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Policy in Practice
2020: A policy review of
the year, and look forward
to 2021
Housekeeping
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
● Audio check
● Please ask questions throughout
● Download, polls and a survey
● A...
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
Give the best support
you can to help people
on their way
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
A team of professionals with extensive knowledge of the welfare
system. We’re passionate about ...
Today’s speakers
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
Zoe Charlesworth
Director of Policy and
Operations
Policy in Practice
@zoechar...
Agenda
www.policyinpractice.co.uk/policy
● A brief recap of the demand on the welfare system in 2020, and the policy
chang...
A brief recap of 2020
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
More people now need the support of the welfare system
● 5.7m people rece...
The government’s response
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
● Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough scheme)
○ Up to 80% of w...
But many people fall through the gaps
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
● Employed and self-employed not eligible for support sch...
Frontline organisations have been
incredible
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
Our clients have dealt with big
logistical challen...
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
A look at some findings from 2020
www.policyinpractice.co.uk/policy
Paul Howarth
• The impact of Universal Credit in Wales...
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
Over to Paul
Four key lessons learned
www.policyinpractice.co.uk/wales
We set out to provide the evidence to inform the Welsh
Governmen...
A generous CTR scheme pays off
www.policyinpractice.co.uk/wales
● Welsh Government funded 10% budget cut in 2012-13
● CTR ...
Universal Credit resulted in council
tax (and rent) arrears
www.policyinpractice.co.uk/wales
● Council tax arrears more pr...
Awareness and take up of CTR
are still too low
www.policyinpractice.co.uk/wales
● Take-up of CTR estimated to be around
60...
The impact of Universal Credit
on CTR can be mitigated
www.policyinpractice.co.uk/wales
● Policy decisions can be made to ...
Project extended: The impact of
Covid-19 on CTR in Wales
www.policyinpractice.co.uk/wales
● Understanding the impact of th...
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
Poll 1: Are you expecting cuts to your
budget?
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
Over to Zoe
Local Housing Allowance
freeze and homelessness
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
Finding 1. Housing benefit doesn’t cover the re...
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
Finding 3. Restoring the LHA rate to 2016 levels would reduce
homelessness
● The average counci...
April’s uplift helped households
hit by COVID-19
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
From April 2020 the basic allowance in Univers...
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
To support private renters, the cap on rental costs, the Local Housing
Allowance was increased ...
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
To support self-employed people, Universal Credit awards will be based
on actual income rather ...
Interaction of the LHA and
benefit cap
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
The April 2020 COVID-19 benefit increases have not fully...
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
Outside London In London
Interaction of the LHA and benefit cap
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
Over to Duncan
Low sick pay and Test and Trace
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
● In June, we estimated the average working low-income househol...
A clear disincentive to isolate
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
The government’s response
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
● September: Government announced a £500 grant for people receiving b...
Free school meals
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
● 20% of families (1 in 5) in
receipt of free school meals are
unable to meet...
FSMs cost parents far more than the
government
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
● The Covid Winter Grant Scheme is now in place ...
Longer-term solutions
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
● Both Sick Pay and FSMs have required emergency action from the governme...
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
Over to Deven
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
Poll 2: What are your priorities for
2021?
Sunlit uplands?
● We have a vaccine
● Brexit: Deal or No Deal?
● Deficit: Austerity mark II, or spending to
promote growth...
● Analysis on the recovery from COVID-19 and on the impacts of Brexit on
employment, caseloads and financial resilience pr...
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
Opportunity to make longer term change
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
Universal Credit has shown that it can deliver benefits ...
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
Practical tools that can help
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
● Benefit and Budgeting Calculator
● LIFT Dashboard
● Coming soon...
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
Questions and discussion
Thank you
www.policyinpractice.co.uk
Zoe Charlesworth, Director of Policy and Operations
Paul Howarth, Policy Consultant
D...
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Policy review of the year and forward look to 2021

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2020 has brought fundamental changes to our lives, both personally and professionally. As our economy took second place to our health, so the welfare safety net came to the fore to support families who faced an income shock, seemingly overnight.

