The DWP select Committee met on Wednesday 9th feb to hear evidence from Iain Duncan Smith re: the Universal Credit. Video can be watched here
Uncorrected transcript available here
Carer Watch had hoped that carers would receive some answers regarding the future of Carers Allowance yet once again the issues were placed on the back burner. Reason given - that the details will be in the Welfare reform Bill due to be published soon.
Members of CW that watched this meeting had grave concerns listening to a response given to Kate Green MP. It implied there was a split view among the carer groups.
Q121 Kate Green: Can I just ask one other thing about carers? I appreciate that you have not been in a position today to confirm whether carer’s allowance will come within the Universal Credit. Whether or not it does, however, could you tell us whether you see an opportunity to reform support for carers so that they can move away from the all-or-nothing cliff edge that they face at the moment, where, if their earnings move over £100, everything goes.
Mr Duncan Smith: We all know that this is not a good position to be in and that having cliff edges leads to unintended consequences. All the evidence we have taken and all the knowledge we have internally within the Department tells us that this is not the greatest system. A lot of carers on low income who may be caring part-time, or who would like to squeeze or improve their income, could do some work, which would top up their income. It would be great if they were able to take that income.
When we asked the carers’ groups about this, there was a little bit of a split view on it. They want carers to be able to take those decisions, but they are also very reluctant to see any of the carer’s allowance tapered, which would, of course, be the issue. You would be able to deal with that if you were tapering it, because that would allow people on low income in particular to benefit enormously. We recognise that. I understand and recognise this, and I am as frustrated as anybody else, because the one thing I would really love to do is resolve this issue. That is why I am unable to say today what the final resolution of this is.
I accept and agree completely that there is a problem about a cliff edge. It is an invidious problem. But, again, as I say, the carers are slightly divided in their own minds about what they would consider to be reasonable and unreasonable. That is where we are at the moment.
We were informed that there is NO split view between them.
To ensure carers were fully aware of the groups’ positions, the following responses were sent to us.
Universal Credit statement from Carers UK received from Emily Holzhausen, Director of Policy and Public Affairs
Future of Carers Allowance – joint statement PRTC and Crossroads Care received from Moira Fraser, Director of Policy PRTC, endorsed by Anne Roberts, Chief Executive, Crossroads Care
We await the Welfare Reform Bill.
Will the future of Carers Allowance finally be revealed?