Government overhaul of welfare system begins

Today sees the start of a raft of changes to the welfare benefits system. The controversial changes include:

  • The under-occupancy penalty, dubbed a 'bedroom tax' by opponents and a 'spare-room subsidy' by ministers comes into being today. Around 660,000 families will lose an average £14 housing benefit a week in a move ministers hope will save £500 million a year.
  • Council tax benefit is also replaced today by a new system run by local authorities but with 10% less funding.
  • Working-age benefits and tax credits will rise by a below-inflation 1 percent from April 6 - the start of a three-year cap that represents a real-terms cut.
  • From April 8 disability living allowance (DLA) begins to be replaced by the personal independence payment (PIP), which charities say will remove support from many in real need.


Benefit critics 'talk rubbish'

The Chancellor George Osborne has hit out at critics of the Government's benefits reform, accusing them of talking "ill-informed rubbish".