Charity raises fears over the Welfare Reform Bill

Many voluntary sector organisations may be required to act to their client group’s disadvantage under the Welfare Reform Bill’s proposals, a leading disability charity warned this week.

Leonard Cheshire said that the proposals may require voluntary sector organisations to be involved in making decisions about the level of an individual’s benefit and that this could force them to go against their charitable purpose.

The bill outlines powers to replace incapacity benefit with a new employment and support allowance from 2008. It allows services relating to the allowance to be contracted out to the voluntary and private sector.

Under the plans people with more manageable conditions will be able to claim the highest rate of the allowance if they undergo work related activities. If they refuse then this will be reduced in a series of slices.

People with more serious conditions will not be required to meet any requirements in order to receive the highest rate.

The charity also said that it was against the use of sanctions and called for more clarity over what would constitute a failure to meet the allowance’s conditions.

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