Harmonisation of In Work Threshold and Benefit Cap

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2015 National Women's Conference
14 October 2014
Carried as Amended

Conference will be aware that thousand of women in work are suffering poverty, low pay, zero hour contracts and lack of job security. In 2012 there were 5.1mil working in low paid jobs, the majority women. Annual median pay now stands at £21,200, some £3,400 lower than the pre-recession peak of 2008/2009 according to the resolution foundation, which will continue until 2018.

While we have seen this government attack welfare benefits, there are still many woman workers above the threshold for in work benefits who are struggling. They are unable to access initiatives available through different government schemes. For those on welfare benefit the threshold is £ 26,000 which the Tories intend to reduce to £23,000. The cap for low paid workers to be eligible for products and services that those on benefits can access is £16,010.00.

These initiatives include warm home discount to help with electricity bills over the winter period and the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) a government initiative to improve energy efficiency in the home, including replacement boilers. Under this current rule landlords who have tenants in receipt are also eligible for the ECO scheme.

Using the national consumption figure set by the regulators, energy prices have increased by £120.00 (31.9%) for electric and £316.00 (58%) for gas between 2007 and 2012. With access to initiatives like ECO, households could save up to £200.00 per year just by changing their boiler.

For many women seeking to access these services it’s confusing having thresholds that are not harmonised in line with the benefit cap. In order that low paid workers can take advantage of these schemes (including those in rental accommodation) the in work threshold level must be increased to the benefit cap level. This would benefit women earning just below the benefit cap.

This conference instructs The National Woman’s committee to

1)Work with Unisons “There for You” charity to highlight energy efficiency schemes and how to access them.

2. Campaign to bring the in work benefit level in line with the welfare Benefit cap.