Reforming welfare

Document type
Corporate author(s)
Date of publication
30 June 2010
Social Policy, Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion
Social welfare
Material type

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This brochure reports discussions from the Reforming welfare conference on 30 June 2010, including contributions from Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP and Steve Webb MP. The government spends more on welfare than anything else. The bill for “social protection” is now approaching £200 billion. Left unreformed these costs will become crippling with the cost of benefits to pensioners alone set to increase by £12 billion by the end of 2015. Failing to get to grips with this while total government spending is falling will mean much deeper cuts to other departmental budgets. Reforming assistance to the poorest families should only be a part of a reform agenda. Improving the targeting of spending would make the welfare system stronger and more just. Experience shows that poorly targeted spending leads to less generous support for poor families. Even a small increase in the generosity of a universal programme comes at a very large financial cost, meaning resources have to be spread thinly and less is available for poor families. Improving welfare and sorting out the debt will require wealthy families to take greater responsibility for themselves. 

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