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Ad Hoc Committee report on welfare reform

Last month, the Law Centre gave evidence to the Assembly's Ad Hoc Committee on welfare reform. The Committee has now reported to the Assembly. The Committee has concluded by majority vote that there were no specific human rights or equality breaches in the Bill but has highlighted areas of concern.

The Ad Hoc Committee's report makes a number of recommendations to the Department on the application of the proposed legislation.

These include:

- continuing to address data deficit;
- introducing Regulations under the affirmative action procedure to allow stronger; scrutiny where there is a policy change;
- mitigating the impact of sanctions on lone parents, those with mental health issues and children;
- making payments to parents with care;
- introducing an opt-in option for bi-monthly payment of Universal Credit;
- monitoring the impact on migrant workers;
- ensuring that lone parents are not penalised for lack of suitable childcare;
- collating and assessing data on households affected by the benefit cap
- requesting medical evidence in the first instance for Personal Independence Payment claims and introducing human rights compliant process and scrutiny of contractors;
- taking circumstances of people with joint custody of children, foster carers and people with disability into consideration when calculating Housing Benefit, and not applying sanctions to people with no reasonable alternative accommodation.

The Bill is now back with the Assembly's Social Development Committee.



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