In this webinar Deven Ghelani, Zoe Charlesworth, Paul Howarth and Duncan Hatfield looked back at the policy response to the seismic shifts in our economy and society wrought by the pandemic. We revisited the research findings we uncovered from our analysis for clients across both local and central government. And, as the focus turns to the health of our economy, we look at what 2021 means for people facing redundancy, debt or lower incomes.

Listen back to the webinar to hear:

- How well the COVID-19 welfare changes worked, and what should happen next
- How living standards changed this year, and what the future holds
- The outlook for 2021 and how organisations can best support families

Our policy experts will discuss our analysis and what this means in 2021 for council tax support schemes, housing and homelessness demand, the outlook for living standards in the context of economic recovery, Universal Credit and Brexit.

For more information visit www.policyinpractice.co.uk, email hello@policyinpractice.co.uk or call 0330 088 9242.

  • Be the first to like this

Policy review of the year and forward look to 2021

  1. 1. Policy in Practice 2020: A policy review of the year, and look forward to 2021
  2. 2. Housekeeping www.policyinpractice.co.uk ● Audio check ● Please ask questions throughout ● Download, polls and a survey ● Aim to finish by 11:40 with optional 15 min demo ● Slides and recording will automatically follow ● Follow us on Twitter via @policy_practice
  3. 3. www.policyinpractice.co.uk Give the best support you can to help people on their way
  4. 4. www.policyinpractice.co.uk A team of professionals with extensive knowledge of the welfare system. We’re passionate about making social policy work We help over 100 local authorities use their household level data to identify vulnerable households, target support and track their interventions Our benefit calculator engages over 10,000 people each day. We identify the steps people can take to increase their income, lower their costs and build their financial resilience Policy in Practice: What we do
  5. 5. Today’s speakers www.policyinpractice.co.uk Zoe Charlesworth Director of Policy and Operations Policy in Practice @zoecharleswort1 Paul Howarth Policy Consultant Policy in Practice Duncan Hatfield Senior Policy and Data Analyst Policy in Practice @drh000 Deven Ghelani Director and Founder Policy in Practice @deven_ghelani
  6. 6. Agenda www.policyinpractice.co.uk/policy ● A brief recap of the demand on the welfare system in 2020, and the policy changes that were introduced ● Understanding the implications through our research and analysis ○ Universal Credit in Wales ○ Local Housing Allowance and homelessness ○ Introduction of COVID-19 measures ○ Local Housing Allowance and the benefit cap ○ Sick pay and Test and Trace ○ Free School Meals ● A looking to what the future may hold
  7. 7. A brief recap of 2020 www.policyinpractice.co.uk More people now need the support of the welfare system ● 5.7m people receiving Universal Credit, 90% increase (Mar - Sept) ● 1.6 m people unemployed and looking for work, 117% increase (Mar - Aug) ● 7.5 m furloughed workers (August) ● 800,000 job losses since February (estimated will be 2m by April 2021) There has been an increase in debt ● 6 million adults have fallen behind on at least one bill during the pandemic ● 2.8 million households have missed a council tax payment Sources: ONS, OBR, DWP, Citizens Advice
  8. 8. The government’s response www.policyinpractice.co.uk ● Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough scheme) ○ Up to 80% of wages (up to £2,500) until the end of March 2021 ○ Must be on PAYE payroll on 30 Oct. Ex-employees on the payroll on 23 Sept can be re-employed and furloughed ● Self employed grant extended ○ 3 months from Nov to Jan 2021 with a further grant from Feb - April 2021 ○ 80% of trading profits (up to £2,500 a month) ● LHA increased to the 30th percentile (retained to 2021 and frozen thereafter) ● Benefit increases: MIF suspension and £20 uplift to UC and WTC ● Grants for businesses ● Payment holidays (up to a total of 6 months) and eviction protections ● £170m to councils to provide Christmas support with bills ● Spending Review (Nov 20) provided support to councils for CTR (£670M) and CT debt (£762m)
  9. 9. But many people fall through the gaps www.policyinpractice.co.uk ● Employed and self-employed not eligible for support schemes ● Households not eligible for UC ○ partner’s income ○ over £16,000 capital ○ No Recourse to Public Funds ○ Students ● People who do not benefit from Covid benefit uplift ○ legacy benefits and should not move ○ benefit capped ● Discretionary support has tried to plug the gaps (e.g. DHPs, Winter Support Fund, food banks)
