Benefits policy

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on Social Security benefits policy. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Commons Briefing Papers

DateDescription
13.01.2016The UN Inquiry into the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the UK
The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is conducting an inquiry into the impact of the UK Government's policies on people with disabilities in relation to their human rights obligations. This briefing paper provides information on the Committee, details of the inquiry and an overview of the Government's policies in relation to people with disabilities.
05.01.2016Universal Credit changes from April 2016
Universal Credit (UC) is a new benefit which is to replace means-tested social security benefits and tax credits for working-age claimants by 2021. UC work allowances, the maximum a claimant can earn before their award is withdrawn, will be reduced from April 2016. Limits to support for new claimants will also apply from April 2017. This paper provides an introduction to Universal Credit and analyses the impact of these proposed changes.
17.12.2015The welfare cap
This policy limits the total amount that Government can spend on certain benefits, including tax credits and housing benefit. Not to be confused with the household benefits cap which limits the amount individual households can receive.
07.12.2015The Benefit Cap
This briefing explains how the household benefit cap operates and considers evidence of its impact to date. It goes on to consider the Government's intention to reduce the cap from 26,000 to 20,000 per year (23,000 in London).
30.11.2015Spending Review and Autumn Statement 2015: a summary
Updated analysis of the Spending Review and Autumn Statement 2015.
27.11.20152016 Benefits Uprating
This note sets out the main benefit and tax credit rates for the 2016-17 financial year.
20.11.2015Background to the 2015 Spending Review and Autumn Statement
Background to the joint 2015 Spending Review and Autumn Statement, which will be presented to Parliament on 25 November 2015.
20.11.2015A Fresh Start: the Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan and the Northern Ireland (Welfare Reform) Bill 2015-16 [Bill 99]
The Northern Ireland (Welfare Reform) Bill is part of a process to stabilise the political institutions in Northern Ireland. It stems from a package agreed between the UK and Irish Governments and the largest Northern Ireland parties: the Fresh Start agreement. This paper gives a guide to the Bill, and to the agreement.
16.11.2015Social Indicators 2015
This Research Paper summarises a wide range of social statistics. Subjects covered include agriculture, crime, defence, education, elections, environment and energy, health, housing, local government, population and migration, social security and transport.
29.10.2015Tax Credit changes from April 2016
This note (published 15 October 2015) outlines what tax credits are, the changes announced in the Summer Budget 2015 and how these changes will be implemented. It also estimates what impact these changes will have for families in combination with other measures announced in the Summer Budget 2015, such as introduction of the National Living Wage, the increase to the Personal Allowance and freeze in Child Benefit. This page was updated on 29 October 2015 to included additional analysis of the impact on affected families (see attached spreadsheet).

Lords Library Notes

DateDescription
10.11.2015Welfare Reform and Work Bill (HL Bill 69 of 2015-16)
This Library Note provides background reading in advance of the second reading in the House of Lords of the Welfare Reform and Work Bill on 17 November 2015.
16.07.2015Debate on the Budget Statement
This Library Note provides background information on the Budget Statement which was delivered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, on 8 July 2015. The Note provides a brief overview of some of the key Budget measures, before outlining the immediate reaction to the statement as expressed by members of the House of Commons and by a selection of organisations and commentators. It has been written to support the debate in the House of Lords on this subject scheduled to take place on 21 July 2015.
06.02.2013Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill (HL Bill 78 of 2012-13)
The Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill implements an announcement by the Chancellor in the 2012 Autumn Statement that increases in certain working-age welfare benefits and tax credits would be limited to 1 percent, rather than increasing them in line with inflation. This Library Note is intended to provide background information in advance of the Bill's second reading in the House of Lords on 11 February 2013.

POSTnotes

DateDescription
30.03.2015Measuring Living Standards
This POSTnote outlines different approaches to setting and measuring thresholds and their strengths and limitations. It also summarises research on recent trends in living standards and the key factors that influence them.
08.08.2014Alternative Currencies
This POSTnote outlines the different types and aims of these currencies. It also sets out how alternative currencies are being used and highlights regulatory and policy challenges regarding consumer protection, financial crime and taxation and benefits.
25.10.2012Mental Health and the Workplace
This note summarises how the workplace affects mental health and vice versa.

Select Committee Reports

DateDescription
16.01.2012Government response to the fifth report of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee on
Government response. Communities and Local Government Select Committee report [Commons]
15.12.2010Treasury Minutes on the the Public Accounts Committee, first and second reports of session 2010-11 (HC...
Government response. Public Accounts Committee report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

DateDescription
17.11.2010INDEXATION OF PENSIONS AND BENEFITS
That this House notes the Government's proposal to use the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rather than the Retail Price Index (RPI) for the price indexation of benefits, tax credits and ...
17.11.2010MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY CAMPAIGN COST OF LIVING WITH MUSCLE DISEASE REPORT
That this House welcomes a new report by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, The Cost of Living with Muscle Disease, which highlights the extreme financial hardship faced by many families ...
04.11.2010WINTER FUEL ALLOWANCE AND BRITISH CITIZENS LIVING ABROAD
That this House notes that British citizens living in Spain can claim the winter fuel allowance; believes this defeats the point of the winter fuel allowance; and calls on the Government ...
02.11.2010EDUCATION MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCES
That this House expresses deep concern over the sudden, unexpected announcement of the removal of education maintenance allowances (EMAs) from 16 to 19 year olds; notes that EMAs have ...
15.07.2010REPORTING OF FRAUD
That this House notes that there are multiple bodies to which fraud may be reported but that it is unclear which body should be approached in any particular circumstance; believes that ...

Glossary

  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses