21 July 08 – No one written off: reforming welfare to reward responsibility
Incapacity benefits and Income Support are to be abolished as part of far-reaching new proposals, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions James Purnell announced today.
In a radical overhaul of the welfare state, Mr Purnell announced proposals to scrap incapacity benefits by 2013 and abolish Income Support to create a more streamlined system based on just two working-age benefits – the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), for those who have a medical condition which prevents them from working, and Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA) for everyone who is able to work.
Unveiling the new reforms in a green paper published today called No one written off: reforming welfare to reward responsibility, Mr Purnell said:
“Our proposals are based on a simple deal: more support in return for greater responsibility.
“This green paper proposes a simpler benefit system that rewards responsibility, gives people the incentive to do the right thing and ends the injustice of people being written off on benefits for life without any hope of getting the support they need to get back to work.
“We will help people find work, but they will be expected to take a job.”
Under the plans, people on incapacity benefits will be moved on to ESA by 2013. This will provide temporary support for all but the most severely disabled people.
Everyone currently on Incapacity Benefit and new claimants will go through a new enhanced medical assessment and be assessed on what they can do, not on what they can’t. Doctors will be asked to make clear the point at which the individual should be fit for work and people will be assessed again at that point.
People with severe disabilities will get more cash under ESA. The rest who qualify for the benefit will be placed in a “work” category. They will receive personalised back-to-work support to help them prepare for work and overcome any barriers they face. It will be made clear to this group that ESA is a temporary situation to help them get fit to return to work.
The green paper also sets out proposals to move towards a streamlined benefit system, moving lone parents with children under seven on to JSA. While lone parents with children under seven would not be required to actively seek work, the green paper proposes voluntary measures to give them more support to prepare them for work and includes a ‘skills for work’ premium on top of existing benefits to act as a weekly financial incentive.
The conditions attached to receiving JSA will also be strengthened with a “work for benefits” scheme for the long-term unemployed. People unemployed for over two years and those abusing the system could be forced to take part in full-time activity such as community work at any point in their claim. People will have to train to get their job skills and drug users would be required to seek treatment or could lose their benefits.
In return for these greater expectations for people on benefits to find work, Mr Purnell also announced measures offering greater support. These include:
Doubling the funding of Access to Work which provides assistance to disabled workers and their employers, which already helps 24,000 people a year gain employment or stay in their job. There will also be significant increases for the schemes which provide support into employment for the most severely disabled people. People on incapacity benefits who find work through the Pathways to Work programme could get a £40-a-week top-up on their wages to ease the transition into work
A “full disregard” for child maintenance, so that payments will not be taken into account when calculating how much out-of-work benefits a parent should get. The full disregard, combined with existing reforms to the child maintenance system, and measures to support lone parents with older children into work, will lift up to 200,000 children out of poverty.
Exploring more ways we can give disabled adults greater control over the combined budget which the government spends on their support.
The publication of the green paper will be followed by three months of public consultation on its proposals. Mr Purnell urged everyone – whether large private firms or individual benefit claimants – to make their views heard and play an active role in shaping the policies.
Notes to Editors
The full green paper can be found at the following link www.dwp.gov.uk/noonewrittenoff . Further Information on welfare reform can be found at www.dwp.gov.uk/welfarereform .
James Purnell will be taking questions on the welfare reform proposals as part of a webchat on the Number 10 website on Tuesday 22nd July from 4pm onwards. To take part go to the following link http://www.webchat.pm.gov.uk/index.asp?webchatID=75
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The Government is committed to building an inclusive and fair society, and a prosperous economy, where everyone has the opportunity to fulfil their potential.
Full employment is at the heart of the strategy. The Government has a long-term aim of an employment rate of 80 per cent. It will help us to combat poverty and ensure Britain is well placed to respond to economic change, and reap the benefits.
The Government wants as many people as possible to share in the rewards of work. They believe that paid work is the best route to independence, health and well-being for most people.
We have already made significant progress with the introduction of a series of radical reforms to improve the opportunities for people to work. But more needs to be done.
No one written off: reforming welfare to reward responsibility
The next step in the journey of radical welfare reform will simplify the benefits system and deliver greater and more personalised support for people in return for more responsibility. The majority of people of working age – who can work now or at some point in the future – will no longer be on benefits for life without getting the support they need to get back to work.
On 21 July, we published No one written off: reforming welfare to reward responsibility http://www.dwp.gov.uk/welfarereform/noonewrittenoff/
which sets out a range of options to:
- simplify the benefits system – moving towards a more streamlined system based on just two working age benefits: Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for those who have a medical condition which prevents them from working and Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) for everyone who is fit to work
- ensure that for most people out of work benefits are only temporary – there is not a right to a life on benefits
- require most people on benefits to contribute actively in return for their benefits
- provide more support for disabled people to get into work and keep their jobs and more control over the support they get
- provide a full disregard for child maintenance payments, so that payments will not be taken into account when calculating how much out of work benefits a parent should get.
