional financial penalties alongside paying back any money they have stolen. Cautions will no longer be an option, meaning no fraudster escapes without punishment.

Government responds to April Labour Market Statistics

18 April 2012

The labour market is showing real signs of stabilisation despite the continuing tough economic climate.

New figures published by the Office for National Statistics on 18 April 2012 show another rise in employment, up 53,000 to 29.172 million (International Labour Organisation, measure). This is coupled with a fall in unemployment of 35,000 on the quarter, to 2.65 million. This is despite the fact there are more people in the labour market, with a fall in inactivity of 25,000.

Boost for unemployed young people as Youth Contract opens for business

2 April 2012

Britain’s unemployed young people are being given a major boost today as the Youth Contract opens for business. Nearly half a million young people are set to benefit as £1 billion becomes available to get them into new jobs or training.

The Youth Contract, launched by the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Minister for Employment Chris Grayling, supports businesses to get young people earning or learning.

The Government is determined to tackle youth unemployment and those out of work aged between 16-24 are urged to go to their Job Centres today to ask about the opportunities available to them.

Important changes to Employment and Support Allowance

30 March 2012

From 30 April 2012, people will only be able to claim contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance for a maximum of a year.

The change will mean that from 30 April 2012, if someone has received contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance for more than 365 days, their benefit will stop. The Department has contacted all of the claimants who will be affected.

Claimants who have no access to money or support will be able to claim income-related Employment and Support Allowance.

Benefit changes for lone parents

23 March 2012

Lone parents will start getting the help they need to look for work earlier rather than stay on benefits, Work and Pensions Minister Maria Miller said today.

Lone parents on Income Support whose youngest child is aged five or over are being informed by letter that, starting from May 2012, if they are able to work they will need to move from Income Support to Jobseeker’s Allowance where they will receive extra help to return to the workplace.  Previously this change has been when their child was aged seven. 

Incapacity benefits reassessments: first official figures published

15 March 2012

More than one third of people going through incapacity benefits reassessment have been found to be fit for work, according to the first set of official statistics released on 15 March 2012.

Figures for the first 141,100 incapacity benefits claimants to start the reassessment process show 37 per cent of those whose claims have been concluded have been found fit for work.

The remaining 63 per cent of claimants were entitled to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA):

Government responds to March Labour Market Statistics

14 March 2012

There are further signs that the labour market is stabilising despite the tough economic climate, according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics on 14 March 2012.

Although unemployment showed a rise of 28,000 compared to the previous quarter, it was 5,000 below the headline figure published last month.

Private sector job creation also outstripped public sector job losses. An extra 45,000 people are now in private sector employment compared to the previous quarter, while public sector employment fell by 37,000.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling said: “This is a more encouraging set of figures, with signs that the labour market is stabilising, but there is clearly still a big challenge ahead to bring down unemployment and get people back to work.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling said: “This is a more encouraging set of figures, with signs that the labour market is stabilising, but there is clearly still a big challenge ahead to bring down unemployment and get people back to work.

Social Justice: transforming lives

13 March 2012

Tackling disadvantage and changing lives is about more than just Welfare Reform, Iain Duncan Smith said at the launch of his Social Justice strategy today.

The blueprint for tackling the root causes of poverty is set out today in a radical new strategy which will inform the way delivery organisations of all kinds interact with the most vulnerable individuals and families.

DWP statement on A4e fraud allegation

9 March 2012

A DWP spokesperson said:

This week we have been made aware of an allegation of attempted fraud in relation to a Mandatory Work Activity contract with A4e. We have begun a formal, immediate investigation of this allegation.

As a result of this new allegation DWP has immediately commenced its own independent audit of all our commercial relationships with A4e. We have required A4e to make available all documentation which our auditors may require and provide full access to interview any A4e employees. This is separate from the independent review of internal controls which A4e has previously announced.

The Chief Executive of A4e was informed of this at a meeting with a senior DWP official earlier today.

We have made it absolutely clear to A4e that we take this matter very seriously, and that if at any point during the audit or thereafter we find evidence of systemic fraud in DWP’s contracts with A4e we will not hesitate to immediately terminate our commercial relationship.

Welfare Reform Bill becomes law

8 March 2012

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith’s Welfare Reform Bill became law today, marking an historic moment for the Coalition Government and delivering on his promise to restore the welfare system to one that is fair for society and will make work pay.

