Welfare to Work

– IDS announces White Paper on Welfare Reform

Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan-Smith has presented his White Paper on welfare reform to Parliament.

“We now have a system that traps people. People don’t fully understand whether they are better off or worse off, it is almost impossible to make that calculation.”

A single universal credit scheme will consolidate work related benefit entitlements and ensure that those re-entering employment will receive a greater cost-to-value:

“By simplifying and having one withdrawal rate we will actually make people retain more of what they earn as they go back to work thus making work pay more than being in benefits.”

The Shadow Work and Pensions Minister Douglas Alexander concurred that the current benefits system needs to be reviewed and scaled back.

If the government gets this right we will support them because, of course, we accept the underlying principle of simplifying the benefits system and providing real incentives to work”

However, he has raised concerns regarding the Minister’s proposal to stop the benefits of people who have declined work offers on three occasions. The White Paper states that these claimants will have their benefits stopped for up to three years. Currently, on average, for every one person applying for a job, there are five others also applying.

The government will not get more people off benefits and into work without there being work available. We back real obligations for people receiving out of work benefits but these should be matched by guarantees of real work.”

In the last three months, the Job Centre has reported that over one million jobs have been advertised.

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