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Thousands miss benefit payments

Thousands of jobseekers won't receive benefit payments in time for Christmas. Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire/

Up to 32,000 people have not received benefit payments in time for Christmas due to an administrative error.

Money for some jobseekers, low earners and pensioners was due to go into accounts today, but will not now arrive until December 27.

Those affected include new claimants, those owed arrears, and people awarded Social Fund budgeting loans for "essentials" such as clothes, rent and furniture.

The Department for Work and Pensions stressed that if individuals had contacted them by 5pm this evening the payment will have been rushed through within three hours.

Benefit cap is 'strong incentive for people to work'

Iain Duncan Smith has claimed that the benefit cap has already pushed more people in to work before it starts in four London boroughs on Monday.

The benefit cap sets a clear limit for how much support the welfare state will provide – the average wage for working households.

But it's also a strong incentive for people to move into work and even before the cap comes in we are seeing thousands of people seeking help and moving off benefits.

We have a very clear message: we will provide support to those who need it, but the days of outrageous claims giving people incomes far above those of working families are over.

– Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary for Work and Pensions

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The Government's welfare reform plan

The Government's welfare reform plan is due to replace several different benefits in 2013 including Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit, Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, and Working Tax Credit.

Benefits
The Government are reforming the benefits system to help people back into work Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

The Coalition Government has identified two key problems with the current system: work incentives are poor, and the system is too complex.

They are reforming the system to help people to move into and progress in work, while supporting the most vulnerable.

Universal Credit is also intended to encourage claimants to work, by allowing them to keep more of their benefits when they start to earn.

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Liam Byrne: 'The time has come for full disclosure' over DWP's relationship with A4e

Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Liam Byrne, has given his reaction to reports that the DWP has announced a full internal audit into its relationship with A4e.

He said:

“The time has come for full disclosure. With more questions over A4e and David Cameron’s former family tsar Emma Harrison coming by the day, ministers must now come clean and tell the public exactly what they know and when they were informed about all allegations of fraud at A4e.

“The Government needs to make clear what new safeguards are being put in place to prevent this spreading any further, and with huge questions hanging over the entire Work Programme – and billions of pounds of public money

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