  10. 10. Frontline organisations have been incredible www.policyinpractice.co.uk Our clients have dealt with big logistical challenges coupled with huge increases in demand They’ve responded speedily and effectively, often with little notice And supported many people who are new to the benefits system
  11. 11. www.policyinpractice.co.uk
  12. 12. A look at some findings from 2020 www.policyinpractice.co.uk/policy Paul Howarth • The impact of Universal Credit in Wales Zoe Charlesworth • The link between the LHA freeze and homelessness • How April’s uplift helped households hit by Coronavirus (COVID-19) • The interaction of the LHA and the benefit cap Duncan Hatfield • How low sick pay may undermine Test and Trace • The implications for households of covering holiday meals
  13. 13. www.policyinpractice.co.uk Over to Paul
  14. 14. Four key lessons learned www.policyinpractice.co.uk/wales We set out to provide the evidence to inform the Welsh Government’s choice of their CTR scheme. 1. A generous CTR scheme pays off 2. Universal Credit has resulted in council tax (and rent) arrears 3. Awareness of CTR, and take-up, are still too low 4. The impact of Universal Credit on CTR can be mitigated
  15. 15. A generous CTR scheme pays off www.policyinpractice.co.uk/wales ● Welsh Government funded 10% budget cut in 2012-13 ● CTR scheme covers all 22 authorities in Wales ● All awards based on 100% liability ● Collection rates and council tax arrears have remained broadly constant ● Consistent with other studies we have done
  16. 16. Universal Credit resulted in council tax (and rent) arrears www.policyinpractice.co.uk/wales ● Council tax arrears more prevalent amongst households in receipt of Universal Credit ● Amongst those with arrears, Universal Credit is associated with a higher level of council tax arrears compared to legacy benefits ● Most households that are not in council tax arrears under legacy benefits remained with no arrears under Universal Credit ● Council tax arrears were more likely to increase under Universal Credit than legacy benefits ● Reasons: lower benefit amounts, five week wait and monthly budgeting
  17. 17. Awareness and take up of CTR are still too low www.policyinpractice.co.uk/wales ● Take-up of CTR estimated to be around 60% in Wales ● Welsh Government mounting an active campaign ● Targeted interventions work best ● Our survey showed some people thought CTR was part of Universal Credit ● Others didn’t know whether they were receiving CTR ● And some were not applying for fear of overpayment recoveries
  18. 18. The impact of Universal Credit on CTR can be mitigated www.policyinpractice.co.uk/wales ● Policy decisions can be made to mitigate the impact of Universal Credit on CTR ● Reduce taper rate ● Don’t carry forward two-child limit or Minimum Income Floor into CTR
  19. 19. Project extended: The impact of Covid-19 on CTR in Wales www.policyinpractice.co.uk/wales ● Understanding the impact of the economic consequences of COVID-19 on CTRS to date ● Monitoring and evaluating the impact of changing caseloads to March 2021 ● Forecasting impact on future CTRS caseload ● Forecasting impact on arrears and council tax collection rates
  20. 20. www.policyinpractice.co.uk Poll 1: Are you expecting cuts to your budget?
  21. 21. www.policyinpractice.co.uk Over to Zoe
  22. 22. Local Housing Allowance freeze and homelessness www.policyinpractice.co.uk Finding 1. Housing benefit doesn’t cover the rent of most private sector renters who receive it ● Pre April 2020 LHA rates sat at the 13th percentile of market rents ● Six local authorities in the UK showed 100% of private rented dwellings with rents above the LHA Finding 2. The gap between LHA and rent is proven to drive homelessness ● For every 10% increase in households experiencing a rent gap the proportion in temporary accommodation will increase 1% ● For every 1,000 households experiencing a shortfall, 44 will require temporary accommodation
  23. 23. www.policyinpractice.co.uk Finding 3. Restoring the LHA rate to 2016 levels would reduce homelessness ● The average council would see 650 fewer households with rent below the LHA and 300 fewer households in temporary accommodation ● The average gross cost of temporary accommodation for a council would reduce by between £1.4m and by £3m Finding 4. Spending savings from reduced Temporary Accomodation cost on prevention would see nearly 1,000 families avoid homelessness ● It would support around 2,500 additional prevention and relief cases ● It would prevent an additional 975 households becoming homeless Local Housing Allowance freeze and homelessness
