Charities’ role may compromise values

Proposals in the Welfare Reform Bill may force voluntary sector organisations to act to the disadvantage of their clients, a disability charity warned this week.

Leonard Cheshire said plans for services relating to the new employment and support allowance to be contracted out to voluntary and private providers might require charities to make decisions about the level of an individual’s benefit, which could force them to go against their charitable purpose.

The bill, published last week (Charity raises fears over the Welfare Reform Bill), contains powers to replace incapacity benefit with the new employment and support allowance from 2008.

Under the bill, people with more manageable conditions would be able to claim the highest rate of the allowance if they undertook work-related activities.

However, this rate would be reduced if they refused.

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

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