The paper is open for full public consultation until 22 October 2008, the results of which will feed into a Bill in the next session of parliament.
The story so far
Building on the platform of a well-run economy, we have:
- created Jobcentre Plus as a world leading welfare to work organisation
- introduced innovative employment programmes such as the New Deals
- rolled-out Pathways to Work nationally for people on incapacity benefits
- improved incentives to work by providing greater support through the tax credit system and the introduction of the minimum wage.
Together, these reforms have led to an enormous improvement in the performance of the UK labour market. We have a record number of people in work, and the numbers on key out of work benefits have fallen by around one million since 1997.
To build on this success, the Government has already announced further reforms:
Employment and Support Allowance will replace incapacity benefits for new claimants from October 2008 and will focus on what people can do, rather than what they can’t
Jobcentre Plus will start running work skills trials from October 2008
a stronger framework of rights and responsibilities for lone parents will begin in November 2008.
No one written off: reforming welfare to reward responsibility
“No one written off: reforming welfare to reward responsibility” is a wide ranging consultation on the future of welfare. The Green Paper sets out plans for improving support and work incentives to create a system that rewards responsibility. The majority of people of working age – who can work now or at some point in the future – and their families will no longer be on benefits for life. There will also be greater choice and control over the support that is provided.
Consultation in full
We are keen to hear your views on “No one written off: reforming welfare to reward responsibility”. You can respond by 22 October 2008.
PDF [Full document]
No one written off: reforming welfare to reward responsibility (1.73MB) http://www.dwp.gov.uk/welfarereform/noonewrittenoff/noonewrittenoff-complete.pdf
Section by section – PDFs [see DWP site for links for section by section PDFs]
Executive summary (157KB)
Chapter 1 Promoting opportunity and realising potential (295KB)
Chapter 2 An obligation to work (503KB)
Chapter 3 No one written off (377KB)
Chapter 4 Ending child poverty (190KB)
Chapter 5 Delivering choice and control for disabled people (208KB)
Chapter 6 Simplifying and streamlining the benefit system (258KB)
Chapter 7 Empowerment and devolution – a new way of delivering our services (172KB)
Chapter 8 Next steps – our commitment to listen (122KB)
Easy read version
No one written off – Easy read version part 1 (1MB)
No one written off – Easy read version part 2 (963KB) http://www.dwp.gov.uk/welfarereform/noonewrittenoff/noonewrittenoffer-part2.pdf
No one written off – Easy read version part 3 (968KB) http://www.dwp.gov.uk/welfarereform/noonewrittenoff/noonewrittenoffer-part3.pdf
Impact assessment – No one written off: reforming welfare to reward responsibility (387KB) http://www.dwp.gov.uk/welfarereform/noonewrittenoff/noonewrittenoffer-impactassesment.pdf
Watch three short films that explore the steps some of our customers have taken in their journey to secure work after a period of long-term unemployment. Through the continued support of DWP they highlight the challenges each individual has faced and overcome to find a fulfilling job.
How to respond to this consultation
The consultation period begins on 21 July 2008 and runs until 22 October 2008. Please ensure your response reaches us by that date.
You can respond by post, email, fax as follows:
Post: Room 249, Level 2, The Adelphi, 1-11 John Adam Street, London, WC2N 6HT
Fax: 020 7712 2458
Telephone: 020 7712 2316
A number of consultation events will be arranged shortly. Details will be here on the website as they become available. If you wish to request information when it is available please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We welcome your input to this Green Paper and to support any of your consultation activity we have produced a Consultation Toolkit. Activity may include adding information to your website or email newsletter or arranging an event to discuss the areas proposed.
Consultation Toolkit. (209KB) http://www.dwp.gov.uk/welfarereform/noonewrittenoff/consultationtoolkit.pdf
Copies of the consultation
Order copies of the consultation using the How to respond details above or from
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Alternative formats will follow shortly. Please contact us if you would like to order copies in:
easy read [links as above]
large print (available from 25 July 2008)
braille (available from 30 July 2008)
audio (available from 30 July 2008)
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British Sign Language (BSL) video (available from 11 August 2008)
You can get more information about this consultation using the How to respond contact details above.
Our About DWP consultations http://www.dwp.gov.uk/resourcecentre/about-dwp-consultations.asp page has more information about the code of practice we follow and explains how we deal with responses.