CUTS TO WORK AND PENSIONS CAN AND MUST BE FAIRLY MANAGED- WILLOTT

October 20, 2010 12:00 AM

Commenting on the announcements in the Comprehensive Spending Review about cuts to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Jenny Willott, the Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Committee on Work and Pensions, said:

"The Spending Review has set some ambitious challenges for cutting spending on welfare. I welcome the goal of reducing long term dependency on welfare but it is essential that we ensure no one who needs and deserves benefits is deprived of support.

"At the same time we must dramatically reform our benefits system to reduce costs, reduce error and reduce dependency.

"I, and all my Lib Dem colleagues, will continue to work with the DWP to ensure that each and every change is made on the basis of supporting vulnerable people, older people and the disabled and that no one who deserves support is denied it."

On the announcement of a Universal Credit System, she said:

"I am very pleased that the Government has confirmed the major overhaul of the welfare system and the creation of a Universal Credit system to create a simpler, fairer system without reducing benefit payments.

"Under the system left by Labour many benefits were reduced as soon as people started work, so it actually cost some people to work in the short term.

"The new Universal Credit programme will not only ensure people who find work will see an immediate increase in their income, but that the system is cheaper and simpler to understand so that no one under claims for benefits they are entitled to.

On the announcement of a raising of the retirement age, she said:

"With people living longer and longer it is absolutely right that we find a way to ensure that people are supported throughout their retirement. Raising the retirement age to 66 by 2020 is the responsible thing to do.

"But this increase must go hand-in-hand with the Government's commitment to support people in old age, which we have already begun by bringing in the Lib Dem's manifesto promise to re-link the basic state pension to earnings."

On funding for training and apprenticeships schemes, she said:

"Training for employment is vital to help get people back into work. In a changing economy, many people need help to retrain and to reskill.

"That is why the decision to create 75 000 new adult apprenticeships placements is incredibly welcome. Over the course of the spending period this will help get thousands of people back into work and onto a real career path."

What would you like to do next?