The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, delivered his Budget to Parliament on Wednesday 18th March.
A number of measures were announced that will affect DWP claimants, pensioners and staff. These include:
- A package of measures to better support people with mental health conditions. This includes early access to supported Online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and the co-location of IAPT (Increased Access to Psychological Therapy) staff in Jobcentres. The latter will begin with Streatham Jobcentre Plus.
- Additional flexibility for pensioners outside the scope of the Pensions Flexibilities announced in the 2014 Budget to exchange their annuities purchased with their pension pots for a capital sum. This will enable people who purchased an annuity before the introduction of the new flexibilities the opportunity to adjust their retirement provision to convert an income – in whole or in part – to a capital lump sum. This will not affect their entitlement to normal state pension. A full consultation document will be published on this.
- Increased use of real time information shared between HMRC and DWP to further reduce Fraud and Error in the benefits system.
The Budget also confirms a previously announced measure to restrict the ability for European Economic Area (EEA) migrants to access UC. This means that EEA migrants residing in the UK as ‘jobseekers’ will not be able to access UC at all.
For more information on these measures, go to Budget 2015 on GOV.UK