17.02.11

Welfare Reform Bill Published

The Government has published the Welfare Reform Bill which it says will provide the biggest shake-up of the welfare system in 60 years. 

Central to the Bill will be the introduction of Universal Credit, which is designed to simplify the benefits system, make work pay and help release millions of people from the misery of welfare dependency and break intergenerational cycles of worklessness.

According to the Government the changes will mean:

  • 2.7 million households will be better off.
  • Over 1 million households will see an increase in their weekly income of £25 with 85 per cent of this increase going to the poorest families in the country.
  • Nearly 1 million people will be lifted out of poverty including 350,000 children.

The Bill is designed to radically reshape Britain’s welfare system by:

  • Replacing the current patchwork of benefits and credits with a Universal Credit to make work pay;
  • Introducing a system of conditionality and to make sure that individuals are not able to abuse or defraud the system;
  • A Personal Independence Payment for disabled people targeting support at those who really need it;
  • A new system of child support which puts the interest of the child first;
  • Introducing new powers to tackle the problem of fraud and error.

Ministers say that from the summer, they will also be bringing in the Work Programme, the biggest back to work programme since the Second World War, which is aimed at helping millions of people get into jobs. 

Announcing the Bill, Iain Duncan Smith said:

“The welfare system was created to meet the demand for a fairer society. Today, this Bill will seek to restore the welfare system to those founding principles.

“Our reforms will end the absurdity of a system where people too often get rewarded for doing the wrong thing, and those who strive to do the best by their families get penalised.

“The publication of the Welfare Reform Bill will put work, rather than hand-outs, at the heart of the welfare system. It will ensure that we continue to provide appropriate support for those genuinely unable to work, as we must and as we should. And it will provide a fair deal for the taxpayer.”

Alongside the publication of the Bill, the Prime Minister and Secretary of State announced a review into the sickness absence system. With 300,000 people off work every year claiming sickness-related benefits, the Government has asked David Frost and Dame Carol Black to consider whether, with the right help and support, more people could stay in work in some form.

 

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