These are the biggest reforms for 60 years and promise to change the lives of millions of households, providing support to the most vulnerable people in society, with around 2.8 million low to middle income households better off and around 900,000 adults and children lifted out of poverty under Universal Credit.

Government to support thousands more disabled people into mainstream employment

7 March 2012

The Government has announced that disability employment services should be focused on disabled people themselves, rather than institutions, so they can access mainstream jobs the same as everyone else.

The Government was responding to the Sayce Review which was commissioned to look at how the £320m protected budget for disability employment could be used more effectively to support thousands more disabled people into work.

Government launches employment support for prisoners

6 March 2012

The Government has launched a major overhaul of the employment support prisoners receive when they leave jail.

Everyone leaving prison and claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance will be immediately referred on day one to the Government’s Work Programme, where they will receive specialist support to get them into employment as quickly as possible.

Government responds to February Labour Market Statistics

15 February 2012

Figures published by the Office for National Statistics show that despite continuing economic challenges the labour market is stabilising.

60,000 more people are now in employment than in the previous quarter. This takes the total number in employment to 29.13 million, a rise of over a quarter of a million in the last 18 months.

The latest figures also show that there are more jobs in the economy. With 476,000 vacancies available at any one time, this is a rise of 11,000 on the three months to October 2011.

Youth Contract wage subsidy – further details announced

13 February 2012

New details of the £2,275 wage subsidy for employers to take on young unemployed people have been announced.

The subsidy will be paid to companies for taking on young unemployed people and is designed to cover costs like National Insurance contributions.

The wage subsidy payments will be:

Help for pensioners on low income during cold spell

9 February 2012

Pensioners who don’t get Pension Credit could be missing out on Cold Weather Payments, which provide vital reassurance that they can afford to turn up the heating as temperatures plummet below zero, Pensions Minister Steve Webb has said.

Over one million pensioners who may be entitled to Pension Credit should check if they are missing out on extra cash. Up to £2.93 billion of Pension Credit goes unclaimed every year and as many as 1.6 million people could be entitled to this money.

If average temperatures are recorded as or forecast to be zero degrees Celsius or below over seven consecutive days, then people who get Pension Credit are automatically entitled to a Cold Weather Payment.

DWP working age benefits claimed by non-UK nationals registering for a National Insurance Number

20 January 2012

The Government publishes estimates of the number of non-UK nationals claiming DWP working-age benefits at the time they registered for a National Insurance number.

Government responds to January Labour Market Statistics

18 January 2012

New figures published by the Office for National Statistics today show 29.12 million people in work, a rise of 18,000 compared to the previous quarter.

The number of unemployed (ILO measure) in September-November 2011 was 2.685 million compared to 2.638 million in the last quarter.

This quarter’s rise in unemployment mainly reflects more people entering the labour market. In particular, more students and more women are looking for work. Inactivity fell by 61,000 on the quarter and the rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 23.1%.

Business leaders back Youth Contract

5 January 2012

Britain’s four biggest employer organisations, The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), have formally backed the Government’s flagship programme to ensure every young person is either earning or learning through the Youth Contract.

Minister for Employment Chris Grayling said:

"Businesses are vital for us to get our support for young people right. With their input we can ensure young people gain the experience and the training to gain sustainable employment.

"We appreciate that there are still tough times ahead in the economy but we want businesses to make a commitment to our young people. Today is the first in a series of discussions we will be undertaking with leading employers, businesses, welfare to work industry and the voluntary sector."

Employers can sign up to pledge their support for the Youth Contract. By registering your support, you will be the first to find out how you can benefit from the Youth Contract.

Workplace Pension Reform consultation

15 December 2011

New plans will ensure that money saved into a pension stays in a pension. These are the next steps to getting millions of people saving into workplace pensions.

The Minister for Pensions Steve Webb has promised to protect the pension pots of people who move jobs often by abolishing Short Service Refunds for Defined Contributions occupational schemes. These refunds allow individuals to get their pension contributions back – leaving them without a pension.

Government responds to December unemployment figures

14 December 2011

New figures published by the Office for National Statistics today show unemployment (ILO measure) at 2.638 million compared to the previous figure of 2.622 million. However, the number of people in work is 38,000 higher than the level published last month.

