Latest Public Sector News


Row continues over impact of welfare payments cap

Labour has accused the Government of misleading MPs over the impact of the £26,000 cap on welfare payments.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne said that a letter from communities secretary Eric Pickles’ private secretary to No 10, leaked to the Observer newspaper, showed that ministers “haven't been straight with the House of Commons”.

The letter, sent in January, suggested the plan would have a net cost, because of the extra costs that would be imposed on councils having to deal with people affected by the cap. It also suggested homelessness would rise by 20,000.

The letter also suggests that although the cap plan was initially supposed to save £270, that amount “does not take account of the additional costs to local authorities (through homelessness and temporary accommodation). In fact, we think it is likely that the policy as it stands will generate a net cost.”

Labour says there have been many times since January when DWP and CLG ministers have publicly contradicted the private warnings and analysis in the letter.

Shadow communities secretary Caroline Flint said: “It has become clear that while Eric Pickles defends his government housing policies in public, in truth he doesn't believe in them. The public and parliament have a right to know why time and again his department dismissed the very same housing concerns he secretly raised with the prime minister.”

The welfare bill has yet to go through the Lords.

One DWP source told the Guardian newspaper that the department did not recognise the figures in the letter, and did not accept the cap would increase homelessness, saying: “You know what councils are like – when they have concerns, they are very vocal about it.”

Officially, a DWP spokesperson said: “We cannot carry on with a situation where people on benefits can receive more in welfare payments than hard-working families and where a life on benefits robs people of achieving their potential. No one needs to be homeless because of these reforms. Many working families live on this amount of money.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment



public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News


Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >


Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >

the raven's daily blog

Northern Powerhouse Partner aims to connect the North once again

02/09/2019Northern Powerhouse Partner aims to connect the North once again

In February this year, official Northern Powerhouse Partner, Cognitive Publishing, delivered EvoNorth 2019.  The two day event was designed to amplify and highlight futur... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >