Roundup of recent DWP announcements
Support for energy bills and the cost of living
This week, the Chancellor announced support to protect households from rising energy bills.
Millions of households will receive up to £350 to help with the cost of living, following the rise to the energy price cap. All domestic electricity customers will get £200 off their bills, and 80% of households will receive a £150 Council Tax rebate from April.
Factsheets on the support available can be found on GOV.UK.
Levelling up plan that will transform UK
This week, the Government announced its Levelling Up White Paper, made up of 12 bold national missions, given status in law, which will shift government focus and resources to forgotten communities throughout the 2020s. This is the biggest shift of power from Whitehall to local leaders in modern times, with every part of England to get ‘London style’ powers and a mayor if they wish. There will be an increase of at least 40% of domestic public investment in research and development across the North, Midlands, South West, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Find out more about the White Paper on GOV.UK.
New jobcentres and Youth Hubs now open
Towns and cities across Great Britain are now home to over 150 new temporary jobcentres and Youth Hubs which will support the Government’s new Way to Work campaign to get 500,000 people into work by the end of June.
Work coaches at jobcentres are at the forefront of the Government’s drive to help people find their Way to Work, and many of the team recently joined DWP as part of the rapid recruitment drive to hire 13,500 new work coaches across the country.
Around a further 50 jobcentres are expected to open to the public in the coming months as efforts ramp up to get jobseekers into work faster by bringing them face to face with employers, and encouraging them to look for work in a sector they may not have previously considered.
More information on Way to Work.
The Pensions Regulator launches campaign to combat pension scams
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has launched its new-look ‘Pledge’ campaign, which encourages pension scheme trustees to do more to protect savers from scammers. The main ask of the ‘Pledge’ is to ensure trustees are reporting suspected scams to the authorities through Action Fraud or in Scotland by calling 101.
Since the campaign’s initial launch in November 2021, almost 400 schemes have pledged or self-certified they meet the campaign’s saver-protecting principles. Those schemes cover an estimated 16 million pension pots. Although this is a step in the right direction, TPR believe more could be done. They would like to see every administrator, trustee and provider take responsibility for protecting savers and join the ‘Pledge’.
DWP recently introduced new measures to help protect people from pension scams. The measures empower pension trustees and scheme managers to intervene and stop or pause transfers where they suspect funds could end up in the hands of a fraudster.
Helping parents and carers with their childcare costs
Thousands of families are using Tax-Free Childcare to pay for childcare and benefiting from the 20% government top-up. But there are thousands more families across the UK missing out on the chance to save money on childcare.
The childcare top-up is available as part of the Government’s Tax-Free Childcare scheme. Eligible working families can receive up to £500 every three months (or £1,000 if their child is disabled) towards the cost of accredited holiday clubs, before and after-school clubs, childminders and nurseries, and other accredited childcare schemes.
Tax-Free Childcare is available for children aged up to 11, or 17 if the child has a disability. And for every £8 deposited into an account, families will receive an additional £2 in government top-up.
Parents and carers can check their eligibility and register for Tax-Free Childcare on GOV.UK.
A range of communications tools to help promote Tax-Free Childcare are available to download.
Cabinet Office have shared their latest COVID-19 influencer and stakeholder toolkit. The key messages are:
- England has returned to Plan A
- Everyone eligible should get COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.
- From 11 February, fully vaccinated international travellers will no longer have to test on arrival in the UK.
Please support the efforts, through your own social media channels, to encourage your audiences about the importance of getting vaccinated.