The rise in the number claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) shows signs of slowing – up 3,000 this month to 1.6 million. This is despite the impact of welfare reform measures that have increased the number of people moving onto JSA from incapacity benefits or Income Support.

New benefit rates for 2012-2013

12 December 2011

The full list of proposed social security benefits rates for 2012 has been published. The annual up-rating of benefits will take place for State Pensions and most other benefits in the week beginning 9 April 2012. A corresponding provision will be made in Northern Ireland.

Biggest ever cash increase to State Pension

6 December 2011

Pensioners will benefit from the biggest ever cash increase to their basic State Pension from next April as it goes up by September’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 5.2% – an increase of £5.30 a week to £107.45.

The poorest pensioners will also see the benefit of the triple lock as Pension Credit Standard Minimum Guarantee rises by £5.35 a week. In addition, the state additional pension (SERPs) will also increase this year in line with September’s CPI, after being frozen in 2010 and increased by 3.1% last year. Ministers also confirmed that support for disabled people will be protected with a 5.2% increase to their benefits.

Support For Mortgage Interest call for evidence published

6 December 2011

A call for evidence into how Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) might operate for claimants in the future has been published by Lord Freud the Minister for Welfare Reform.

SMI was introduced to help people on benefits who were, or are, struggling to make their mortgage payments. However, SMI is not meant to be a long-term solution to home ownership. It is in place to provide help to those people who, through an unfortunate change in circumstances, are having short-term problems with their mortgage payments. The Government is therefore asking experts and the wider public for their views.

£1billion package to tackle youth unemployment

25 November 2011

Almost £1billion will be spent over the next three years to provide unemployed young people with extra help as part of a new “Youth Contract”, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Employment Minister Chris Grayling announced today.

The Youth Contract will provide nearly half-a-million new opportunities for young people, including apprenticeships and work experience placements. It also marks a substantial increase in the support and help available to young people through the Work Programme, Jobcentre Plus and Sector-Based Work Academies.

This package follows extensive discussions with businesses about the practical help Government can provide to make it easier for them to take on fresh talent.

Second Independent Review of the Work Capability Assessment published

24 November 2011

Disabled people are to benefit from further changes to the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) following an independent review of the assessment which looks at someone’s fitness for work, Employment Minister Chris Grayling announced today.

The changes, which will further improve the system’s fairness and effectiveness, are outlined in the second independent review by Professor Malcolm Harrington.  Chris Grayling today pledged to accept Professor Harrington’s recommendations and to further consult on how best to support people with cancer.

Independent review of sickness absence system published

21 November 2011

An independent review aimed at reducing the cost of sickness to employers, taxpayers and the economy has been presented to the Government by health and business experts Dame Carol Black and David Frost.

The reviewers have published a number of recommendations, which aim to reduce the human and financial cost of needless sickness absence in the UK.

Each year around 11 million employees take sick leave and while most people return to work around 300,000 people go on to claim health-related benefits.

The Government will undertake a comprehensive assessment of the review’s findings and recommendations with the view to publishing a response during 2012. 

Help launched nationally for unemployed to start businesses

16 November 2011

The next stage of the Government’s strategy to tackle unemployment, the New Enterprise Allowance, has been launched across Great Britain. The £80 million scheme will support up to 40,000 new businesses over the next two years.

The announcement comes as new figures showed a rise in unemployment from July to September 2011. Employment Minister Chris Grayling has said the challenge of the global economy must not derail plans to stimulate growth and help young people secure employment.

Community work for the long term unemployed

8 November 2011

People who have been unemployed for more than two years and haven’t secured sustainable employment could be referred onto compulsory community work placements under plans being considered by the Government.

Under the proposals people who have been supported intensively through the Work Programme for two years, yet have still not entered sustainable employment, may have to do community work or ultimately they could lose their benefit entitlement.

Ministers believe a minority of jobseekers struggle to engage with the system fully, are unable to hold down a job and therefore require a greater level of support.

Pensions Bill becomes law

3 November 2011

Help for firms to automatically enrol staff into workplace pensions and changes to the State Pension age have now become law, as the Pensions Bill received Royal Assent on 3 November 2011.

Starting from October 2012, employers will begin to automatically enrol eligible workers into a qualifying pension scheme and contribute to that pension. People who are automatically enrolled will also contribute to the scheme and get tax relief.

