Cuts to Welfare

The government is consulting on its plans for Welfare Reform in a consultation called 21st Century Welfare

These are the questions

1. What steps should the Government consider to reduce the cost of the welfare system and reduce welfare dependency and poverty?

2. Which aspects of the current benefits and Tax Credits system in particular lead to the widely held view that work does not pay for benefit recipients?

3. To what extent is the complexity of the system deterring some people from moving into work?

4. To what extent is structural reform needed to deliver customer service improvements, drive down administration costs and cut the levels of error, overpayments and fraud?

5. Has the Government identified the right set of principles to use to guide reform?

6. Would an approach along the lines of the models set out in chapter 3 improve work incentives and hence help the Government to reduce costs and tackle welfare dependency and poverty? Which elements would be most successful? What other approaches should the Government consider?

7. Do you think we should increase the obligations on benefit claimants who can work to take the steps necessary to seek and enter work?

8. Do you think that we should have a system of conditionality which aims to maximise the amount of work a person does, consistent with their personal circumstances?

9. If you agree that there should be greater localism what local flexibility would be required to deliver this?

10. The Government is committed to delivering more affordable homes. How could reform best be implemented to ensure providers can continue to deliver the new homes we need and maintain the existing affordable homes?

11. What would be the best way to organise delivery of a reformed system to achieve improvements in outcomes, customer service and efficiency?

12. Is there anything else you would like to tell us about the proposals in this document?

Come and discuss the CarerWatch submission   and tell us what you want to say to them.

Then we have to get on with launching our campaign to get protection for disabled people and their carers in the Cuts on 20th October.

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8 Responses to “Cuts to Welfare”

  1. maddy bernard Says:

    If only i could believe that our comments would really count for something. My answer to these 21st century quesions are that the government should concentrate it efforts on helping the young able bodied into work. Ideally they should be giving extra help and support to the long-term sick and disabled and their carers and stop any punitive measures under the guise of progressive welfare reform against the most vulnerable members of society. It’s not rocket science it’s showing genuine compassion and understanding to the majority of people who unfortunately through no fault of their own are dependent on the state benefit system. The small minority of people that are working the system are just a small minority and should not be given so much publicity in the media, but prosecuted if they have committed a crime. If some people currently on sickness benefits want to work, then the help and support should be there for them, otherwise if the government can’t or won’t help the vast majority then please leave them alone to get on with their lives as best they can without living under a culture of constant threat and harrassment.

  2. hairybiker Says:

    Ironically they are cutting the money available to the various fraud investigation departments which will mean fewer detections and fewer prosecutions. Like you say, its not rocket science is it?

  3. Kate Says:

    Very well said, Maddy. I also have a sneaky feeling that this is all lip-service but they have already made up their mind, especially since George Osborne has mentioned a further 4 and half billion pounds to come from the welfare budget. I have already taken part in the consultation but I don’t remember the questions being phrased in this way so I will go and take another look, adding my contribution for what it’s worth.
    They already have a system in place for those on long term sickness benefits who may want to do a small amount of work. It’s called Permitted Work. It wouldn’t cost anything to administer because it’s already in place. But I suspect the reason why they’re not maximizing this is because it won’t save them money for people to do Permitted Work, hence the talk of gradually moving people off benefits.

  4. maddy bernard Says:

    Thanks Kate, yes i don’t remember those questions either. It’s a very cynical attempt to appear to be consulting when the decision has been made, but maybe if enough people resist they will be forced and shamed into a re-think…..lets hope so.

  5. hairybiker Says:

    “But I suspect the reason why they’re not maximizing this is because it won’t save them money …”

    Its not about saving money, David David Freud, who was the architect of most of these ideas about “getting people back into work” remarked it would cost about £60,000 per claimant. 90% of that money will be paid to private job agencies like A4E.

    And at the end of the day there will be no permanent jobs, that’s the shame of it all.

    There is not one word from any of the charities involved in this “consultation” about any kind of conditionality to be placed upon employers, ie a minimum set of guidelines to employing sick and disabled people. Yet the self same charities seem oblivious to the conditionality their tacit acceptance of places claimants under.

    Why do poor sick and disabled people need a big stick in the form of benefit cuts to incentivise them when it is seen as beneficial to pay millions to more well off folk as “bonuses” to encourage them to work?

    One law for the rich and another for the poor, the Tories are back and most of them used to be Lib Dems!

  6. Kate Says:

    @Hairybiker

    Regarding the charities, the CAB and other Disability Organizations have produced damning reports about the ESA. My view is that if the government aren’t listening to them, what hope do we have?

    I answered the questions by copying and pasting them into my email although the email address is in fact wrong. It should be: BENEFIT.REFORM@DWP.GSI.GOV.UK

    The question about conditionality worries me most of all and I told them so. “Too many conditions for the sick and vulnerable further incapitate those who find it difficult anyway. Safety nets should always be there alongside incentives, support and encouragement”. I don’t believe in sticks either. Surely they know by now what bullying does to people?

  7. hairybiker Says:

    Nobody at the DWP seems able to explain why Incapacity Benefit and ESA claimants need the threat of cuts to their benefits to “encourage them into work” when the DWP’s own research shows the vast majority of claimants would sooner be working than claiming benefits anyway!

    Of course without a similar “big stick” to actually make employers take on the sick and disabled conditionality will succeed only in making more people even more of a burden because many will have to rely on friends and family and those who cannot will become even more ill and disabled trying to find non existent work.

    Its the complete opposite of “empowering” for sick and disabled people.

  8. Kate Says:

    I agree. But also I could only manage a few hours a week max on a good week. How are the the DWP and employers alike going to help those with fluctuating conditions? You don’t threaten them with a stick. That keeps people in fear and trapped. You offer a safety net and support.
    Let us also not forget that no matter what line they feed you, work isn’t always good for the health – quite the reverse in my experience and I have worked in many different fields. In my case it led to poorer physical & mental health, stress etc. It’s ridiculous to try and have a one-size-fits-all when dealing with a diversity of people with a diversity of needs

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