When I visited the Rutherfords I promised them that if Labour won the election, cancelling the bedroom tax would be the first thing I did. When I saw the exit polls at 10pm on 7 May I thought of Warren and his grandparents. I felt we had let them down and I feared what another five years of Tory government would mean for them and the other 500,000 households paying the bedroom tax. On Tuesday, Paul and Sue got a rare piece of good news. They took the government to The Court of Appeal - and won, with the Judge concluding that the bedroom tax is unlawful because it discriminates against disabled children and in a separate case against the victims of domestic violence.
There are strong feelings around the proposed changes to the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for those who are in the Work Related Activity Group (those people found unable to work but able to take part in some activities that could move them closer to work). We strongly believe that rather than halving the employment gap it will push people further in to poverty and as such, further away from work. In fact a report recently published by Low Lord, Baroness Meacher and myself called 'Halving the Gap' found no evidence to suggest that reducing someone's ESA will provide the incentive that the Government believes it will.
Measuring child poverty does not require additional spending or a change of direction in government policy. But if you don't measure it, you can't tackle it. We are simply asking government to show that all kids count. Surely the time has come for us all to agree on that?
Work and Pensions is a difficult brief. But hey, it's difficult caring for the most vulnerable people when you get little reward and little recognition. It's difficult getting rejection letters for every job you apply for. It's difficult being sanctioned when you are ten minutes late for a JobCentre appointment. We are all determined to make life just as difficult for the Tories now.
In the last month my team and I have referred about the same number of people to the foodbank for assistance as we did in the ten months before that... The sheer scale of the operation these days is both astonishing and impressive. The fact that it has to be so big, though, underlines that something is fundamentally wrong with the way Britain operates at the moment.
This last year there has been much to celebrate, such as the government's partial conversion to the cause and the breakthrough for the Living Wage in parts of the retail sector. The fight is far from over, our objective has not been reached. Many employers, earning big profits, continue to refuse to share fair rewards with their employees, and the smoke and mirrors of the government's phoney Living Wage, only makes it easier for them to hide.
The Conservative Party conference reached its own squeezed middle yesterday, as Iain Duncan Smith was hidden away in the Tuesday graveyard shift with his unfounded boasts of 'compassion' and 'tolerance'.
Seasoned Duncan Smith-watchers are still left floundering as to why he is in his sixth year in the same cabinet job, and yet there he is. Labour must feel they can make serious headway against him on the new benefit cap when the arguments are so half-hearted, and Duncan Smith is doing his best to encourage them in this belief.
Last week the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was forced to release figures on the number of people who died shortly after being told they were...
At the beginning of this week, I read Iain Duncan Smith's piece "We're Building a Welfare State That Is Finally Fit for Purpose" and began writing a r...
Mone's success story is an extraordinary one: born in the East End of Glasgow, she left school at 15 without any qualifications and has since achieved over £1 billion worth of PR and become one of Scotland's most prominent entrepreneurs.
What do real claimants have to say about their experiences of this system, and are they as grateful as Sarah and Zac? Evidence from case studies collected by our evaluations of two programmes suggests they are not. Sanctions rules are understood, but do not appear to be helping claimants to find work.
Almost a quarter of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance today have a mental health condition. For many, poor mental health will be the cause of their joblessness, for others it will be the effect. But regardless of which, these people need better support and we're going to do something about it. That's why we're investing £40m to introduce a range of pilots to find out how best we can support people with mental health conditions in looking for work. I want to bust some of the myths around this. I have heard it claimed that people will be forced into participating in these schemes. This is completely untrue.
There is no evidence that the work ethics of people with long-term sickness are any worse than the average person, and in some respects they are better. Studies frequently find that the long-term sick want to work - which is not the same as being able to work, but does show that fecklessness is unlikely to be the problem here.
With near record employment in this country, and long term unemployment at its lowest level since 2009, there are more opportunities than ever for people to make the move from benefits to work, and that is why we must continue to press ahead with our reforms. We're building a welfare state that is finally fit for purpose. A system that supports people when they need it, but doesn't trap them into a life on benefits. A system that rewards work, instead of dependency. This is what this one nation Government is delivering.
As we approach the landmark of the first 100 days of his government, we at HuffPost UK have asked Britons to assess the state of the nation under the Conservatives. '100 Days of Dave' is a special blogs project looking at what's worked, what hasn't, and what more we can expect over the next five years of this Parliament. From grassroots campaigners to Government ministers, from critics to supporters, we aim to show a breadth of opinion as we take the national temperature on a range of policies including child poverty, mental health, the environment, housing and LGBT rights.