The Pensions Act 2011 also brings forward the increase in the State Pension age to 66 by 2020, and women’s State Pension age in line with men’s to 65 by 2018, so that State Pension remains sustainable for the future.

Iain Duncan Smith sets out next steps for moving claimants onto Universal Credit

1 November 2011

Over one million people will be claiming Universal Credit by April 2014, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has announced as he set out the Government timetable to move 12 million claimants onto the new benefit by 2017.

Development of the Universal Credit IT programme is also progressing well with 30 per cent of the new technology required to deliver it now complete on time and on budget.

Reforms to the Work Capability Assessment start to show results

27 October 2011

The Government’s commitment to provide greater protection for the severely disabled is taking effect, with the latest figures revealing an increase in the number of people assessed for the higher rate of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). However, the figures still show that the majority of people (38 per cent) are being found fit for work.

No women will face two year increase in state pension age

13 October 2011

Women who would have seen a two year increase to their state pension age will have their wait reduced to 18 months Welfare Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has announced. The Pensions Bill currently going through Parliament will be amended from the current timetable to cap the increase at a maximum of 18 months.

Iain Duncan Smith:

"We have listened to the concerns of those women most affected by the proposed rise in state pension age to 66 and so we will cap the increase to a maximum of 18 months. We have always made clear that we would manage any change fairly and ensure any transition is as smooth as possible."

Government responds to latest unemployment figures

12 October 2011

The Government must continue with measures to reduce the deficit, stimulate the economy and support people who lose their jobs back into work, Employment Minister Chris Grayling said today.

New figures published by the Office for National Statistics today show a rise in unemployment of 114,000 to 2.56 million (ILO measure) indicating that the slowdown in the world economy and fragile financial markets in both Europe and North America are continuing to have an impact on the UK economy.

Thousands of new opportunities for jobseekers through sector-based work academies

12 October 2011

The Government is to launch the next part of its strategy to combat youth unemployment, with the formal launch of sector-based work academies across England. The new academies will offer a combination of training, work experience and a guaranteed job interview to up to 50,000 people over the next two years, with many going to young people.

Childcare support will be paid to around 80,000 more households

7 October 2011

Childcare support will be paid to around 80,000 more households, the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg and Welfare Secretary Iain Duncan Smith have announced today.

Reaffirming their commitment to helping parents with the costs of childcare, the Government will invest an additional £300 million into childcare support under Universal Credit, on top of the £2bn already spent under the current system.

Disability employment services consultation

11 July 2011

The Government today launched a consultation into employment services for disabled people and is seeking views on the recommendations put forward by RADAR Chief Executive Liz Sayce.

The Government has also published its response to the Sayce Review, “Getting in, staying in and getting on”. This recommends that employment support should be focused on the individual and not the institution, so disabled people can access jobs across the economy – rather than in segregated employment.

The review also recommends improving and expanding Access to Work – which gives financial help for support workers, interpreters, equipment and other practical support to enable disabled people to get and keep jobs.

Review of disability employment support published

9 June 2011

Government support for employment services for disabled people should be focused on the individual and not the institution, so disabled people can access jobs across the economy, according to an independent report published today.

The review into employment services for disabled people by RADAR Chief Executive Liz Sayce, recommends changes to Government policy to support disabled people to work in any role in any sector – rather than in segregated employment. 

Government vows to get the young into work

12 May 2011

A £60 million commitment to get more vulnerable young people into work, a boost to apprenticeships and radical reforms to transform vocational education are part of a series of measures outlined by the Government today to prioritise youth employment, and tackle some of the long term structural barriers that stop some young people from getting a job and starting their career.

Child Poverty Strategy: Tackling causes not symptoms

05 April 2011

The Government today published its first Child Poverty Strategy setting out a new approach focussed on work, fairness and responsibility that will tackle the root causes of poverty and end entrenched and generational benefit dependency.

This strategy brings together the work across Government that is designed to give children the opportunity to fulfil their potential. Central to this will be the Government's welfare reform plans:

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith said:

"The legacy of worklessness and benefit dependency is that too many families feel outside of society with no expectation that will change for them or their children. The benefit system has trapped people into this depressing cycle. Factors like family breakdown, educational failure, debt and addiction further entrench such disenfranchisement.

"Pouring money into a broken welfare system has only served to have a perverse impact on child poverty. During a decade of prosperity we have failed to see any significant improvement in life chances despite bankrupting the country and increasing the pressure on the taxpayer.

