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Why are welfare reforms being phased in?

The so-called bedroom tax, changes to disability allowance, and a cap on benefits - it's all part of the welfare reforms being phased in from next week.

Starting on Monday, some of our poorest households - two million across the country - will be paying more council tax as a result of the changes. That will be around £140 extra a year.

This week, we've been looking at these Goverment reforms - and how they're affecting people. Tonight our social affairs correspondent Christine Alsford talks to senior government minister and Conservative MP for Fareham, Mark Hoban, about why it's happening.

Time for a change? The welfare debate

All this week we've been looking at the Government's welfare reforms. Here our social affairs correspondent Christine Alsford looks at plans to make work pay - to encourage people off benefits.

A cap on the amount any family can claim is being introduced - with £26,000 the limit.

Those with high rents and lots of children will be most affected and it's already prompting one mother of ten from Kent, Moira Pearce, to look for a job.

Christine also speaks to Bernard Harris of Southampton University and Jackie Steward of the Disability Advice & Information Network.

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  1. Christine Alsford

Concerns disability benefits shakeup could end independence for some

Many disabled people fear that planned changes to the welfare system will leave many of them struggling to live independently. Under the reforms, every disabled person of working age is going to be reassessed - and one in five will not qualify for help in the future.

However, the Government says that we need to tackle the welfare budget - and reduce a bill that, for some disability benefits, has grown by more than a third in a decade.

Our social affairs correspondent Christine Alsford reports.

The interviewees are: Michael Grimmett, who receives disability benefits; Gail Loynes, a disability advisor; the Paralympic athlete Sophie Christiansen; and Simon Skuse, a stroke survivor.

The report is followed by a studio discussion about the topic.

Disabled feel targeted by benefit changes

Government plans to reform benefits to save £2bn have left disabled people across the Meridian region feeling that they are being unfairly targeted.

People who receive disability living allowance say changes to the benefit will stop them living independent lives.

The Government has said it wants to cut the number of people receiving the benefit by 20 per cent.

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  1. Christine Alsford

Widow packs her bags

A widow who was told she would need to pay an extra £14 per week to stay in her home, is packing the last of her belongings and moving out.

Under government welfare reforms, her two bedroom bungalow is judged to have more space than she needs. So she's having to move out before her housing benefit is cut back.

Thousands of people in the South say the so called "Bedroom Tax" is unfair. But isn't it just as unfair to expect others to spend months and years on waiting lists in cramped and overcrowded conditions?

With 250,000 households living in overcrowded rented accommodation, can you tell the other side of the story? If so email christine.alsford@itv.com.