Tory think tank Bright Blue says the UK welfare system is not providing enough support for people and has called for the introduction of a “minimum income”.
Backed by some senior Conservative MPs, Bright Blue also says that households need a minimum income to meet the cost of living.
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The government is considering options to reform the welfare system with the aim of encouraging more people back into employment. One such option would be to allow people who claim sickness and disability benefits to keep receiving their payments even if they find work.
BBC reports: A Health and Disability White Paper detailing the new plans – which are yet to be finalised – is expected later this year.
Labour has outlined plans to reform the system should it win power, announcing that claimants who take a job but then have to stop working within a year would not have to undergo another capability assessment to claim benefits again.
What does the report say?
The new report by Bright Blue was guided by a cross-party commission of politicians, including Tory MPs Mr Crabb and Shaun Bailey and Labour’s Baroness Lister.
It calls for the introduction of a “minimum living income”, with benchmarks for different types of households – similar to national living wage rates for people of different age groups.
The report recommends that the government’s advisory committee on social security should then recommend minimum levels of uprating – or payments – to make sure households meet this minimum income.
It argues that caps on benefits should be reviewed periodically to check whether they are affecting people’s ability to meet the cost of living, and that a benchmark should be set under which benefits cannot fall, even if the recipient was sanctioned.
Secondly, the report calls for a new digital platform for Universal Credit claimants, which would process all benefits and grants available to low-income working age adults.
It says this could notify claimants when they might be eligible for more support, and give people more control on how often – and where – they receive their benefit payments.
Thirdly, it argues that the government should introduce a new “Contribution Element” to Universal Credit.
They propose this could involve a new category of National Insurance that employees could voluntary opt-out of.
It would mean if people paid into the scheme and then found themselves unemployed they could receive more generous support in return than the current Jobseeker’s Allowance currently allows.
Bright Blue says its report was based on extensive polling of Labour and Conservative voters, and of think tanks, over several years.
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