"From now on we will make sure people are able to work themselves and their families out of poverty and reward those who do the right thing. Our reforms will move 350,000 children and 500,000 adults out of poverty instantly and the dynamic impact will change Britain for generations – a change we cannot wait any longer for.

"This strategy brings together work across Government that I believe will improve the life chances of millions of children."

The strategy also announced a new Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission with a far broader remit than the Act demanded. It will hold Government to account and monitor and drive progress towards ending child poverty, improving life chances, and increasing social mobility. For the first time we will track indexes from across Government to look at the root causes and drivers of poverty - how they interact and how we can make a real positive change to children's lives.

The flagship policies that will underpin this work include:

A state pension for the 21st Century

04 April 2011

This consultation seeks views on the Government’s proposals for simplifying the State Pension system.

Welfare Reform Bill 2011

17 February 2011

Launching the Welfare Reform Bill with the Prime Minister today, Iain Duncan Smith hailed what promises to be the biggest shake up of the system for 60 years.

Central to the Bill will be the introduction of Universal Credit, which will simplify a benefits system that has become unmanageable, make work pay and help release millions of people from the misery of welfare dependency and break intergenerational cycles of worklessness.

Local approaches to multiple disadvantage – expressions of interest sought

8 February 2011

As part of a national cross-sector Resolving Multiple Disadvantage project being championed by the Cabinet Office, DWP and other government departments, a range of Big Society partners wish to work with a small number of localities from April to September 2011 to find ways to reduce multiple disadvantage amongst adults. Expressions of interest to become “Local Inclusion Labs” are invited from localities wishing to:

The closing date for expressions of interest is 5pm on Monday 28 February.

Early Intervention: the next steps

19 January 2011

Please see link to the first report of the Graham Allen review, Early Intervention: The Next Steps (2.2MB) PDF. The report was launched by Graham Allen MP and the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg on the morning of Wednesday 19th January 2011. This is an independent report to Government: it sets out the rationale for Early Intervention, identifies opportunities to build on the existing work done at local and national level, including the need to change the culture around parenting through a Big Society approach, identifies the most effective Early Intervention programmes, including their cost effectiveness and makes recommendations on the actions needed to ensure the country can gain the full benefits of an Early Intervention approach.

Its aim is to create the essential social and emotional bedrock for all children that will help them to be school ready, life ready and child ready and enable them, their communities and the country to reap the individual, social and economic rewards gained by forestalling many persistent social problems and ending  their transmission from one generation to the next.

Graham Allen’s second report to be published by summer 2011 will detail the new funding options needed to resource Early Intervention. 

The report has been welcomed by Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP, Secretary of State for Department for Work and Pensions:

"I am delighted to welcome this report on Early Intervention and thank Graham for his valuable contribution. We have worked together on this subject for many years, and his report will now be submitted to the Social Justice Cabinet Committee, where we will discuss the best way to take it forward. Early Intervention is crucial in breaking the inter-generational cycle of many of the social problems Britain is facing, and improving outcomes for children who have had a difficult start in life."

Default retirement age to end this year

17 January 2011 (updated 4 March 2011)

On 13 January 2011 the Government confirmed that it will remove the default retirement age (DRA) so that people have more choice when to stop working.

Ministers have decided to proceed with their plan to phase out the DRA from 6 April. Currently the DRA enables employers to make staff retire at 65 regardless of their ability or desire to continue working, but the Government feels the rules must change as people are living longer, healthier lives.

This change means that from 6 April 2011, employers will not be able to issue any notifications for compulsory retirement.

The phasing out of the DRA means that only those who are 65 or above before 1 October 2011 can be retired using the DRA. The regulations were re-drafted and re-laid on 1 March 2011 to take into account stakeholder concerns.'

Transparency agenda – DWP spend data released

19 November 2010

In the next stage of the Government’s transparency agenda, DWP has released details of its payments each month over £25,000.

You can find more information about how DWP applies transparency to its procurement activities.

Details of all other information released as part of the transparency agenda in DWP are on the main Transparency page.

Universal Credit to make work pay

12 November 2010

On 11 November the Government published its "Universal credit: welfare that works", which paves the way for the introduction of Universal Credit.

