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Background to Lone Parent Welfare Reforms 2008

How does this become law?
Widespread Criticism
Social Security Advisory Committee
Merits committee
6th Delegated Legislation Committee
Scrapping Income Support and privatising employment services

How Does Something Like this get to be Law?

These regulations can become law without the Government having to steer a Bill through the Houses of Parliament. As with so many other changes to our laws, these regulations will be introduced at Westminster via Statutory Instrument which is delegated or secondary legislation. Since the regulations amend the Jobseeker's Act 1995, they are subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. You can read more about statutory instruments here and here.

What Everyone Says about These Measures: Work and Pensions Committee; Lone Parent Stakeholder Groups; Social Security Advisory Committee; Merits Commiteee; 6th Delegated Legislation Committee

In the summer of 2007 the Department of Work and Pensions ran a consultation on the Government Green Paper In Work, Better Off. The Government's own consultation report expressed reservations about the policy. In March 2008 the Government's Work and Pensions Committee published a highly critical report with submissions throughout from the Child Poverty Action Group and One Parent Families/Gingerbread stating that benefit sanctions should only be applied with extreme caution, and that the Jobseeker's Allowance regime was inflexible and in urgent need of a complete overhaul.

Social Security Advisory Committee highly critical

In May 2008 the Government presented draft regulations to the Social Security Advisory Committee for consultation with stakeholders and other interested parties. The SSAC report was highly critical of many aspects of the draft regulations and strongly recommended that the measures did not go ahead. Read the report here.

NB we are still trying to find online reference for the SSAC report itself, rather than having to trawl through the government's Command Paper and we will post as soon as we find it.

Merits Committee said measures were contentious

The regulations were nevertheless laid before parliament on October 6th and were promptly referred to the House of Lords Merits Committee which has the job of considering statutory instruments which may be contentious or likely to give rise to issues of public policy.

The Merits Committee in its turn drew attention to a number of intractable problems with the draft regulations. You can read the Merits Committee report here.

6th Delegated Legislation Committee criticisms and questions for Minister

The last stage in the successful progress of these regulations has been the debate at the 6th Delegated Legislation Committee on October 30th where the new Minister Kitty Ussher explained why the Government was still going ahead with the regulations. You can read the transcript of the Committee meeting here (need to click to advance web pages).

Scrapping Income Support and privatising the employment services

The proposed welfare reform regulations are part of a package of measures with the ultimate aim of abolishing Income Support and contracting out employment services to private companies. See the Department of Work and Pensions website for private tender information here and the DWP Green Paper No One Written Off for more information on scrapping Income Support and the current Social Security Advisory Committee consultation on the Flexible New Deal for information about privatised employment services in the second year of the JSA claim.

Food for Thought:
Home Education for Teenagers

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The DCSF thinks school is the best place for children.
Here at Education Otherwise Campaign Website,
we beg to differ

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