Annual review of Income Support (FOI)
Annual review of Income Support (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 03 November 2020.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
The Minister for Social Security has not lodged any proposition in the States or taken any ministerial decision to increase Income Support benefit rates for the next 12 months. Any such increase would have taken effect from 1st October.
Article 5 of the Income Support (Jersey) Law 2007 says as follows (extract):
(5) Rates for each of the components (which, in the case of special components, may vary according to specified circumstances) shall be specified in Regulations and the amounts there specified shall be reviewed by the Minister at intervals not exceeding one year and the Minister shall make such recommendations to the States with respect to the Regulations as the Minister considers appropriate.
(6) In reviewing the rates, the Minister shall have regard to any changes in the cost of living and in the general standards of living of the community, together with any other factors that the Minister considers relevant.
As it stands, there is no evidence in the public domain that the Minister actually fulfilled her statutory obligations to review the benefit rates or, if she did, that she took into account such relevant factors mentioned in paragraph (6), eg the cost of living. Without such evidence, it gives the impression that benefit rates have not increased as a result of her failure to take any action to review them.
Therefore, please supply all documentary evidence related to the Minister's annual review of Income Support benefit rates for 2020, including any advice given to her from either internal or external sources, any internal briefings or reports considered, and any relevant correspondence with civil servants, Ministers or external bodies that took place during the course of her review.
The Social Security Minister reviewed the income support component rates on 1 May 2020.
The Minister decided not to increase the component rates or change the income disregards this year, and to review a range of fiscal stimulus measures with Ministers to help individuals, businesses and the wider economy to recover from the impact of covid-19 and the social controls. These measures included options which would directly help households receiving income support.
The Minister considered the following:
1. The impact of covid-19 on people, businesses, the economy and public finances.
2. Income support, unemployment and retail prices information.
3. Advice from the Fiscal Policy Panel
4. Discussion with the ministerial team, including the Policy Director, the Director General of Customer and Local Services and the Chief Economic Advisor
On 10 July 2020, the Chief, Treasury and Social Security Ministers announced £150m fiscal stimulus which included:
direct payments of £1.3 million to low-income households (£100 per person)
£11 million given directly to Islanders to support spending in the local economy (£100 per person)
a reduction in employee Social Security contributions, to the value of £26 million
more time to repay Social Security and GST deferrals across 2 years, a £40 million reduction to revenue in 2021
a Fiscal Stimulus Fund of £50 million
Here are the documents you have requested relating to the review of income support:
1. Ministerial team meeting minute dated 15 April 2020* – Item 10 “Income Support Uprate 2020”.
Ministerial Meeting Minutes 15 April 2020
2. Ministerial team meeting minute dated 1 May 2020*
Ministerial Meeting Minutes 1 May 2020
3. Advice from the Fiscal Policy Panel. Online at the following link:
Jersey Fiscal Policy Panel
4. Three email chains between officers providing information for the review of income support components.
5. Question from Deputy M Tadier and answer from Social Security Minister:
Hansard section 5.6.1 on 30 June 2020
* Minutes of meetings have been released because the Article 35 exemption no longer applies to them. This is due to the policy no longer being under development.
Minutes of 1 May 2020 refer to the production of a final summary paper. This was not completed due to competing pressures associated with Covid-19.