Universal Credit will allow people to keep more of their benefit when they go back to work to ensure that getting a job is always worth it.

It will provide a basic allowance with additional elements for children, disability, housing and caring. It will replace current working age means tested benefits – Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, and income-related Employment and Support Allowance.

DWP Business Plan published

9 November 2010

The DWP Business Plan for 2011 to 2015 has been published on the Number 10 website, along with the business plans for all other government departments.

The Business Plan sets out the programme of work for the Department over the next 5 years, with clear milestones to measure progress and set a benchmark for accountability.

A commentable version of the milestones in the Business Plan has also been made available.

Backing small business

03 November 2010

New government measures announced to help the five million small firms in the UK grow and boost enterprise across Britain.

Lord Young’s report into health and safety and the compensation culture

18 October 2010

Lord Young of Graffham, the Prime Minister’s Adviser on Health and Safety Law and Practice, published his report "Common Sense, Common Safety" on 15 October. The report examines the country’s perceived compensation culture and the impact of health and safety regulations on businesses and personal freedom.

The Prime Minister and the Cabinet have accepted all of the recommendations put forward by Lord Young, who will continue to work across departments to ensure his recommendations are carried through.

Transparency agenda – DWP organisation chart and senior management pay

15 October 2010

As part of the Government’s transparency agenda, DWP has released:

The information is correct as of 30 June 2010.

DWP sickness absence statistics to 30 June 2010

27 September 2010

The Department for Work and Pensions has reported its latest quarterly figures on the level of sickness absence in its workforce to the Cabinet Office. In the 12 month period 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010, the average level of sickness absence in the Department was 8.5 days per staff year.

21st Century Welfare

30 July 2010

Millions of people abandoned on welfare will benefit from the most radical overhaul of the system in a century, as Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith set out plans today to revolutionise the existing benefits system.

"21st Century Welfare" sets out a series of options which focus on ensuring work always pays and is clearly seen to pay. They include allowing people to keep more of what they earn as they move into work whilst withdrawing benefits at a single, more reasonable rate as people start to earn more money.

Programme for Government

30 July 2010

Government departments today published their responses to comments made by the public on the Coalition’s Programme for Government. Over 9,500 comments were received online from members of the public between 24 May and 10 June.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, and Minister of State in the Cabinet Office, Oliver Letwin, have responded on film. View the video message and the full range of responses:

DWP has published its specific responses to comments from the public on Jobs and Welfare, and Pensions and Older People.

Your Freedom

02 July 2010

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has launched the 'Your Freedom' website.

The website provides an opportunity for anyone to suggest ideas to:

A welfare system for the 21st century

29 June 2010

Employment Minister Chris Grayling today announced a series of reforms to deliver a 21st century welfare system.

The new Work Programme will replace the current back to work schemes and provide a coherent package of support for people out of work, regardless of the barriers they face or the benefits they claim. The Government is inviting expressions of interest from the private, public and voluntary sectors to help deliver this.

The Government is committed to providing unconditional support for very sick and disabled people. But there are people claiming incapacity benefits who, with help, would be able to work.

From October, starting in Burnley and Aberdeen, Jobcentre Plus will ask people who are receiving incapacity benefits to attend a Work Capability Assessment. The rest of the country will follow over the next three years.

To ensure fewer very sick people will be asked to attend an assessment, new measures will be introduced to:

The Government is also establishing an independent review, to be led by Professor Malcolm Harrington, to ensure people are treated fairly and assessments are transparent. The report will be completed by the end of 2010.

Fairness and reform at the heart of Budget settlement

22 June 2010

In keeping with the commitment to fairness and reform, the Department today confirmed the details of its emergency budget settlement based around the key principles of:

At its heart, is the commitment to help and support the poorest and most vulnerable in society, whilst making almost £5 billion worth of savings for the taxpayer by 2014-15.

This settlement marks the beginning of a programme of radical and fundamental reform that will see the welfare state return to its core principles of providing a safety net for those who need it and value for those who support it.

The Chancellor confirmed that from April 2011 all DWP administered benefits will be uprated in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This is a better indication of inflation and is the target that the Bank of England works towards, so it makes sense for the Department to uprate benefits using this measure.

Pensioners

The Government's support for pensioners remains absolute. The Budget affirms the commitment to a triple guarantee for pensions, meaning the basic State Pension will be uprated by the highest of the price index, earnings or 2.5%. We will ensure that the basic State Pension will go up in line with RPI for next year if that is higher than all of the three other elements.

