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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2009): Social security - UK

Realising potential: a vision for personalized conditionality and support

P. Gregg

London: TSO, 2008

This review proposes dividing benefits claimants into three categories: the 'work ready', the 'progression to work' group, and the 'no conditionality' group. The first group comprise those who claim Jobseeker's Allowance and who are expected to be actively seeking work. Those who fail to look for work could lose up to four weeks' worth of benefits. The second group comprises lone parents of children under seven and people on Incapacity Benefit who are expected to return to work one day. The new proposals suggest that punishments should be introduced for those who fail to attend courses or meetings. Both groups would face a 'non-financial sanction' such as mandatory community-based work if they are found to be 'playing the system'.

Raising expectations and increasing support: reforming welfare for the future

Department for Work and Pensions

London: TSO, 2008 (Cm 7506)

Over time, the government plans to simplify the social security system by moving towards a single benefit for all claimants of working age. As a first step Income Support will be abolished, and all claimants moved to either Jobseeker's Allowance or the new Employment and Support Allowance which will replace Incapacity Benefit. After initial processing by JobCentre Plus, claimants will be referred to employment support services provided by the private and voluntary sectors under contract. For most claimants, receipt of benefits will be conditional on their taking active steps to look for work or to become 'job ready'. Conditions will be imposed on lone parents with children under school age, disabled people, and people with substance abuse and mental health problems. People who have been claiming Jobseeker's allowance for more than two years will be expected to work for their benefit in order to improve their employment chances.

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