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Welfare reform paper ignores children in poverty

July 21, 2008 12:00 AM

Commenting on today's Welfare Reform Green Paper, Liberal Democrat Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Jenny Willott said:

"We need a radical simplification of the benefits system but the Government continues to drag its heels. Today's proposals completely ignore the disincentive to work that our complex benefit system has created.

"The fact that over half of children living in poverty are in working households is largely ignored. Reforms must ensure that work really pays or we will see poverty levels rising in Britain.

"The new measures for Jobseekers mean that claimants without basic levels of literacy or any interview experience will wait six months before receiving any help to address these problems. The reforms must allow Jobcentre Plus to tailor support to each individual.

"James Purnell may think that privatising all back to work support marks out his modernising credentials but it lacks foresight. If recession takes hold it may not be profitable for companies to bid for welfare contracts, yet the public infrastructure will have been completely eroded.

"There needs to be more careful thought about how the market would operate in a severe downturn with rising unemployment."