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The Department for Communities has published the Welfare Mitigation Review report.  The Minister had appointed an Independent Advisory Panel to complete a review of the welfare mitigations and to recommend mitigations to the social security system.

Siobhán was privileged to speak to the Review Team as part of this process and highlight the Consortium’s research on the impact of Universal Credit, Welfare Reform and Debt on women.  We are pleased to see that the Consortium’s research has been referenced several times in this important report.

It is an excellent report which acknowledges the need to target women who have been so impacted by welfare reform and austerity changes.  It makes a series of strong recommendations some of which have also been made by the Consortium in our research work

  • The centrepiece of the recommendations is the offsetting of the two child limit.
  • Introducing a Better Start Grant payment to low income families including a series of payments from the birth of a child through various learning milestones.
  • Introducing additional support to carers through Carer’s Allowance and recognition of young carers.
  • Support for those in work through introducing a Cost of Work Allowance providing an annual lump sum payment to Universal Credit/Working Tax Credit claimants whose earnings fall within a specific threshold, introducing a Job Start Grant and retaining entitlement to Universal Credit for 6 months when taking up a job.
  • Further support for Winter Fuel costs including help for families with children with disabilities.
  • Help to tackle the five-week wait for Universal Credit by increasing the budget for the Contingency Fund and renaming it as well as the need to set up a Working Group to examine alternative solutions to the wait in the longer term.
  • Help for those affected by shortfalls in rent in the private rented sector.
  • Mainstream existing funding of mitigation advice services and make available funding for advice initiatives targeted in rural areas.
  • Dealing with the existing mitigations including extending the mitigation of the Benefit Cap beyond the next 3 years.

You can read the full Welfare Mitigation Review report here