Stephen Crabb to lead DWP
Stephen Crabb MP has been appointed to lead the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) as its new Secretary of State following the resignation of Iain Duncan Smith on Friday evening. The appointment comes amid a prominent debate over the introduction of reductions to Personal Independence Payment (PIP). It is now thought unlikely that the changes will go ahead in January 2017 as previously envisaged.
In 2014, Stephen Crabb was one of over 30 Members of Parliament who supported the Turn2us 'Mind the Gap' campaign to tackle fuel poverty. As part of the campaign, MPs were asked to record a video supporting the steps that people can take to cope with the cost of heating your home.
Whilst the change in leadership at the department will have little impact on the benefit changes coming in this April, the move may provide an opportunity to review policies such as the implementation of Universal Credit and the welfare benefits cap. Whilst the measures are not likely to be scrapped, it is thought that controversy over the government's policies relating to welfare may be softened in order to counteract recent allegations of being too hard on those seeking support.
Turn2us Chief Executive Simon Hopkins commented: "We welcome Stephen Crabb into his new role as Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions. It is absolutely vital that away from the politics the charity sector can continue to work with the government to provide practical support to those that need it. With the benefit changes in April there will be renewed concern that some of those least able to shoulder the burden will be put under increased financial pressure in the new financial year. That's why it remains so crucial that the help that is there gets to those who need it.
"Too often that pressure is exacerbated by a genuine lack of awareness of what support is available, not only in terms of welfare benefits but also charitable grants and support with essential bills. That is why we provide this very direct and practical assistance through our website and continue to work closely with government departments such as the DWP, as well as the broader sector, to bring together this support in an impartial, easy to understand and trusted forum. I have written to the new Secretary of State reaffirming Turn2us' commitment to working across sectors to raise awareness and to make the system as navigable as possible.”