Lunch rules 'still haven't changed'

Volunteers on benefits are still not being reimbursed for lunch expenses, despite a recent pledge by the Department for Work and Pensions.

There was anger from charities in June when the DWP published rules saying lunches should not be included in expenses because income support and jobseeker's allowance were intended to cover basic needs.

The department said the controversial rule would be dropped (Third Sector, August, 16), but CSV claims volunteers on benefits are still being penalised.

"The DWP has said the new rule will be implemented on 2 October, but has admitted it may not even happen then," said Dame Elisabeth Hoodless, chief executive of CSV. "The Government needs to work with benefit officers to ensure people on benefits can volunteer without starving."

A spokesman for the DWP said: "We have not set a date yet, and we will be paying only reasonable lunch expenses. For example, if someone was claiming £20 a day, we would look into it."

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