Mann: JSA Savings Modest But Will Impact Harshly

NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE

The Social Security Division of the Treasury has responded to our query about changes to job seekers allowance (JSA) see link:

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=909338379114924&id=805941286121301&substory_index=0

A copy of the detailed response from the Deputy Director of Services is set out below. Unfortunately I cannot reproduce the table of data supplied but this simply confirms the quite profound nature of the changes to the paucity of current levels of benefit (some of these can be referenced in the text of the letter):

“21st September 2015-09-22

Dear Mr Moffatt,

Re; Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)

Thank you for your letter to Mr Ross Stephens, the Director of Social Security, of 17th instant concerning reductions in the personal allowance element of income-based jobseeker’s allowance which are to be introduced from 1st November 2015.

Mr Stephens is currently on leave, so I am replying on his behalf.

As you correctly state in your letter, these reductions will impact jobseekers who have been claiming JSA for more than 6 months and/or are not liable to pay housing costs.

Please find attached a schedule which sets out –

• the current rates of personal allowances, and
• the rates which are to be introduced from 1st November 2015

and which covers the vast majority of jobseekers’ circumstances. Where applicable, additional allowances are made for housing costs and dependent children.

It is estimated, based on current caseloads, that expenditure on income-based JSA will be reduced by around £0.4 million per annum as a direct result of these measures.

I do not accept your comments relating to housing costs. Whether someone is liable to pay housing costs is a simple matter of fact. Currently, there are many jobseekers who live with their families who are receiving the same rate of personal allowance as jobseekers who live independently and who have to meet all the expenses that are required to do so. That is simply not fair nor equitable and may act as a disincentive for them to take up work at the earliest opportunity. Such jobseekers currently receive an allowance which is c. 27% greater than their counterparts in the UK (e.g., if single and aged 25 or over £100.05 pw in loM compared to £73.10 in the UK; if single aged between 18 and 24 £80.00 pw in loM compared to £57.90 in the UK).

As regards Mr Stephen’s use of the words “we give” in his interview with Manx Radio, I suggest Mr Stephens was simply being “conversational”. You are absolutely correct in saying a JSA recipient has an entitlement under social security legislation.

I trust the above is of help to you

Yours sincerely,

Darren Oldam
Deputy Director (Policy and Legislation)
Social Security Division”

We are grateful to Mr Oldam for his prompt response.

As we had expected the savings to be made are quite small (less than half a million pounds p.a.) and one wonders if savings could not have been found in more profligate areas government. The savings may be modest but there impact will be harsh!

BERNARD MOFFATT

Issued by: The Celtic News

22/09/15

THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE

The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues

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