Welfare Reform Act

Status of the bill: Enacted

Main purpose of the bill:

To radically reform the benefits system in order to improve incentives to work and reduce opportunities for fraud and errors to occur.

Main points of the bill:

Provides for the introduction of the Universal Credit, a new, single, streamlined benefit which will be paid to people both in and out of work. Universal Credit will replace working tax credit, child tax credit, housing benefit, council tax benefit, Income Support (IS), income-based jobseeker's allowance (JSA) and income-related employment and support allowance (ESA).

Introduces a 'claimant commitment' to make clear what requirements claimants are expected to meet in order to claim benefit.

Provides for changes to the way appropriate housing benefit (AMBH) and local housing allowance (LHA) are determined in order to create a fairer Housing Benefit system. This includes the introduction of a 'size criteria' in the social rented housing sector, with reductions in housing benefit if a dwelling is considered to be larger than necessary.

Repeals sections of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act (SSCBA) 1992 which provides for payments from the discretionary social fund. New locally-administered assistance will be provided by local authorities

Provides for the introduction of the Personal Independence Payment to replace the current Disability Living Allowance.

Introduces stronger measures to deal with benefit and tax credit fraud.

Provides for the introduction of a cap on benefit payments to limit the amount of benefits a household can receive.

Enables the Secretary of State to share data with other bodies.

Provides for the implementation of those proposals in the consultation document 'Strengthening families, promoting parental responsibility: the future of child maintenance' which require primary legislation.

Amends the Insolvency Act 1986 to ensure arrears of child support are excluded from debts in an individual voluntary arrangement.

Progress of the bill:

The Welfare Reform Bill was presented to Parliament on 16th February 2011.

First Reading: 16.02.11 Second Reading: 09.03.11 Committee Debate: 22.03.11 24.03.11 29.03.11 31.03.11 05.04.11 26.04.11 28.04.11 03.05.11 10.11.05 12.05.11 17.05.11 19.05.11 24.05.11 Report Stage: 13.06.11 15.06.11 Third Reading: 15.06.11

Lords:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    First Reading: 16.06.11 Second Reading: 13.09.11 Committee Stage: 04.10.11 06.10.11 10.10.11 13.10.11 18.10.11 20.10.11 24.10.11 26.10.11 01.11.11 03.11.11 08.11.11 10.11.11  14.11.11 16.11.11 21.11.11 23.11.11 28.11.11  Report Stage: 12.12.11 14.12.11 11.01.12  17.01.12  23.01.12  25.01.12  Third Reading: 31.01.12

Ping Pong: 01.02.12   14.02.12  21.02.12  29.02.12

Royal Assent:  08.03.12

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