Welfare reform – The road ahead

Magnus Von Koeller

Magnus Von Koeller

As most of us in the public and voluntary sector know, there are soon to be huge changes in the benefit system which will affect people across the board,  particularly those who are already experiencing hardship due to being out of work or in low paid employment, and those who are disabled.

60% of working families, 86 per cent families with children (and 95 per cent lone parent families) will be worse off, compared with 17 per cent of families without children.   Disabled people classed as unfit to work will also have their benefits capped for the next three years

Poorer people, who are the ones that will be disproportionately hit by the changes, will have to learn to survive on less.

The bottom line is there is little we can do about the changes, but there is help out there for people who don’t know what the changes mean for them, or need help in budgeting.  Gateway Family Services already provides support staff who go into people’s homes, and they are training them to be in a position to support people with practical help and also in signposting them to the best organisation to approach for their needs.

They are also a partner in the Advice Transition Fund (led by CAB) looking at co-ordination of advice in the city.

As Katherine Hewitt from Gateway states ‘We realise this is just the start of a long term plan, it isn’t something that can be fixed quickly and will take a range of approaches, but we believe by starting now, while there is still time to plan, we will help the people we know to at least prepare’.

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