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

DWP: moving forward

A. Sharples

Working Brief, June 2009, p. 6-7

Presents an overview of how Job Centre Plus is adapting its services to cope with those newly unemployed due to the recession while continuing to offer more personalised help to those who face the greatest barriers to entering the labour market. The Department for Work and Pensions is also looking to work more closely with local authorities to ensure that everyone claims the benefits they are entitled to.

Dynamic benefits: towards welfare that works

CSJ Economic Dependency Working Group

Centre for Social Justice, 2009

This report argues that the existing benefits system has created perverse financial incentives, which have left many people better off if they remain jobless and couples better off if they live apart. The answer proposed is to reduce the withdrawal rate applied to benefits to allow claimants to keep more of their payments when they take jobs or cohabit. Families with an income of more than 30,000, however, would have their entitlement to benefits reduced by a modest amount. The measures would increase the social assistance bill in the short term, but the social benefits would generate net savings over time. There are also proposals to simplify the system by reducing the current 'tangle' of 51 benefits to just two. This simplification would reduce administrative costs.

Welfare will cost 200bn ... more than workers pay in income tax

J. Kirkup

Daily Telegraph, Sept. 17th 2009, p. 6

Leaked documents show that Treasury expects to pay 193.4bn in social security benefits in 2013-14. Paying interest on the government's debts will cost 63.4bn. Welfare and debt interest will make up 33.8% of total public spending that year. The steep rises in spending on these items will contribute to a sharp squeeze on budgets elsewhere in Whitehall.

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