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Summary

The Welfare Reform Act received Royal Assent on 8 March 2012. Since then, more detailed regulations have appeared which flesh some of the details of its main provisions in addition to a wealth of analyses that attempt to predict its impacts.

This briefing summarises main developments since the Act received Royal Assent, covering the period between March 2012, the announcements in the Autumn Statement made on 5 December 2012, and the publication of the final Universal Credit regulations on 10 December 2012. It also draws on comment made before, during, and after the Act’s preparation. In particular, it examines developments and likely impacts with regard to:

housing

disability and work incapacity

poverty

welfare-to-work.

the implementation programme

The reforms, their implementation, and likely impacts are complex, and some detail has been omitted in this briefing. As more information becomes available, some of the topics dealt with here will be covered in more depth.

Not all of the documents used to compile this briefing are referenced. Nonetheless, there are links to some of the more recently-produced documents at the end of this briefing.

An important new development is the localisation of Council Tax Benefit, which will begin operating in 2013. A separate briefing has been prepared on this, and little more is said about it here, other than it will henceforth operate outside the Universal Credit scheme, complicating what was meant to be a simplified system.

The briefing will be of interest to members and officers (in all tiers of councils) with an interest in welfare reform, housing and council tax benefit, local government finance, housing and welfare rights. It may also be of interest to corporate policy teams and to voluntary sector and housing association partners working in this area.

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