The most generous benefits the middle classes are entitled to include the Child Benefit, Child and Working Tax Credits, Retirement Pension and Winter Fuel Allowance and Statutory Maternity Pay. This Reform report proposes that middle class welfare must be cut back to help restore the public finances and put welfare on a more sustainable footing.
Key recommendations include:
- Abolish middle class welfare and benefit gimmicks, with immediate cuts that would save £14 billion. Further savings, including from migrating individuals from the state pension onto personal protection accounts, should be made as part of a medium term plan to restore the public finances.
- Hand benefit rules and operation to social enterprises and companies, funded through employee national insurance contributions.
- Develop flexible Personal Protection Accounts, building on the success of ISAs and the introduction of auto enrolment and personal accounts for retirement savings in 2015.
- Where possible, replace social security benefits with private provision, with private insurance being a potentially useful but largely underutilised tool, particularly for disability but also in other areas.