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Welfare Reform on the Web (July 2010): Social security - UK

Benefits cuts could backfire, says minister

R. Prince

Daily Telegraph, June 29th 2010, p. 4

There are concerns among Liberal Democrats that the Coalition governments' plans to cut the number of claimants receiving Incapacity Benefit could lead to the genuinely sick being wrongly assessed as fit for work. It will be necessary to ensure that there are no perverse incentives to determine that claimants are fit to work when they are not.

(See also Daily Telegraph, June 28th 2010, p.1)

Coalition begins welfare crackdown

P. Wintour, L. Elliott and A. Sparrow

The Guardian, June 28th 2010, p. 1

Ministers are expected to announce this week reduced benefit levels for those found capable of doing some work as part of a tougher approach to Incapacity Benefit.

(See also The Times, June28th 2010 p.1. and Financial Times, June 28th 2010, p.2)

Conditional rights, benefit reform and drug users: reducing dependency?

N. Harris

Journal of Law and Society, vol. 37, 2010, p. 233-263

UK government policy to increase social security claimants' entry into the labour market through conditions attached to unemployment, sickness and incapacity benefits now includes additional measures to activate groups such as problem drug users. These are a prime target because of their high level of dependency on benefits and because social security rules are seen as having the potential to modify their behaviour and lifestyle, which are regarded as being at odds with the moral obligations of citizenship and incompatible with the government's economic and social goals. There are strict procedures for the identification of drug-user claimants, enabling additional conditions to be attached to their rights to benefits. This article discusses the general trend in benefit reform towards increased conditionality, and evaluates the reforms affecting problem drug users, considering human rights and other implications.

Measures to hit poor the most, think-tank says

C. Giles

Financial Times, June 24th 2010, p. 3

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has said the Budget will have a regressive impact. Robert Chote, IFS director, said: 'looming cuts to public services. are likely to hit poorer households significantly harder than richer households'. IFS researchers noted that the Government's claim that the Budget would not have a negative impact on the poor included measures announced by the previous government, omitted large welfare cuts, and ignored cuts to public services of which the poor are the heaviest users.

Shirking fathers should lose their benefits - poverty tsar

P. Wintour

The Guardian, June 29th 2010, p. 1-2 and p.8

Frank Field, the Government's poverty advisor, has said Britain must focus on getting young unemployed fathers into work, suggesting men who refuse to take up a government offer of work should have their benefit stopped, a much harder penalty than they currently face. The article is based on an interview with Mr Field in which he describes his views on welfare reform in some detail.

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