  24. 24. April’s uplift helped households hit by COVID-19 www.policyinpractice.co.uk From April 2020 the basic allowance in Universal Credit and Tax Credits was increased by £20 a week ● A single claimant aged over 25, and not working, will see their Universal Credit increase from £317 to £410 a month from April 2020, or from £499 to £595 a month for a couple. This is an increase of over £90 a month or 29% ● This rise more than covers the loss in real income caused by the benefits freeze for the standard allowance but doesn’t apply to other elements of Universal Credit which have been frozen from April 2016 to April 2020, introduced as part of austerity measures
  25. 25. www.policyinpractice.co.uk To support private renters, the cap on rental costs, the Local Housing Allowance was increased to align with the 30th percentile of local rents ● The increase in benefit support will vary across local authorities. For example, rental support will increase by 21% in Manchester and 2% in Sunderland ● On average, private renters will see awards increase by an average of £123 a month (8.4%) ● The proportion of private renters with Universal Credit awards that are less than their outgoings falls from 13% to 7% April’s uplift helped households hit by COVID-19
  26. 26. www.policyinpractice.co.uk To support self-employed people, Universal Credit awards will be based on actual income rather than notional income (Minimum Income Floor) ● On average, self-employed households will see a significant increase in awards of £398 a month (28%) ● The proportion of self-employed households with Universal Credit awards that are less than outgoings falls from 44% to 7% April’s uplift helped households hit by COVID-19
  27. 27. Interaction of the LHA and benefit cap www.policyinpractice.co.uk The April 2020 COVID-19 benefit increases have not fully reached the households who should benefit the most because of the benefit cap ● Households who were already capped have not received increases worth £219 a month, on average ● Private sector renters with children who were already capped will not receive increases worth £431 a month, on average ● Households who have become capped will not receive increases worth £185 a month, on average ● Private sector renters with children who have become capped will not receive increases worth £400 a month, on average
  28. 28. www.policyinpractice.co.uk Outside London In London Interaction of the LHA and benefit cap
  29. 29. www.policyinpractice.co.uk Over to Duncan
  30. 30. Low sick pay and Test and Trace www.policyinpractice.co.uk ● In June, we estimated the average working low-income household would lose 58% of their usual fortnightly take-home pay if self-isolation meant they had to rely on sick pay alone. That’s a loss of £176 in just two weeks ● Many households are not even eligible for Statutory Sick Pay ● We found that self-isolation would push 16% of working low-income households into a cash shortfall ● The impact of this potentially even worse for households not on benefits who earn more, and therefore have even more to lose during isolation
  31. 31. A clear disincentive to isolate www.policyinpractice.co.uk
  32. 32. The government’s response www.policyinpractice.co.uk ● September: Government announced a £500 grant for people receiving benefits ● Evidence and anecdotes suggest very low uptake so far, which means the disincentive we identified is still having an effect ● Widespread vaccination should end the pandemic but questions over whether further investment in Sick Pay would pay for itself remain
  33. 33. Free school meals www.policyinpractice.co.uk ● 20% of families (1 in 5) in receipt of free school meals are unable to meet costs in school holidays without extra support ● 4% of families (an estimated 33,000 across England) who get free school meals in term time, and can meet their costs, are pushed into cash shortfall in school holidays as a result of extra food costs
  34. 34. FSMs cost parents far more than the government www.policyinpractice.co.uk ● The Covid Winter Grant Scheme is now in place up to March 2021 ● We are working with councils to help target that support where it is most needed, but our research shows a long-term package of support over school holidays is also still required