We have secured vital support for the 2.5 million poorest pensioners. We will ensure that low income pensioners on the Pension Credit Guarantee Credit receive the same cash increase as provided for through the triple guarantee for the basic State Pension in April 2011.

Housing Benefit

This budget also sees the Government address some of the unfairness that has become inherent in the Housing Benefit (HB) system and in many cases a barrier to helping people into work. The reforms will save nearly £2 billion in the financial year 2014-15, whilst making the benefit more fair and better targeted. It also marks the first plank of the reform of the benefits system. A reform which will in the long term make the system simpler and fairer, and help reduce the fraud and error bill which today stands at £5 billion across benefits and tax credits.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) will now be restricted to a maximum of four bedrooms for new and existing claimants. Alongside this, weekly LHA rates will be capped at £250 for a one bedroom property, £290 for two, £340 for three and £400 for a four bedroom property.

LHA rates will now also be based on the thirtieth percentile of rents of the local area. This reform means hard working individuals and families will no longer have to subsidise people living in properties they themselves could not afford. From April 2013 LHA will be uprated by CPI.

There will be staged increases in the rates of non-dependant deductions in the income-related benefits from April 2011. By April 2014, these increases will bring the rates to the level they would have been had they been fully uprated since 2001 to reflect growth in rents and council tax. This measure, phased over three years, will strike a fairer balance.

To help make work pay from April 2013, people who have been on Jobseeker's Allowance for 12 months or more, will have a 10% reduction in their Housing Benefit.

We will also work with local authorities to ensure that the housing stock is more sensibly utilised and that entitlement to social housing reflects a family size. Working age HB claimants who are living in a property that is too large for their household size will have their benefit capped. To help the most vulnerable people who could be affected by this change, the Additional Discretionary Housing Payments budget will be tripled to £60 million a year from 2013-14.

Carers

We recognise the important work done by carers up and down the country and so we will provide an extra £60 million by 2014 to help fund an additional room for carers.

Mortgage interest support

The current system of mortgage interest support means that 92% of customers get more help than they actually need. To ensure that Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) is better targeted we will reduce the rate from 1 October 2010 from 6.08% to the Bank of England average (currently 3.67%).

Disability Living Allowance

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) was originally designed to give those with severe disabilities extra help so they could live with dignity and independence in their own homes. While we are absolutely committed to supporting vulnerable disabled people, over the last decade the system has become open to abuse and the numbers claiming has steadily increased. In just eight years the numbers claiming DLA have risen by more than half a million.

DLA awards can be decided on the basis of self-reporting of need and, although medical assessments are sought for certain awards, these are not mandatory.  We believe support must be offered on the basis of genuine need.

That's why we're taking the decision to reassess everyone of working age on DLA, and ensure everyone in the future goes through a proper gateway to claim the benefit.

Lone parents

There are still almost 700,000 lone parents claiming some form of Income Support without any obligation to look for work. Currently lone parents are expected to start seeking work when their youngest child is seven years old – we will lower this to when their youngest child is five years old. Our Jobcentre Plus advisers will work closely with the parents using their current discretionary powers to ensure that these obligations take into account the school hours of their children.

Sure Start Maternity Grant

As part of making the system fair to all families, the Sure Start Maternity Grant of £500 will now be made payable to the first child only. The grant was designed to help with the costs of having a baby – such as buying a pram or cot – yet it was payable for every child and cost the country £73 million a year. Working families will often make use of a pram or cot for a second or third child and we would expect families on benefits to do the same.

Reforms will tackle poverty and get Britain working again

27 May 2010

The new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith set out his vision today for improving the quality of life of the worst off in Britain.

Calling for an end to a culture of welfare dependency by bringing the welfare system into the 21st century, Iain Duncan Smith set out the critical need to make work pay and end the absurd situation where some of the poorest face huge penalties for trying to get off benefits and into work.

State of the Nation Report

27 May 2010

The "State of the Nation Report: Poverty, worklessness and welfare dependency in the UK" is published today. It sets out a comprehensive assessment of poverty in the UK establishing a clear "state of the nation" overview as the Government advances its aims of tackling poverty and improving life chances.

New Secretary of State announced

12 May 2010

Iain Duncan Smith is the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.