Saturday, January 07, 2012

A benefits system that works

Mike German, former leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, is co-chair of the Parliamentary Party Committee on Work and Pensions. He writes in Liberal Democrat Voice of a big first step being taken towards Liberal Democrats' long term ambition of merging tax and benefits. The Welfare Reform Bill is now in the final stages of its passage through the House of Lords and Mike explains his significance:

Our benefit system is the most complex and cumbersome system in the developed world. It requires an annual book to be published which explains the system and is the size of the Bible! This Bill is radically changing the culture surrounding welfare in this country, creating a simple, fair system that encourages individual responsibility whilst targeting resources on those who need them most. This single working age benefit parallels our own policies on welfare and will improve the current complex system.

The principles of Universal Credit are fundamentally Liberal Democrat and will continue to protect those who need protecting and support those who can move into work, encouraging a fair and responsible system. We have much to be proud of in always making work pay and meeting the challenge of lifting more people out of poverty than the last government did in its whole term.

There are tough decisions to make elsewhere in the benefit system but we should never lose sight of the need to reduce poverty in our country.

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