  35. 35. Longer-term solutions www.policyinpractice.co.uk ● Both Sick Pay and FSMs have required emergency action from the government this year - but these problems will not disappear as the pandemic fades ● Sustainable, long-term policies which help local councils to address issues around child poverty and hardship are required ● Longer-term solutions also need to consider how FSMs impacted families with more children, and how that interacts with the benefit cap and the two child limit, so we recommend: ○ increasing or removing the benefit cap, particularly during the pandemic when households may not have the option to work ○ scrapping the 2-child limit, at least for as long as other Covid measures are in place
  36. 36. www.policyinpractice.co.uk Over to Deven
  37. 37. www.policyinpractice.co.uk Poll 2: What are your priorities for 2021?
  38. 38. Sunlit uplands? ● We have a vaccine ● Brexit: Deal or No Deal? ● Deficit: Austerity mark II, or spending to promote growth? Will government recognise it needs to invest in social security and supporting people? ● £20 uplift to Universal Credit is uncertain ● £2.9bn Restart Scheme and expansion of JCP ● £10bn reduction in departmental budgets The outlook for 2021 www.policyinpractice.co.uk
  39. 39. ● Analysis on the recovery from COVID-19 and on the impacts of Brexit on employment, caseloads and financial resilience presented to Brexit APPG, and carried out for clients including Adur and Worthing, Greenwich and Luton ● Join our January 2021 council tax support webinar: model changes to your support schemes to account for caseload changes and policy impacts ● Work with us to unlock the value of your data so you can target the right support your residents early, before problems get out of hand We help organisations plan for the future www.policyinpractice.co.uk
  40. 40. www.policyinpractice.co.uk
  41. 41. Opportunity to make longer term change www.policyinpractice.co.uk Universal Credit has shown that it can deliver benefits to people at scale, and cope with the pandemic where the legacy system would not have been However, there is still room to improve UC: ● Introduce greater flexibility into Universal Credit, e.g. backdating, consent, payment flexibility and next months UC ● Making the most of Universal Credit data ○ Roundtable tomorrow for local authorities wanting to learn more ○ A clear role for local authorities in provide holistic support ● Revisit and reverse austerity measures and help the economy and society recover in an inclusive way
  42. 42. www.policyinpractice.co.uk
  43. 43. Practical tools that can help www.policyinpractice.co.uk ● Benefit and Budgeting Calculator ● LIFT Dashboard ● Coming soon: Nesta - Next month’s UC and app for consumers ● Stay updated on policy changes with Policy in Practice: ○ www.policyinpractice.co.uk/coronavirus ○ Monthly newsletter ○ Free monthly webinars: Wed 27 Jan: Flexible collections policies
  44. 44. www.policyinpractice.co.uk Questions and discussion
  45. 45. Thank you www.policyinpractice.co.uk Zoe Charlesworth, Director of Policy and Operations Paul Howarth, Policy Consultant Duncan Hatfield, Policy and Data Analyst Deven Ghelani, Director and Founder hello@policyinpractice.co.uk www.policyinpractice.co.uk @policy_practice 0330 088 9242

2020 has brought fundamental changes to our lives, both personally and professionally. As our economy took second place to our health, so the welfare safety net came to the fore to support families who faced an income shock, seemingly overnight. In this webinar Deven Ghelani, Zoe Charlesworth, Paul Howarth and Duncan Hatfield looked back at the policy response to the seismic shifts in our economy and society wrought by the pandemic. We revisited the research findings we uncovered from our analysis for clients across both local and central government. And, as the focus turns to the health of our economy, we look at what 2021 means for people facing redundancy, debt or lower incomes. Listen back to the webinar to hear: - How well the COVID-19 welfare changes worked, and what should happen next - How living standards changed this year, and what the future holds - The outlook for 2021 and how organisations can best support families Our policy experts will discuss our analysis and what this means in 2021 for council tax support schemes, housing and homelessness demand, the outlook for living standards in the context of economic recovery, Universal Credit and Brexit. For more information visit www.policyinpractice.co.uk, email hello@policyinpractice.co.uk or call 0330 088 9242.

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